Building digital state: Understanding two decades of evolution in Kazakh e-government project

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to review and illustrate historical milestones and evolutionary stages of public sector reforms in such a typical transitional society as Kazakhstan through the prism of existing e-government development strategies, implementation models and institutional regulations. Design/methodology/approach: The research is mostly based on a retrospective analysis of technology-driven public sector reforms and content analysis of various e-government strategies and platforms implemented by national and local executive authorities in Kazakhstan for the last two decades. Findings: The results of the analysis has confirmed previously made assumptions that typical developing states tend to adopt different non-linear and multidimensional implementation strategies in advancing e-government reforms in comparison with developed countries. As it turns out, the continuity of actual stages or levels of such development not always corresponds in a consecutive manner to the formal phases of the most popular e-government maturity models proposed previously in academic literature. Research limitations/implications: One of the fundamental limitations of the case study is that its findings and recommendations could relate only to a limited number of countries that have similar political, socioeconomic and administrative contexts. Taking into account the fact that Kazakhstan is not only a typical developing economy but also a transitional post-communist and post-totalitarian society that has its own unique political and socioeconomic features of governance, the results of case study could not be generalized and extrapolated to all developing countries, presumably narrowing them only to a very limited number of similar states, mostly, in Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia. Practical implications: The main practical contribution of the article is that it provides a close review of e-government politics in Kazakhstan that could be helpful for policy makers and practitioners in evaluating, learning and improving the work of various technology-driven public sector projects in the area, especially from a regulatory point of view. Originality/value: This inherently ethnographic narrative, which is based on the analysis of e-government legislation and implementation strategies derived from diverse administrative practices, could be interesting for those who seek to understand an ever-changing truly evolutionary nature of technology-driven public sector reforms in a typical transitional society.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)301-323
Number of pages23
JournalOnline Information Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 8 2019


  • Digital state
  • E-government models
  • Evolution of e-government
  • Kazakhstan
  • Public sector reforms
  • Regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Library and Information Sciences

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