E-Government Innovation Initiatives in Public Administration: A Systematic Literature Review and a Research Agenda

Published date01 October 2023
AuthorMarcelo Koji Kawabata,Alceu Salles Camargo
Date01 October 2023
Subject MatterArticles
Administration & Society
2023, Vol. 55(9) 1758 –1790
© The Author(s) 2023
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/00953997231185847
Innovation Initiatives in
Public Administration:
A Systematic Literature
Review and a Research
Marcelo Koji Kawabata1
and Alceu Salles Camargo Jr.1
This study presents a systematic literature review (SLR) of e-government
innovation initiatives focusing on public services and administration. Our
SLR included 704 peer-reviewed studies published in scientific journals
between 2000 and 2019. The final sample comprised 70 studies that
were read fully, from which we identified four distinct cluster themes
and objectives. We then classified them into four clusters, representing
an evolutionary view with different stages of e-government initiatives.
Further, the study pointed out themes and initiatives to drive future
research agendas in e-government.
e-government, public administration, systematic literature review, e-gov
initiatives and stages, e-government evolutionary view
1School of Economics, Business and Accounting of the University of São Paulo, Brazil
Corresponding Author:
Marcelo Koji Kawabata, School of Economics, Business and Accounting of the University of
São Paulo, Av. Prof. Luciano Gualberto, 908, Sao Paulo 05508-900, Brazil.
Email: mkawabata@usp.br
1185847AAS0010.1177/00953997231185847Administration & SocietyKawabata and Camargo
Kawabata and Camargo 1759
Electronic government, or e-government, presents innovations that have
reshaped how the government offers and operationalizes its services and
improves interactions with citizens. More accurately, it involves employing
information and communications technology (ICT) to support public services,
democratic processes, government capability administration, government’s
relationships linked to public service operations, state relationships related to
public policies such as e-participation and e-democracy, administrative and
institutional reforms, the society, and individuals (Dawes, 2008). Better and
more efficient public services, government responsiveness, accountability, and
transparency are some of the benefits that public administration seeks to
improve through e-government initiatives. Driven by this trend, citizens, civil
society, and nonprofit organizations demand voice and participation in govern-
mental decision-making processes; more efficient and transparent allocation of
resources, ethics, and democratic responsibility with public assets; and ratio-
nality in dealing with public expenditure.
E-government is an essential technological innovation that has affected
recipients’ lives over the last few decades. It originated as a practical field to
encourage government innovation through ICT and to improve government
activities’ operation (Chung, 2020). Therefore, e-government received con-
siderable attention, and its beginning is attributed to the National Performance
Review in the US, as the federal government promoted e-government imple-
mentation in various public services (Gore, 1993). Governments have made
many successful strides toward e-government. Online implementation of tra-
ditional government-related processes, procurement certification, purchases,
voting, tax refunds, social security benefits, license renewal, and business
permits has become even more accessible. Moreover, such online use tends
to increase the processes’ availability and user acceptance, especially consid-
ering that social media, smartphone apps, and SMS/RSS updates are increas-
ing in 193 countries, according to the United Nations (2018).
Gronlund (2002) defined e-government as more efficient government,
online and high-quality services for citizens, and democratic processes
based on internet technology. Gil-García and Pardo (2005) described
e-government as using ICTs to improve public services, enhance manage-
rial effectiveness, and nurture democratic processes. According to Heeks
(2002), while e-government involves improving internal public sector ser-
vices as an initial step, it is defined as improving the citizen-government
relationship and building better external interactions within public agencies
and other institutions, such as private sector companies, non-profit organi-
zations, and civil society institutions.
1760 Administration & Society 55(9)
Many definitions of e-government come from the practice field, recogniz-
ing the need for improving public service through technology and focusing
on the government’s primordial role in society (Gronlund & Horan, 2004).
Thus, ICTs and related innovations should drive, in the long run, the common
good and public interest (Brewer et al., 2006). Therefore, e-government
enlists the government’s ICT use to transform relations with citizens, busi-
nesses, and other government levels by delivering better public services,
enhanced communication and interaction, and citizen empowerment; this
culminates in relevant cost reductions, increased transparency and account-
ability, less corruption, and greater convenience (Vyas-Doorgapersad, 2009;
World Bank, 2015). More comprehensively, in this study’s definition, e-gov-
ernment involves ICT employment in public administration blended with
organizational restructuring and new human capital capabilities to improve
public services, better meet citizens’ diversified needs, and support and dis-
seminate democratic processes (European Union, 2015; Jaeger, 2005).
Further, e-government can be a strategic driver to simplify procedures, make
transparent public spending and contracts, enhance accountability, promote
social inclusiveness, and increase public-private partnerships (PPPs) toward
better community solutions in some specific services (OECD, 2016).
However, innovative technology may introduce novel risks and greater
citizen interaction expectations that governments may not be prepared
to meet (OECD, 2014). Complex dilemmas may arise simultaneously.
Policymakers must address ethical dilemmas while balancing privacy and
openness, requiring increases in digitalization to achieve policy goals and
an acceptable rate of change, as well as empowering citizens and civil
servants to allow automation and user control as defaults (OECD, 2014).
Nevertheless, there remains enormous potential for technological progres-
sion and enhancement of public governance through collaborative innova-
tion (Sørensen & Torfing, 2011). For this, the OECD (2014) recommended
engaging citizens and creating open governments to improve public trust
through information quality and channel characteristics (Venkatesh et al.,
2016). This can be done by using public sector social media (Porumbescu,
2015) to establish robust digital governance for better collaboration results
or sustainable development governance among governments, communi-
ties, and support networks (Hawkins & Wang, 2012) as well as reinforcing
capabilities to achieve effective ICT initiatives.
One way of addressing e-government deployment is analyzing five
e-government objectives: (i) establish a policy framework, (ii) enhance pub-
lic services, (iii) pursue high-end and cost-effective government operations,
(iv) increase citizen engagement in democratic processes, and (v) promote
institutional reform (Dawes, 2008). Another way is through various ICT

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