EvaluatingtheImpactsofInformat

发布日期: 2020-08-14 02:10:34 阅读量:651

X嘉生活

EvaluatingtheImpactsofInformat
Abstract

Today public and private organizations are utilizing information technologies to maximize cooperative interactions among different organizations in order to provide more effective services. Interoperability of information systems not only means putting all data on Web Sites or making all of the administrative procedures electronic, but also integrating various information systems to improve policy making processes and service deliveries. In other words, the contemporary challenges facing public information managers are not just technical problems but also managerial, as well as political problems.

A properly constructed Internet-based government information system should lead to real improvements in information sharing, standardization of computer systems, and service delivery . In Landsbergen and Wolken’swords, it should ultimately creates the “ interoperability” of information systems among different agencies, businesses, interest groups and even citizens, to provide more efficient, responsive, and effective on-line service delivery systems.

Put simply, Interoperability is a measure of the degree to which various organizations or individuals are able to operate together to achieve a common goal. In other words, interoperability is the ability of systems, units, or forces to provide services to and accept services from other systems, units, or forces, and to use the services so exchanged to enable them to operate effectively together. Hence, interoperable systems emphasize standardization, integration, cooperation, and even synergy. .

This study focuses on exploring the barriers and challenges of public information managers for building interoperable information systems. The technological, organizational, and political issues confronting interoperability are identified and analyzed. In addition, the authors conducted a national survey and a series of interviews to inquire the opinions and peRCEPtions of the public information managers in the central and local governments in Taiwan. Finally, a list of policies and management recommendations are delineated based on the survey results.

Key words: Interoperability, Information sharing, Information technology, Information Systems, E-government

Introduction

Many governments today operate in an environment of ever-increasing public need and declining financial resources. Citizens in general and all sorts of special interest groups are crying out for increased government accountability. Clearly, the Internet offers a unique opportunity to streamline the delivery of government services, enhance communication with its citizenry, and serve as a catalyst for empowering citizens to interact with government. In fact, the use of the Internet is already beginning to change the way government operates in response to these constituent mandates.

A properly constructed Internet-based government information system should lead to real improvements in information sharing, standardization of computer systems, and service delivery . In Landsbergen and Wolken’swords, it should ultimately creates the “ interoperability” of information systems among different agencies, businesses, interest groups and even citizens, to provide more efficient, responsive, and effective on-line service delivery systems.

Put simply, Interoperability is a measure of the degree to which various organizations or individuals are able to operate together to achieve a common goal. In other words, interoperability is the ability of systems, units, or forces to provide services to and accept services from other systems, units, or forces, and to use the services so exchanged to enable them to operate effectively together. Hence, interoperable systems emphasize standardization, integration, cooperation, and even synergy. .

Following the reinventing government movement in the U.S. , the central government of Taiwan launched its own large-scale administrative reform aimed at modernizing the governmental services soon after the reelection of the President Lee Teng-Hui in 1996. A major theme of the reform effort has been the revamping of the central government's management information system. The Prime Minister asserted that he was going to establish an "electronic government," and the first step was to help the government agencies go on-line . By the time we conducted this study, this reform had been underway for about ten years. While most of the governmental agencies in Taiwan had installed many on-line systems, and had established their own publicly accessible Web sites for a long time, there had been virtually no systematic evaluation to justify these on-line efforts. More specifically, while building, utilizing and/or managing cross-functional information systems are becoming essential elements of modern public administration, little is known about the effectiveness of such endeavors. Given the substantial investment in time and other resources being committed to the governmental on-line efforts, it is essential to begin undertaking the evaluation of the interoperability of government information systems.

To remedy the lack of evaluation research on the governmental Web sites, we conducted a national survey on the chief information officersof the central and local government agencies in Taiwan. At the time of conducting this research, there were 236 CIOs of the government agencies in Taiwan listed on the Website of the Information Management Office of the central government. We decided to survey these subject “experts” in order to gain an in-depth view of the interoperability between the information systems of government agencies.

One of the reasons why the WWW draws the most attention in the literature of E-government is its potential to promote effective interorganizational relationships in the complex networks of government agencies.

The Web can be considered as a multifaceted mass medium that contains many different configurations of communication . The glue that holds the modern Internet world together is the Web programming language, namely HTML . The intertextuality and non-linearity of HTML enable Web pages to connect various virtual contents with specific "links" which allow on-line users to move among points and "nodes" . Moreover, the Web offers many new opportunities as well as challenges to improve the interoperability among the partners of the public affairs .

Benefits of Interoperability

Basically, the productivity of the government sector can be measured on three dimensions: efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness. It is advocated by the advocates of interoperability that these three dimensions can all be improved by establishing interoperability among the informational systems of different governmental agencies and their units. According to Dawes , the benefits of information interoperability also include efficiency, effectiveness, and responsiveness.

First of all, once information is collected electronically, it becomes very easy to duplicate and manipulate . Thus, interoperability provides governmental agencies with opportunities to restructure and dramatically increase their information flow and information processing capabilities. In other words, sharing avoids duplicate data collection, processing, and storage and therefore reduces the heavy paperwork and data processing costs that attend every public program .

Secondly, Starlingsaid that effectiveness is often described as “doing the right thing”—that is, engaging in activities that will help a government agency reaches its goals. Collecting and integrating internal data and external information can improve the accuracy and validity of the data in each agency’s program, however, interoperability has the potential to construct a more comprehensive and accurate information platform for problem solving.

Finally, according to Thomas and Palfreyresponsiveness of public administration to citizens' demands may be defined as the speed and accuracy with which a service provider replies to a request for action or for information. Better access to information will allow government to act faster and more effectively to identify problems and respond to them . However, the recent emergence of systems integration, creation of CIO positions, and outsourcing of IT projects reflect effort toward responding better to the information requirements made by the citizens.

In sum, interoperability is an enabler for coalition building. It facilitates meaningful contributions by various coalition partners.

Challenges and Barriers of Interoperability

While interoperability has the above potential benefits, the realization of interoperability faces many challenges. Andersen & Dawesand Landsbergen & Wolkenargue that there are technical, managerial, and political barriers.

Technical Barriers The first set of interoperability barriers is technical, namely incompatible hardware, software, and communications. In other words, technological incompatibility is the inability of different computer systems, networks, and software tools to “talk to each other” , for example, it is getting a Microsoft Windows to read a Macintosh data set. Besides, another widespread barrier to interoperability is differing data definition , and it is hard to know how to connect information of one organization with another.

Managerial Barriers As expected, in an interorganizational setting, trust is a major collaboration mechanism. Norms of reciprocity and openness can develop as efficient mechanisms for social control and management coordination. Even within a single organization, difficulty of creating interoperability among the information systems of different units is not uncommon .

Agencies will engage in cooperative action regarding constructing their information systems only when there is some reasonable expectation of achieving self-interest goals. An external catalyst is often needed to make cooperation among agencies actually happen.

Political Barriers Public agencies operate within political context. In addition to being controlled by the legislators and superior authorities, they have to deal with the general public and various interest groups. Therefore, almost any decision about information systems can easily be embroiled in politics . More specifically, the most common political issues involve questions of control and power over a number of decisions, including information management structures, hardware and software acquisitions, interdepartmental relations, and communication flows.

Research Methodology

The data used to test the research hypotheses were collected mainly through a self-administered questionnaire on the CIOs of the above-mentioned governmental agencies. The content of the survey questions was drawn from the literature review on the practices and risks of interagency information sharing. The survey also incorporates information from the historical overview and the interviews with the key agency personnel.

The main reason that we selected the government CIOs to participate in this survey that because many of the questions are on the technological as well as managerial aspects of the processes of information sharing. The Data Management Processing Center of The Directorate-General of Budget provided the list of CIOs in the central government and the 23 cities and counties in Taiwan. Finally, the questionnaires were sent to the 236 public information managers identified in the list.

The survey instrument is composed of five sections. The first section consists of several questions asking for demographic information from the respondents. There are five items asking about questions of the technical aspect of information sharing, including: 1) Sharing data is a way to avoid unnecessary data collection; 2) I think that interagency information sharing reduces the usage of papers; 3) Interagency information sharing improves public policy of making process; 4) I agree that interagency information sharing is helpful to streamline data management; and 5) I think that technical problems are important barriers to share information.

Twenty questions were asked in reference to the benefits and the barriers of sharing information on the organizational side. On the one hand, the beneficial items included “I agree that information sharing strengthens the interagency collaborations of my agency with the professionals of other agencies”, “Information sharing helps integrate the delivery of different public services across agencies”, “I agree that information sharing shortens communication distances between different levels of the government”, etc. On the other hand, the barrier items asked respondents to answer “With information sharing, data provided by an agency are more likely to be misinterpreted and misused”, “Because of information sharing, the demands of outsiders for access have increased beyond the capacity of my agency to respond”, “The requirement information sharing could direct the attention of public agencies from more important works” and so on.

Finally, respondents were also asked to answer ten research questions about the political side of sharing information. These items included “A mandate of the statutory requirement or from the top management is necessary to enable interagency information sharing”, “Sharing encourages the substitution of political judgment for professional judgment in program decisions”, and “I think that interagency information sharing causes interagency political problems” and so forth.

Findings

This chapter reports the findings of the agency manager survey as well as the results and interpretations of the research hypothesis testing. Specifically, this chapter includes: a) the descriptive statistics on the characteristics of the survey respondents;b) the inferential and descriptive statistics on the respondents’ answers about the technological, organizational, and political issues;c) this study integrates the survey results with literatures to offer a list of policies and management recommendations.

Characteristics of the Survey Respondents

Of the 236 questionnaires distributed to the information managers of the agencies in Taiwan, 102 were returned for an approximately 43 percentresponse rate. A higher than average response rate from the exemplary agency managers was an indication of interest in the research topic. The characteristics of public information managers in the survey include the respondent’s agency and position, age, the working experience of the respondents in the government and in their individual agency. First, about two-third of the survey respondentsreported their agencies, 43respondents of them are in the central governments, and 21respondents of them are in the local governments. Second, the average age of the respondents is 47 years old, the youngest respondent’s age is 28 years old, and the oldest respondent’s age is 63 years old. On the other hand, over 45 percent of the respondents’ age belonged to between age 41 and 50, and 26.5 respondents’ age belonged to between age 51 and 60. Third, the average working experience of the respondents with the Taiwan government is more than 20 years , while the average term of the respondents’ tenure with their individual agency is about 14 years . In other words, most public information managers’ working experience in their individual agency is a half more than in government in Taiwan.

Except for the survey respondents’ characteristics, more than two-thirdof the respondents cited the experience of sharing and using the information systems with other agencies, and about third-fourthof them provided they had ever suffered information system problems with other agencies. Still, this is clear evidence that most public information managers had ever system problems when they promoted interagency information sharing. Finally, more than 80 percentrespondents cited that their individual agencies institute the whole strategy of related information works.

Descriptive Analysis of the Survey Respondents

Table 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 show the descriptive statistics of the survey items and the research variables of this study. As described earlier, the potential range of scores for all of the survey items on table 4.1, 4.2, and 4.3 are form 1 to 5. A score of 1 or 2 represents the “negative” answer of a respondent to a survey item. A score of 3 means “neutral” and scores of 4 and 5 stand for “positive” answers of respondents.

The Benefits and Barriers of the Technical Side

Based on the information sharing literature, the research proposed two hypotheses about the technical side of one benefit and one barrier, as following:

H1:Interagency information sharing is useful for enhancing governmental administrative efficiency.

H7:Technological problems are important barriers to share information.

Results form the survey generally confirmed our hypotheses: the major respondents agreed that interagency information sharing is useful for enhancing governmental administrative efficiency . Specifically, most of the respondentscited that sharing data is a way to avoid unnecessary data collection; and over third-fourth of the respondentsprovided that interagency information sharing reduces the usage of papers. Besides, over 70 percents indicated that interagency information sharing is helpful to streamline data management , and interagency information sharing improves public policy of making process . Overall, most information managers of the agencies in Taiwan agreed to promote interoperable information systems, and they tended to agree with the potentially positive effects of the technical side on information sharing.

On the other hand, the information executives in Taiwan are worried by the technical barrier. The information managers agreed that technological problems are important barriers to share information by 57.9 percent of the respondents. The incompatibility between hardware and software will always be an important consideration to interoperability .


Table 4.1:Descriptive statistics of the technical side of benefits and barriers

associated with interagency information sharing.

Percent of Respondents

Survey Items 1-2 3 4-5 Total Mean SDev

7. Avoid unnecessary data collection 5.9 9.8 84.3 100 4.15 0.825

21. Reduces the usage of papers 7.9 15.7 76.5 100 3.94 0.888

20. Streamline data management 10.8 11.8 76.4 99 3.83 0.906

19. Improves public policy of making process. 6.9 18.6 74.5 100 3.83 0.845

35. Technical problems are important barriers to

share information. 19.6 22.5 57.9 100 3.43 0.896


The Benefits and Barriers of the Organizational Side

It is not only the technological problem of information interoperability, but the organizational frameworks and the restructured procedures are another challenge of information sharing. Based on the related literature, the research proposed some hypotheses about benefits and barriers of the organizational management, as following:

H3:Information sharing helps integrate the delivery of different public services across agencies.

H4:Information sharing is useful for solving public problems.

H5:The more we can strengthen information sharing, the better we can respond to the public.

H6:Interagency information sharing improves public policy of making process.

H9:Organizational self-interest is the reason that public organizations are not willing to share information.

H10:Contract-out of most current public information systems impedes interagency information sharing.

Results from the survey , the informational managers agreed the advantages of the organizational side of interagency information sharing. Most of the respondents regarded that information sharing is helpful for interorgnizationally professional cooperation and the affairs’ coordination. Specifically, most respondentsagreed that information sharing strengthens the interagency collaborations of my agency with the professionals of other agencies. Other frequent responses included that interagency information sharing strengthens the interagency collaborations of my agency with the professionals of other agenciesand helps integrate the delivery of different public services across agencies . It is clearly to understand from these results, a majority of public information managers agreed that information sharing is very important to interorganizational information integrations and is helpful to strengthen interagency professional collaborations and integrations of various public services.

Besides for a lot of respondents put positive attitude on the importance of interagency collaborations, at the same time, they indented that information sharing helps to solve public problems. Farther, over four-fifthrespondents agreed that interagency information sharing is useful for solving multidimensional public problems, and about two-thirdrespondents regarded that their individual agencies obtain information form other agencies in order to solve a problem encountered on the job. Therefore, a majority of information managers agreed that the combination of internorganizational and exterorganizational information is useful for solving organizational or personal problems .

Kanterargued that organizational delegation made people involved in his or her works deeply, then through information sharing to decentralize the organizations and to shorten the hierarchical communications, hence, the organizational members can access to the information, respond to the public and the change of environment fast and accurately. Results form the research indicated that it is not only over 80percent regarded that information sharing shortens communication distances between different levels of the government, but about 80.4 percent respondents agreed that sharing makes the government act faster and more effectively to respond to the public. In other words, most information managers regarded that information sharing is helpful to the government effectively responds to the public’s requirements with the shortest time and the lowest communication cost.

Further, about eightypercent of the information managers agreed that information sharing of the internal organization is useful for enhancing the level of organizational trust, and about two-thirdof the respondents regarded that the deeper someone understands the agency’s operations, the more likely he or she will promote information sharing. In short, over two-third of the respondents agreed that when members of the internal organization control all information of the internal and external organization, they can use the potential to solve problems . It is not only helpful to organizations, but for making the members to trust their organizations more and more.

In the work’s complexity or interdependence aspect, results form the research showed that 84 percent of the respondents agreed that the increasing complexity of public services, public managers will depend even more on interagency information sharing, and over 80 percentof the respondents agreed that agency staff better understand their own programs in light of information about the programs of other agencies. Over three-fourthof the respondents regarded that they have needs to obtain information form other agencies in order to solve a problem encountered on the job.

On the other hand, the organizational barrier is another challenge of public information managers. The services the government provides to need the integrated mechanism across agencies, but most agencies still concern the self-interest of individual agencies. From the research’s results, most respondents regarded that the public agencies are not willing to share information to protect individual interests. First, over 60 percentof the respondents cited that due to uncertainty, public agencies in general are not willing to share important work information ; second, about 50 percentof the respondents agreed that because of information sharing, the demands of outsiders for access have increased beyond the capacity of my agency to respond ; third, only 25 percentof the respondents agreed that data provided by an agency are more likely to be misinterpreted and misused. Besides, few respondentsagreed that the requirement information sharing could direct the attention of public agencies from more important works. Interestingly, the results did not support that the requirement information sharing could direct the attention of public agencies from more important works of the previous literature. Our research supposed that the difference between the result and the literature is because of "Social Desirable Responding". Probably, the respondents regarded that the servants should not direct the attention of public agencies form more important works for any public affairs.

Besides, contract-out of related information systems is probably to be another barrier of the organizational side. In other words, the government often can not share information immediately without the contractors. Therefore, it is easy to cause the inconvenience and incompletion to share information. But, over a halfof the respondents did not agreed that contract-out would hinder the government from sharing information. Our research supposed two reasons: one is that the respondents put positive attitude on the effect of contract-out, and another is that if the executives of government agreed that contract-out was the barrier of information sharing with an increasing budget, it would put the governmental image at a disadvantage.

Finally, the emphasis on the government or the executive is a key role to share information, but simultaneously it is an important organizational barrier to information sharing. Results from the survey indicated that over one-thirdof the respondents agreed that most top managers they contacted give only lip services to promotion of the information affairs, and only 34.4 percent of the respondents regarded that the government in Taiwan is at present put effort into promoting interagency information sharing. Therefore, the government and the executives of agencies attach little importance to information sharing. In fact, the information systems are not just to be the computer systems, but computing is now used as a major means of communication and for support of major decisions. However, many public managers lack the right and strategic concepts of computer technology, and ignore the importance of information technology to the governmental decisions.


Table 4.2:Descriptive statistics of the organizational side of benefits and barriers

associated with interagency information sharing.

Percent of Respondents

Survey Items 1-2 3 4-5 Total Mean SDev

2. Strengthens the interagency collaborations of my agency with the professionals of other agencies.

1.0 3.9 95.1 100 4.36 0.610

30. Becoming increasingly important because here are more and more cross-agency problems.

0.0 3.9 96 100 4.34 0.534

3. Helps integrate the delivery of different public services across agencies.

0.0 6.9 93.2 100 4.29 0.590

5. Be useful for solving multidimensional public problems.

2.0 13.7 84.4 100 4.10 0.697

6. To obtain information form other agencies in order to solve a problem encountered on the job.

0.0 22.5 75.5 100 4.10 0.697

28. The more we can strengthen information sharing, the better we can respond to the public.

0.0 19.6 80.4 100 4.04 0.659

9. Agency staff better understand their own programs in light of information about the programs of

other agencies. 2.9 13.7 83.3 100 4.03 0.696

27. Shortens communication distances between different levels of the government.

4.9 12.7 82.3 100 4.00 0.745

31. The increasing complexity of public services, public managers will depend even more on

interagency information sharing. 5.9 9.8 84.0 100 4.00 0.745

8. Helps outsiders better understand our programs in light of information about the programs of

other agencies. 3.9 30.4 65.7 100 3.99 0.674

29. Enhancing the level of organizational trust.

0.0 20.6 79.4 100 3.99 0.637

33. An incentive system must be designed to promote interagency information sharing.

17.7 62.7 19.6 98 3.92 0.692

18. The deeper someone understands the agency’s operations, the more likely he or she will promote

information sharing. 10.8 25.5 62.8 99 3.68 0.905

36. I am willing to share my work information to other agencies.

10.8 27.5 61.8 100 3.61 0.881

34. Due to uncertainty, public agencies in general are not willing to share important work information

60.7 29.4 9.8 100 3.59 0.775

10. Because of information sharing, the demands of outsiders for access have increased beyond the

capacity of my agency to respond. 44.1 34.3 21.6 100 3.28 0.872

25. Most top managers I contacted give only lip services to promotion of the information affairs by

word of mouth. 36.2 36.3 35.5 99 3.17 0.939

32. The government in Taiwan is at present put effort into promoting interagency information sharing.

34.3 43.1 22.5 100 3.11 0.911

13. Data provided by an agency are more likely to be misinterpreted and misused.

25.5 41.2 32.3 99 2.92 0.857

23.Contract-out of most current public information systems impede interagency information sharing.

19.6 20.6 58.8 99 2.57 0.942

11. Direct the attention of public agencies from more important works.

6.9 33.3 59.8 100 2.41 0.709

The Benefits and Barriers of the Political Side

Despite the technical and organizational side, the political side is an important issue of interagency information sharing. Based on the related literature, the research proposed some hypotheses about benefits and barriers of the political, as following:

H12:A mandate of the statutory requirement or from the top management is

necessary to enable interagency information sharing.

H13:Information sharing increases the possibility to be criticized by the public or

other agencies.

H14:Public information managers consider interagency information sharing

would cause the political disputes with other related agencies.

H15:The CEO of most agencies in Taiwan do not approve to promote information

sharing.

First, results from the researchshow that most respondentsregarded that a mandate of the statutory requirement or from the top management is necessary to enable interagency information sharing. Besides, on the benefits of the political side, 86.3 percent of the respondents regarded that information sharing can enhance other forms of interagency relations. Second, over two-thirdof the respondents agreed that empowerment from the top increases the likelihood of interagency information sharing. Finally, 60.8 percent of the respondents agreed that sharing encourages the substitution of political judgment for professional judgment in program decisions. At a whole, most information managers regarded that the government can provide another professional service model through the mechanism of information sharing.

The government is according to the political views or ideas of the CEO to promote every policy programs in Taiwan, obviously, the government CEO played the important role in the process of policy making. However, results from the research showed that only half of the respondents regarded that the CEO of their individual agency approve to promote information sharing.


On the other hand, a majority of information managers tended to disapprove the political barrier to information sharing. However, according to the previous review of the research supposed that the organizational structures often obstruct the government to promote information sharing because the managers afraid to lose the power after information sharing. Besides, the managers also afraid other organizations find the weaknesses of their individual organization after they open their agencies information. Therefore, most managers weren’t willing to share information with other agencies to prevent them form losing the power or emerging the weaknesses of their programs from sharing information. Bust, on the contrary the results showed that over the half of the respondentsdidn’t regard information sharing deteriorates client confidence in agency programs, and 56 percent of the information managers didn’t agree that if their individual agency must share information is more likely to be questioned by other agencies regarding the accuracy or validity of shared data. Most importantly, 51 percent of the respondents didn’t agree that information sharing causes interagency political problems.

Finally, the cost-benefit of public policy programs is an important considerable factor when government agencies promoted. But, over 44 percentof the respondents agreed that the agencies had no willing to invest information sharing systems because they didn’t think that these systems were cost efficient. Chin-Long Wangtook information managers of public sector as example to examine their attitude of decision factors to outsource information system, and his survey results showed in the four factor aspects of outsourcing or not, “financial affairs” was least valued by public sector. Hence, he supposed that public sector had less financial pressure when they established information system, and reduced cost was not the main goal. On the other side, he also assumed another reason why “financial affairs” was not important was public sector lack for the conception of cost-benefit analysis. Furthermore, our research supposed the standard of effect of information systems the government agencies measured was not these information systems were cost-benefit but these information systems were to be finished.


Table 4.3:Descriptive statistics of the political side of benefits and barriers

associated with interagency information sharing.

Percent of Respondents

Survey Items 1-2 3 4-5 Total Mean SDev

1. A mandate of the statutory requirement or from the top management is necessary

1.0 3.9 94.1 100 4.38 0.614

4. Enhance other forms of interagency relations.

1.0 12.7 86.3 100 4.17 0.646

26. Empowerment from the top increases the likelihood of interagency information sharing.

0.0 22.5 75.5 100 4.10 0.697

17. Sharing encourages the substitution of political judgment for professional judgment in program

decisions. 8.9 29.4 60.8 99 3.66 0.898

24. I agree that the CEO of my agency approve to promote information sharing.

4.9 42.2 50.9 98 3.60 0.778

14. If my agency must share information is more likely to be questioned by other agencies regarding

the accuracy or validity of shared data. 20.6 37.3 42.1 100 3.22 0.908

15. I agree that sharing increases the possibility to be criticized by the public or other agencies.

34.4 37.3 28.5 100 2.88 0.926

12. Causes interagency political problems. 51.0 36.3 12.8 100 2.54 0.886

22. I do not think that information sharing systems are cost efficient.

44.2 24.5 20.6 100 2.54 0.982

16. Sharing deteriorates client confidence in agency programs.

57.7 31.4 1.0 100 2.22 0.654

Independent t-test

Based on the authors' review of the literature with regard to the concepts of the following hypotheses were formulated and to be tested by the application of independent t-test:

H17:If the public information managers of the central government were approve

of the advantages of information sharing more than those of the local

government.

H11:The public information managers ever had experiences of sharing and using the information systems with other agencies, and they were approving the advantages of information sharing more than others without the experience.

H8:The public organizations which ever happen to be incompatible with other

agencies were not quite willing to promote the affairs of information

sharing.

H16:The CEO of the agencies approved the affairs of information sharing all the

more because their agencies instituted the complete information programs.

The public information managers of the central or of the local government

In order to determine whether there was a significant difference between the public information managers of the central government and those of the local government in advantages and barriers of information sharing. Results showed that there was no statistically significant difference in the managers of the central and local government at the approving of information sharing. However, there was a statistically significant difference between the two groups in this variable” Because of information sharing, the demands of outsiders for access have increased beyond the capacity of my agency to respond.”〈P<0.05〉.In other words, the public information managers of the central governmentis agree with this barrier of information sharing more than those of the local government . Further, we supposed that though the resources of the central government were more comprehensive than those of the local government, but because the central governmental environment or affairs were more complex to result in the managers of the central government were more agreeable than those of the local government to think that information sharing make beyond the capacity of the agencies to respond.

The experiences of sharing and using the information systems with other agencies

To test this research’s hypothesis11:The public information managers ever had experiences of sharing and using the information systems with other agencies, and they were approving the advantages of information sharing more than others without the experience. We therefore used Two-sample t-test analysis in which the t-test showed the difference between the two groups in the advantages of information sharing. The results showed a significant difference between the two groups in this advantage:"Interagency information sharing improves public policy of making process"〈P〉, in other words, the experiences of sharing and using the information systems with other agencies of the public information managerswere more affirmatory to approve the advantages of information sharing than others without the experience .

Whether the information system ever to be incompatible

Based on the research proposed the hypothesis 8:The public organizations which ever happen to be incompatible with other agencies were not quite willing to promote the affairs of information sharing. The results from the t-test showed that there was no significant difference between the two groups in the advantages of sharing information. But, on the barriers of sharing information side, there was a significant difference between the two groups in this barrier:" sharing deteriorates client confidence in agency programs "〈P〉, in other words, the public managers which ever happen to be incompatible with other agencies were not quite willing to promote the affairs of information sharingmore than others which never happen .

Whether institute the whole strategy of related information works

The t-test was we used the method to evaluate the hypothesis 16:The CEO of the agencies approved the affairs of information sharing all the more because their agencies instituted the complete information programs. The results showed that there was a significant difference between the two groups in the variable:" I agree that the CEO of my agency approve to promote information sharing." 〈P〉 Indeed, of the 83respondents said that their agencies instituted the whole strategy of related information works, and there were 48 respondents of those agreed that the CEOs of their agencies approve the affairs of information sharing. In other words, over a half of the respondents agreed that if the agency instituted the complete information programs, their CEO approved sharing information all the more.


Conclusion and Recommendations

This study focuses on exploring the barriers and challenges of public information managers for building interoperable information systems. The technological, organizational, and political issues confronting interoperability are identified and analyzed. We combine the results of a survey and the literature to list the conclusion and some policy recommendations.

Integrated the literature with the results, it indicated that the informational managers agreed with the potentially positive effects on the advantages of information sharing. First, on the technological side, most respondents regarded that information sharing not only was a way to avoid unnecessary data collection but also to reduce the usage of papers. Most important of all, they agreed that interagency information sharing improved public policy of making process. Second, on the organizational side, the government CIOs cited that information sharing strengthened the interagency collaborations of the agency with the professionals of other agencies, and simultaneously they regarded that the mechanism of information sharing was very important to integrate interagency information and was helpful to integrate the delivery of different public services across agencies. Besides, most respondents also agreed that information sharing shortened communication distances between different levels of the government, and information sharing of the internal organization was useful for enhancing the level of organizational trust. Finally, on the political side, a majority of respondents considered that a mandate of the statutory requirement or from the top management was necessary to enable interagency information sharing, especially, the degree of the CEO approving. In addition, they agreed that the budget was also the focal point to promote the related affairs of information sharing.

Expect for the advantages of information sharing the respondents agreed, they also regarded some barriers as promoting information sharing. First, on the technical side, most of the informational managers agreed that the technical problem was the first barrier they suffered. Second, on the organizational side, the survey indicated that the organizations could not foresee other organizations’ policy due to the self-interest of the organization. Besides, there were plenty of the respondents disagree contract-out of most current public information systems impede interagency information sharing. Third, on the political side, the results showed that the CEO of the agency in Taiwan was sufficient for approving to promote information sharing. Furthermore, based on the results, a lot informational managers mentioned that if their agency must share information was more likely to be questioned by other agencies regarding the accuracy or validity of shared data. Finally, a slim majority of the respondents disagreed that information sharing caused interagency political problems and deteriorated client confidence in agency programs.

While most governmental agencies endeavor to improve organizational performance and effectiveness across agency more and more, and there is more increasing to emphasis on the importance of interagency information sharing. According to the related researches and results of the survey, the benefits of information sharing are considerable and well-endorsed by a large amount of public managers. However, despite the benefits, a number of technological, organizational and political risks that need to be addressed in order to improve effective information sharing are found. Hence, the study provides some suggestions for resolving the barriers of interagency information sharing, as following:

Strengthen E-government Strategic Planning

Overall, based on the positive comments and assessments from information managers in this national survey, information sharing not only was a way to avoid unnecessary data collection but also to reduce the usage of papers even to improve the process of policy making effectively. However, it is apparently to find that Taiwan governments lack of complete E-government strategic planning about interagency cooperation and integration. First, technological incompatibility was the first task of interagency information sharing to overcome by public sectors, but over half of information managers of the survey indicated that why interagency information sharing got some problems was due to technological incompatibility. So, it is clear that interagency information technology, as the compatibility of different computer systems, software tools, or hardware and so on, lacking a whole strategy planning. Second, Andersen and Dawescited that cognitive deficits of public officials were in defining administrative information and how to manage public affairs with information technology, otherwise, public agencies were not offers public officials a variety of education and training. Also, Mahler & Regan indicated that because of its technical complexity and rapidity of change, training is especially important in the IT area to both public and private organizations. However, based on the survey respondents considered that it is not enough efforts to promote information sharing in Taiwan, just thirty-four of the respondents thought that the government in Taiwan is at present put effort into promoting interagency information sharing.

Finally, when governments make e-government strategy, the leaders play the key role in establishing strategic direction, implementing specific projects, and coordinating across agencies. Nevertheless, most programs are the product of inexact political compromises, they present ample opportunity for agencies to exercise both policy and administrative discretion . Thus, the promise and participation of agency leaders is apparently important to promote interoperability of information systems. However, most respondents indicated that most top managers give only lip services to promotion of the information affairs by word of mouth, and just half of the respondents considered that the CEO of their individual agency approved to promote information sharing. It is quite obvious that Taiwan agency leaders give little attention to make the related information policy.

In short, most government managers, including top leaders must play an active role in the making and implementing of e-government strategic planning for IT to be responsive. The strategic planning should include integrating different computer hardware and software, devoting to intergovernmental information systems, designing the completed training program, enhancing the willing of public employees to share, etc.

Make Public Law

According to the results from the survey, most respondents considered that a mandate of the statutory requirement or from the top management is necessary to enable interagency information sharing. However, our government apparently has insufficient public law to offer public agencies clear technological standards to obey. For example, Government Agency Electronic Information Circulation Guidelines , enacted by the Executive Yuan in February 1999, the main purpose is to promote the circulation of e-information between different levels of government to make governmental organizations more efficient and effective. But, the context of this document just offers the list of circulation to make all agencies convey their files to computer systems, and as the form of information and the environment of electronic operation, etc, is the lack of clear and explicit rules. As a result, in Taiwan, interagency information sharing is more likely to produce many barriers under these unclear roles. On the other hand, like the federal government in USA has made significant progress in redefining how government participates in the standards process , infrastructure and process must now better support the policy . Unfortunately, no centralized rules can support or enforce the information needs of different agencies to share each other in Taiwan. Whatever, our government should make the rules more quickly to resolve many promoted problems while public officials share information.

Programmatic to Promote Interagency Information Sharing

The willing of public officials is another formidable barrier to information sharing. Also, the majority agreed that because of information sharing, the demands of outsiders for access have increased beyond the capacity of their individual agency to respond, and due to uncertainty public agencies in general are not willing to share important work information. On the other hand, most respondents regarded that the self-interest was another barrier to promote information sharing. Clearly, the cross-agency management mechanism needs to be improved by our government. Therefore, to enhance the willing to share information, the government CIOs would play the coordinative role actively between different agencies, and hold a periodical meeting with other related members, in other words, public agencies could increase the rate of participation through the interactive mechanism. Besides, Randolphargued that information sharing is the firs step to empower, hence, the government CIOs would recognize and release into the organization the power that people already have in their wealth of useful knowledge and internal motivation. In addition, public agencies would give some incentives to share information, like rewarding people openly, and making the clear and definite system of rewards and punishments, etc. Finally, more effective government will require leveraging information, knowledge, and technology across these agencies and their divisions to provide an integrated response to our more complex social problems . Moreover, the government should change the system of performance evaluation from the way of surface evaluation in past to the way of the operational process in practice; and further, the change is useful to promote the agency positively to seek other agencies’ assistances for cross-agency policy programs.


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