The role of strategic leadership in driving transformative e-Government: a comparative analysis of the Arab States in the Middle East
This empirical research paper aims to investigate, through a comparative analysis of four Arab countries, the relationship between strategic leadership and the realization of the transformative potential of e-government. The selection of four Arab states in the Middle East is based on national wealth as measured by GDP per capita, controlling confounding effects of financial resources on e-government development. The postulated relationship is investigated through website analysis and strategy document analysis methodologies. In the paper, public-sector strategic leadership is assessed by observing the actions taken by political leadership in developing strategic vision, effecting a paradigm shift in viewing citizens as customers, driving administrative reform objectives, establishing accountability for e-government development and securing public buy-in. The realization of the transformative potential of e-government is measured by assessing the level of development in e-democracy service delivery capability, which is identified as an advanced stage in e-government development which offers the transformative potential for public administration. The results of the comparative analyses find the observable differences in the transformative potential of e-government realized across the four egovernments, despite the fact that their financial resources are very similar. This paper concludes that the transformative potential of e-government was not realized automatically. It requires effective strategic leadership in transforming the government and developing e-government service capability that matters to the public. While the paper focuses on the Arab states in the Middle East, the key findings presented in this paper have implications for other developing countries. The value and contribution of our paper is the differential effect of strategic leadership in realizing the transformative potential of egovernment in developing countries. Our research findings are of interest to e-government researchers and international development agencies which invest in the Arab states and other developing countries.