THE EFFECT OF INTERNET CULTURE ON ADMINISTRATIVE EFFICIENCY. A RESEARCH PROJECT MATERIAL ON OFFICE TECHNOLOGY
- Background of the study
The analysis of administrative efficiency is about the relationships between inputs, outputs and outcomes. In 1957, Farrell already investigated the question how to measure efficiency and highlighted its relevance for economic policy makers. “It is important to know how far a given industry can be expected to increase its output by simply increasing its efficiency, without absorbing further resources”. Since that time techniques to measure efficiency have improved and investigations of efficiency have become more frequent, particularly in industry. Nevertheless, the measurement of efficiency of public administrative efficiency remains a conceptual challenge. Problems arise because public administration has multiple objectives and because public sector outputs are often not sold on the market which implies that price data is not available and that the output cannot be quantified.
e-Government programs remain at the top of most countries policy agendas (UN, 2002). The emphasis on e-Government may be due to the potential of information and communication technologies (ICT) to transform public administration (PA) to an efficient system, enhance public services quality, establish trust between public administration and citizens and realize economic objectives (OECD, 2003; UN, 2004). In fact, e-Government aims at providing an efficient government management, better service delivery, and empowerment of citizens through access to information and participation in public policy decision making (UN, 2005). For these benefits, the PA in most countries develops Web sites, portals and electronic services delivery (UN, 2002; 2003; 2004; 2005). However, differences in worldwide adoption of e-Government are considerable. The e-Government readiness index estimated for each of UN countries varies between 0, 9062 in the United States of America and 0, 0011 in Liberia (UN, 2005). The Web Measure Index varies between 0 (no presence for countries like Haiti, Zambia, Liberia, etc.) and 1 in the United States of America.
Certainly, the diffusion of the Web in PA leans on a political will that mobilizes the necessary human, material and financial resources. But, this diffusion depends also on social and economic variables (UN, 2002). UN (2005) affirm that e-Government readiness is a function of a country’s situation of technological and telecommunication infrastructure and of the level of its human resource development. Nevertheless, “the number of variables – social, legal and institutional as well as economic and technological – which might retard the diffusion process is virtually limitless’’ (Rosenberg, 1972, cited by Erumban and de Jong, 2006, p.303). Recently, several researchers show the importance of culture in IT adoption and justify the divergences between countries in the adoption of ICT, in general (Erumban and de Jong, 2006) and of specific technologies, such as Internet, PC, fax machines, cellular phone, telephone and pagers (Bagchi and al., 2004; Gong and al., 2007) on the base of the cultural variables.