Tuesday, 19 October 2010

E-LEADERSHIP FOR E-GOVERNMENT IN INDONESIA*)

Awang Anwaruddin

 

Abstract


The development of e-Government in Indonesia, as mandated by Presidential Instruction No. 3/2003 is an effort to develop an electronic- based government in order to improve the quality of public service effectively and efficiently. Due to the complex process during its development, e-Government has not been implemented successfully, especially in government institutions. Based on a research on best practices of e-Government implementation in several regions, it is found that the key factor in capacity building for e-Government is a strong leadership. Leadership in question mostly has the ability to manage personnel, equipment, and other organizational resources, and to use of information technology to solve problems and achieve the vision and mission of his organization. Leadership that has such competences is commonly known as e-Leadership.

Key words: e-Government, capacity building, e-Leadership

I. INTRODUCTION


At present Indonesia is going through fundamental changes in the life of nation and state, from an autocratic toward a more democratic system of governance. This change occurs when the world is undergoing a transformation towards the information society era. The fast progress of information technology and the potential for widespread utilization open opportunities for access, management, and utilization of information in large volumes quickly and accurately. Reality has shown that the use of electronic media is a very important factor in a variety of international transactions, especially in trade transactions. The inability to adjust to global trends will bring the Indonesian nation into the abyss of the digital divide, which is isolated from global developments because of not being able to use information.
 
To anticipate the global changes, the government should immediately implement the transformation process towards e-Government. Through the transformation process, the government can optimize the utilization of advances in information technology to eliminate barriers within bureaucratic organization, and form a network management system and work process that allows government agencies, both national and local, working in an integrated way to simplify access to all information and public services. The transformation carried out will affect the flexibility all state institutions, communities, businesses, and other interested parties in utilizing information and public services optimally. The process of transformation towards e-Government requires strong leadership at each institution.

II. THE DEVELOPMENT OF E-GOVERNMENT


The development of e-Government is a mandate of Presidential Instruction No. 3/2003 on the Policy and Strategy Development of e-Government in an effort to develop an electronic-based government in order to improve the quality of public services effectively and efficiently. The development of e-Government will be able to restructure the management system and work processes within the central and local government agencies.
 
The utilization of information technology includes two (2) activities related namely:
i. data processing, information management, management systems and work processes electronically; and
ii. utilization of advances in information technology for public services can be accessed easily and cheaply by people throughout the country.
 
At this time there are several central and local government agencies taking the initiative to develop public service through communication networks and information in the form of a web site. However, based on the writer's observation, the majority of web sites are still at the first level (preparation) and only a small proportion who have reached level two (maturation), whereas level three (strengthening) and four (utilization) are not reached yet.
 
Meanwhile, the development of e-Government must be in harmony with optimizing the relationship between respective initiatives of government agencies, and strengthening the policy framework. This approach is required to synergize two main interests in the implementation:
 
i. the interest of efficient use of the understanding and experience of each institution of public services needed by society;
ii. an interest in structuring the management system and integrated work processes.
 
The complexity of e-Government development in government agencies needs a strong leadership to manage the process of transformation towards e-Government implementation. Leadership in question must have the ability to manage personnel, equipment, and other resources through various leadership roles and use of information technology.

III. DEFINITION OF E-LEADERSHIP


Leadership is not limited only to a position or job; leadership covers a wider insight. To be a leader one needs to have vision and imagination. Burke (2008) defines leadership as "..... the ability to bring people, tools and resources together to solve problems and Achieve results." But in the current global era, a leader needs to go further. He has to be capable of bringing people together across the nation, geographical, cultural and other limitations by utilizing information technology to achieve organizational goals. Such leadership is what is called e-Leadership.
 
Based on the above description, e-Leadership competencies include the ability to integrate the various roles and implement them by utilizing information and communication technology. According to Burke (2008), the roles that must be executed by e-Leadership are as follows:
 
I. Visionary: the ability to see the big picture and translate it to members of his organization;
II. Convener: the ability to manage differences and bring organization members toward clear goals and problem solving;
III. Team sponsor: the ability to shape and direct the working group on real and virtual groups;
IV. Manager: the ability to seek and allocate resources management organization with responsibility, and ability to manage real and virtual organization;
V. Innovators: the ability to find new ways to work out their duties and functions;
VI. Mentor: the ability to guide and direct the prospective new leaders within the organization.
 
According to Rahardjo (2008), e-Leadership characteristics can bee seen in (1) his vision and mission of leadership and (2) his commitment to the development of information technology. Both these factors are very strong influencing the success of some areas that have proved successful development of e-Government implmentation, such as the Surabaya City and Sragen regency.
 
As Avolio (1999) said, a leader needs to understand that the power of Internet has created a global society in a truly global market circle created by the inter-connected world. Thus, the challenge of a leader is to bridge the gap between government and society with the advancement of technology and its impact, and not the development of the technology itself. This fundamental change is really growing rapidly since the last few years. This will lead to new problems within the scope of leadership, among others, as follows:
 
i. What about the implications of the system applied the current leadership?
ii. How do I integrate the system of leadership and technology systems are applied in the organization?
iii. What leadership style supporting or blocking technology?
iv. Is the system of leadership and technology systems will support each other?
 
Solution to all problems above depends on our leadership style, especially the readiness of transforming leadership. E-Leadership requires a high level of transformational leadership, which can be obtained through various sources, such as experiences gained over the years, process of learning (school, university, training, etc.), and the way we get something just as instinct, intuition, social relationship, etc.

IV. BEST PRACTICES OF SUCCESSFUL E-LEADERSHIP


E-Government applications applied within the public services are, among others, ID Online, e-Procurement, and New Student Reception. According to Suprawoto (2008), the E-Government approach applied for public services may be divided into three services, namely, (1) sreet level, (2) screen level, and (3) system level.
 
i. Street level is the level where the people still have to come directly to public services to make a transaction, although the process is done electronically.
 
ii. Screen level is the level where the device is functioning as tools of information technology support for public services. ID cards online in some areas, for example, is still at this level because the data coordination system has been integrated with the intranet network, but to make ID cards a citizen must come directly to the district office to take pictures and electronic signatures. Applications E-Proc is also still in this category, because the final stage of the procurement still requires bidders to come directly.
 
iii. System level occurs where all the activity done online service. At this stage, the New Student Reception conducted by the Department of Education can be said to have entered this level. Although students should come to submit proof of diploma and other files, but it was limited to just the final verification.
 
Some local governments prominent in the development of information technology, with various forms of e-Government applications are, among others, the regencies of Jembrana, Sragen, and Kebumen, and the cities of Jakarta, Bandung, Surabaya, and Denpasar, Due to limited space and time, this article presents two representing local governments that have successfully implemented e-Government, namely, (1) the City of Surabaya and (2) the Regency of Sragen.

i. THE CITY OF SURABAYA


In 2007 the Local Government of Surabaya City received a national award for its success in implementing the various systems and applications of e-Government, such as e-Procurement, e-Budgeting, ID Online, etc.
This achievement can be seen from the accomplishment of several e-Leadership variables as follows:
 
a) Aspects of the convener and team sponsors. In this respect, the Mayor of Surabaya City has proved to emphasize the use of information technology to support direct services and public works. While the implementation of e-Budgeting, and e-Procurement is implemented through "coercion" for all units. Coercion in quotation marks also includes protection from top management if the ranks of middle management in the internal city government was mutual "friction or deliberately swiped" from outside the organization because of conflict of interests.
 
b) Aspects of manager and mentor. These aspects are applied through a significant budget allocation for network infrastructure with establishment of communication among the units. Various applications are also developed to further improve public services.
 
c) Aspects of innovator and radical change. Through these aspects arious process and product innovation are facilitated through information technology services. Similarly, business model has been changed due to significant penetration of information technology into the organization. For example, the original auction is now carried out electronically that makes the process become shorter and simpler.
 
The implementation of e-Leadership aspects above proves that e-Leadership is a key factor of success in developing E-Government. According to Suprawoto (2008), a robust e-Leadership is the main prerequisite for the implementation of E-Government.

ii. THE DISTRICT OF SRAGEN


The Sragen Regency is one of the pilot areas in the implementation of e-Government in Indonesia. The rapid development of information technology in the district can be seen from the rise of virtual worlds in society through the application of remote Sragen Global Network (Nagios), Its internet and intranet are online for 24 hours in all work units, and an interactive Website Sragen Regency is ready to provide public services. Here are the six key factors of success of Sragen regency in developing e-Government.
 
a) Strong political leadership with clear vision. This aspect is very important in ensuring the successful implementation of e-Government (i.e. The Asia Foundation, 2007). Change management to overcome the inertia of the organization and culture can only be done properly with the support of strong leadership. Organizational and cultural challenges are very often more difficult to resolve than the challenge from the technology. Strong political leadership is a proof of commitment to leadership in the implementation of e-Government. Low commitment from the leadership, for fear of losing power, is one of the obstacles in the implementation of e-Government (Allen et al., 2004).
 
b) Involvement of all parties. Strong leadership has provided a good climate to raise mutual awareness of the importance of support from all parties involved with implementation of e-Government. The initial phase of implementation is not without obstacles. However, when innovation is proven, then its easy to get the support of many parties (Rogers, 1995). Involving all parties in the implementation of e-Government from various levels of local government, as the regent has proven, is the initial capital success in the development of e-Government.
 
c) Preparation of human resources In the implementation of e-Government. One of real constraints in the early stage of e-Government implementation is the human resource capabilities. The problem is typical of human resources in the implementation of e-Government, especially in developing countries (e.g. Heeks and Davies, 1999). Several initiatives were taken to overcome this problem. The biggest problem is changing the mindset. Training, consulting, and study visits to several private companies were conducted.. To get around the problem of individual capabilities, information technology training is done regularly. Each Head of Department even be accompanied by a trained operator.
 
d) Implementation in stages. This is another lesson that can be taken. One Stop Service is a good choice to initiate the implementation of e-Government. In addition, since it involves many parties, the impact on public services can be directly felt. Infrastructure development was done in stages. In the early stages of 52 offices connected to the Internet, and in the next stage as many as 208 villages were also connected.
 
e) Development of partnerships. Developed partnerships with various stakeholders were developed in the Sragen Regency. For example, applications for identity cards printing is the result of profit-sharing partnership with a private company. Thus, investment is not too large to be removed without compromising the quality of service. Partnerships with severalnational and international agencies are in line with the improvement of public services as proved by the Sragen Regency.
 
f) Routine evaluation. One of the problems which arise in the implementation of e-Government is the absence of indicators of success (e.g. Janssen et al, 2004). It is well recognized by the Sragen Regency. Each year, the local government conducts a survey to service users in order to measure quality and, at the same time, to get feedback for improvement.

V. CONCLUSION


The development of e-Government is meant to improve the quality of public services effectively and efficiently. The success of e-Government development depends highly on a strong transformational leadership and technology-oriented information or commonly known as e-Leadership.
 
Competencies required in e-Leadership includes the ability to integrate the various roles and implement them by utilizing information and communication technology. As for the roles that must be executed by e-Leadership, among others, include (1) Visionary, (2) convener, (3) Team sponsors, (4) Manager, (5) Innovators, and (6) Mentor.
 
From the study of best practices in some areas in Indonesia, it can be concluded that e-Leadership factor with diverse roles like the one above is very significant in determining the successful development of e-Government. Even to say, if no e-Leadership in an agency, then do not expect that e-Government to be implemented properly.


REFERENCES

 
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Rogers, E. M. Diffusion of Innovations,. The Free Press, New York,. (1995 Rees, Erik, Seven Principles of Transformational Leadership, http://www.pastors.com/articles 10/15/2010
Suprawoto (2008). Implementing e-Gov, e-Leadership Must Strong First in yunus@wartaegov.com . Retrieved December 5, 2008
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*) Seminar paper presented at the 7th NAPSIPAG International Conference, Trivandrum, Kerala, India, Dcember  2010
 

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