Currently there are two prevailing strands of thought related to government online advisory services. One school considers the empowerment effect of online advisory systems on citizens and claims that such systems, when appropriately designed, can lead to empowerment outcomes including a better sense of control and better perceived power relative to government officials. On the other hand, the phenomena of the digital divide or digital exclusion is discerned - where there are excluded and disadvantaged groups because of the shifting focus of government services towards online delivery. Faced with this dilemma, we aim at understanding the seemingly contradictory implications of the provision of online advisory services for public use by government agencies. We conducted a literature review of online government advisory services, e-government and empowerment, in order to form a consolidated view theory-wise and to explore a sound explanation of this dilemma. This study represents the first stage of an ongoing research project. The expected outcome of the research project is a comprehensive framework for online government advisory service delivery and design strategies for advisory systems that truly empower the general public. The project is expected to benefit both the public and government agencies who wish to enhance their advisory services.



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