• Toward Formulation a Maturity Framework for E-diplomacy

      Weerakkody, Vishanth J.P.; Irani, Zahir; Sivarajah, Uthayasankar; Al-Muftah, Hamad M.
      Digital diplomacy (e-Diplomacy), is commonly defined as the use of information and communication technology for the purposes of attaining foreign policy goals. The emerging field of digital diplomacy has been largely neglected in academic research. Also, in practice, this area has been slow to evolve compared to other areas of public service such as e-government, e-education and e-health. This research draws on the existing literature to present a novel conceptual framework that could be used to guide the implementation of e-diplomacy. A new e-diplomacy maturity framework is formulated to address the modern functions of foreign relations in today’s global environment. The e-diplomacy maturity framework is derived from the theory of growth models, the e-government maturity model, the broader literature on diplomacy and the practice of diplomacy. To validate the conceptual framework, a qualitative approach involving semi-structured interviews with diplomats and professionals from the foreign ministries of the USA, the UK and Qatar were conducted. The novelty of this research is based on the development of a conceptual framework of e-diplomacy maturity and implementation that was built around the scaffolding of conjectures that were tested to determine their validity. It can guide research scholars wishing to explore the discipline of digital diplomacy. It will also assist foreign ministries to identify the stage they have reached in deploying ICT in their diplomatic functions. This study should also provide policy makers, diplomats, ICT managers, and practitioners with a greater understanding of the stages and factors that encourage or hinder e-diplomacy implementation and maturity.