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Accepted Paper:

has pdf download E-governance and Anti-corruption in Bhutan: emerging roles of multi-layered leaderships  


Atsuko Okuda (United Nations University)

Paper short abstract:

This exploratory inductive research examines anti-corruption effects of 2 e-governance initiatives in Bhutan where corruption is perceived low. This study aims to identify determinants of compliance, with focus on leaderships, among government employee users to explain the phenomena in Bhutan.

Paper long abstract:

E-governance initiatives are increasingly seen as a vehicle to tackle corruption. However, empirical evidence to help understand the mechanism is scarce, especially among developing countries. This inductive research explores the relationships between e-governance and corruption through compliance as a possible conduit to explain the phenomena. It answers the question of what are the determinants of compliance among government employee users in e-governance implementation.

Bhutan is selected as a case study country, as it is perceived as a low corruption country, despite being a least developed country. The research selected 2 e-governance initiatives central to the government's anti-corruption efforts: the Asset Declaration System of the Anti-Corruption Commission and the electronic Public Expenditure Management System of the Ministry of Finance.

Data collection was conducted through document analysis, observations, semi-structured interviews of over 30 government officials and experts in 2019. The fieldwork resulted in 1) information system descriptions based on document analysis and observations; 2) evidence of compliance among government employee users obtained through semi-structured interviews; and 3) external expert views for data triangulation. The data is analyzed using coding, pattern matching and cross-case synthesis.

The paper presents preliminary findings which identify possible determinants of compliance, with focus on multi-layered leaderships. Due to the technical complexity of e-governance systems, existing leaderships seem to play more supportive roles, while IT officials increasingly provide policy and decision making roles in the case of Bhutan. The combination of leaderships and other determinants may explain the high level of compliance and low level of corruption in Bhutan.

Panel P42
Digital Development Leadership