Email management in the government sector: A case study

Siti Khairunnisa Sheikh Abdul Mutalib, Julie McLeod, Michael Moss

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Email has become the significant tool for correspondence in all sectors, displacing and drastically changing usual letter composition. It has been acknowledged as a formal method of giving and accepting commands, agreements, decisions etc. Email is also an information communication system which captures organisations’ decisions. Therefore, every organisation needs to develop and implement an email policy to manage email as records for evidence and information. In the government sector there are examples of poor email management. For instance, Michael Gove, former UK Secretary of State for Education, conducted government business using his wife’s personal email account; and former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a personal email account and server for both government and personal business. This paper discusses preliminary findings from a study of email management in the government sector. It is based on a case study at a selected government ministry in Malaysia involving interviews with twelve participants in different roles across three departments and two policies and guidelines’ providers, comparing practices on the ground with the policies and guidelines. The records continuum model, which comprises the creation, capture, organisation and pluralisation of information in an organisation, was used to design the interview questions. The study aimed to critically explore the management of email in the context of the transition to digital information management (record keeping). Its context is the introduction of the 1Malaysia email project, which will provide a free email account for each Malaysian citizen over 18 years old to access e-Government services via a single sign-on user ID, as part of the move to e-government in Malaysia to accomplish its Vision 2020. This case study will contribute to the evolution of record keeping policies and practices in a former UK dependency during the transition to the digital and the identification of good practice that could be transferrable to other similar national government contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-721
JournalInternational e-Journal of Advances in Social Sciences
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2017


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