10 year retrospect on stage models of e-Government: A qualitative meta-synthesis
Type of work: Article (academic)
Growing interests in e-Government raise the question about the developmental stages of e-Government. Since the year 2000, a number of e-Government stage models have been suggested by international organizations, consulting firms, and individual researchers. However, these models seem to be incongruent with each other as these are based on different perspectives and use somewhat different metaphors. This presents a difficulty not only in understanding different research results, but also in planning future actions for e-Government. Without a common frame of reference for understanding the developmental stages and perspectives reflected in different models and stages, e-Government research may become fragmented and disconnected from each other. In this research, we have conducted a qualitative meta-synthesis of twelve e-Government stage models. Concepts, metaphors, and themes contained in these developmental models are extracted through a series of in-depth semantic analyses of descriptions and explanations. The first order concepts and themes are subjected to an interpretive synthesis identifying reciprocal relationships which in turn leads to the identification of implied metaphors and themes. Five metaphors are identified: presenting, assimilating, reforming, morphing and e-governance, while two underlying themes surface: citizen/service and operation/technology. These concepts, metaphors, and themes are synthesized into a common frame of reference using a reciprocal translation technique. A supportive line of argument is developed for this frame of reference so that different e-Government stage models can be translated into each other. This study contributes to current research through offering theoretical advances related to the stages of e-Government. Furthermore, the metaphors and themes identified in this study would be useful as a conceptual frame for researchers to evaluate and understand the development of e-Government, and as a base road map for practitioners in planning future e-Government projects.