Posljedice globalnog trenda starenja nacija utječu na uspješnost projekata digitalne transformacije (DT), jer sposobnost korištenja dostupnih digitalnih usluga i roba predstavlja ključan čimbenik za ekonomsku opravdanost ulaganja u DT. E-uključivost populacije 54+, koja je u sve većem broju zastupljena u ukupnoj populaciji, tema je kojom su se proteklih godina bavili istraživači, pokrenuti su brojni projekti, formulirani radni okviri za podizanje kompetencija, donijeti zaključci i date preporuke, no društveni problem i dalje postoji. Javne politike (JP) su mehanizmi, prepoznati od strane istraživača u području digitalnog jaza i nejednakosti, pomoću kojih se trebaju pronalaziti rješenja za spomenuti problem. Ovim istraživanjem ispitati će se koliko su JP spremne za e-uključivost populacije 54+ te povezanost stavova kreatora javnih politika o važnosti uključivanja e-uključivosti populacije 54+ u JP i njihove osobne e-uključivosti. Metoda mjerenja koja se u istraživanju predlaže je kompozitni indeks zasnovan na komponentama i atributima Općeg teoretskog konceptualnog modela za e- uključivost, s naglaskom na populaciju 54+ (Žajdela Hrustek, 2015). Digitalni jaz populacije 54+ nije u svim sredinama jednako izražen, stoga je za utvrđivanje dobre prakse provedena kvalitativna komparativna analiza zemalja kod kojih je postotak osoba koje nikad nisu koristile Internet među pet najnižih, uvažavajući i druga obilježja zemalja članica EU. Osim metode za mjerenje spremnosti e-uključivosti populacije 54+ ovim istraživanjem obuhvaćeno je ispitivanje stavova kreatora županijskih javnih politika o potrebi da se e- uključivost populacije 54+ strateški planira i sukladno tome provodi. Osobna e-uključivost kreatora javnih politika također je razmatrana tijekom istraživanja, s ciljem utvrđivanja jesu li stavovi o važnosti e-uključivosti populacije 54+ povezani s osobnom razinom e-uključivosti kreatora javnih politika. U vrijeme u kojem je disertacija nastajala je obilježeno završetkom jednog višegodišnjeg programskog razdoblja i kreiranjem drugog. Vrijeme u kojem je disertacija pripremana obilježeno je Covid 19 pandemijom, koja je dodatno naglasila važnost i prednosti e-uključivosti jer se jedino na taj način, moglo „normalno“ živjeti i ispunjavati potrebe i obveze.
The consequences of the global aging trend of nations affect the performance of digital transformation (DT) projects, as the ability to use available digital services and goods is a key factor for the economic justification of DT investments. E-inclusion of the 54+ population, which is increasingly represented in the total population, is a topic dealt with by researchers in recent years, numerous projects have been launched, working frameworks for raising competences have been formulated, conclusions and recommendations have been made, but the social problem still exists. Specific subjects related to the research topic are demographic changes and aging nations all over the World as well as their impact on the modern digital society. Author has presented demographic statistics and predictions published by EUROSTAT and UN (world, EU, Republic of Croatia, the Croatian counties). Digital divide, digital literacy, aging nation, sustainable development and public policy are the topics that this research was focused on. At the initial stage of the study, a four research questions were imposed:
1) What level of public policy readiness are they regarding the e-inclusion of the population 54+ in the Republic of Croatia?
2) Are there indicators that would make a composite index to measure the level of public policy readiness for population 54+ e-inclusion?
3) What are the attitudes of public policymakers in the Republic of Croatia regarding the need to include e-inclusion of citizens 54+ in public policies and what is the personal level of e-Inclusiveness of public policymakers?
4) Is there a correlation between the level of public policy readiness in terms of e-inclusion of citizens 54+ and attitudes about it and personal level of e-inclusion of public policymakers?
Based on these research questions, the author has set research goals and hypotheses. The research goals are:
1) Identify factors affecting e-inclusion of population 54+.
2) Develop a composite index to measure the readiness and implementation of public policies for e-inclusion of population 54+.
3) Develop a measuring instrument to measure attitudes towards the inclusion of e-inclusion population 54+ in public policies and personal levels of e-inclusion of public policymakers.
4) Identify the correlation of attitudes on the importance of including the population 54+ e-inclusion in public policies and the personal level of e-Inclusiveness of public policymakers.
Based on research goals, two research hypotheses have been set:
H1: The developed composite index for measuring the readiness and implementation of public policies for e-Inclusive population 54+ based on identified factors affecting e- Inclusiveness of population 54+ is valid and reliable.
H2: There is a correlation between attitudes about the importance of including e- Inclusive population 54+ in public policies and the personal level of e-Inclusiveness of public policymakers.
The research process was carried out in four phases. Phase 1.: To identify factors affecting e- inclusion of population 54+ author has researched the public policies of the United Nations, European Union (EU) level, scientific papers (reference models), reports of EU co-financed projects focused on e-Inclusion. Author has conducted qualitative comparative analysis to identify the five best countries on e-inclusion of 54+ population (Sweden, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom) to identify public policy measures that encouraged e- inclusion of 54+ population.
Aging nations, as a global problem, is a part of sustainable development measures determined by United Nations and supported by European Union. The human capital that is going to be older and older by every decade, so the sustainable development public policy measures focused on the question how to keep workers active as long as possible. The challenge was and still is on public administration to find the possibility how to promote and support the society transformation, and keep persons aged 54+ active in that new environment. That part of research is presented in chapter seven. Based on the analysis of scientific papers in the field of digital divide and e-inclusiveness, the author applied two reference models in her research: The General Theoretical Conceptual Model of E-inclusion (RM-1) (Žajdela Hrustek, 2015) and An Integrated Measurement Model of Digital Inequality (RM-2) (Yu, Ndumu, Mon and Fan, 2018). Key components of the RM-1 are: ACCESS, USE, EMPOWERMENT, IMPACT OF E-INCLUSIVENESS ON QUALITY OF LIFE. Key components of the RM-2 are: macro, mezzo, micro level of cause of digital exclusion. The “Public admin force” has been recognized as a cause of digital exclusion on macro level. The e-inclusion in general and specificity of e-inclusion of 54+ population are presented in chapter eight.
The results of qualitative comparative analysis of the five best 5 EU countries - Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Finland and the United Kingdom (top 5 European countries) are presented in chapter ten. The most important findings that have been made during this phase of research are:
- Top 5 European countries have recognized the population groups that were not e- included at the beginning of global digitalization, so they have adopted development planning documents related to e-inclusion long before other countries.
- The conducting of planned measures was monitored and reported continuously and the progress was under control.
- Raising awareness of the need for e-inclusion, in particular for vulnerable social groups, was continues activity.
- These countries have built broadband Internet long before other countries and assured the access to whole population equally.
- More attention was paid to availability of equipment necessary for access to Internet (in the user's home or in public places).
- They have made public infrastructure (school space, equipment and teaching staff) available to society to raise the level of e-inclusion of all population groups.
- They developed e-services, their availability, and were promoted with the aim of improving the quality of life (healthcare).
The phase two of research was to develop a composite index (KI) to measure the readiness and implementation of public policies for e-inclusion of population 54+. This phase was conducted by studying the methodology of creating composite index (KI) (OECD, 2008), research the scientific papers dealing with individual stages of KI development methodology, construction of KI indicators and sub-indicators. The validation of proposed KI was performed by focus group (FG) and by individual expertise evaluation. Suggested KI was accepted by experts and the conclusions drawn during the evaluation regarding the determination of weight factors were applied in the robustness test of KI. After all the steps of constructing and validation of KI, the author started to collect the public policy documents that were used as a source of data for measuring the sub- indicators of KI. The research was conducted on a suitable sample of 30% of Croatian counties (8 out of 21) that were selected on the basis of geographical similarity (Zagreb County, Međimurje County, Krapina-Zagorje County, Varaždin County, Koprivnica- Križevci County, Bjelovar-Bilogora County, Virovitica-Podravina County). Istria County was added to the research sample because it is very similar in terms of cultural criteria to countries from the north of the Republic of Croatia. The documents analysed are from time period from 2016 until 2020.
Applied steps, in the development of composite index, according to methodology (OECD, 2008) are:
a) defining reference theoretical models mentioned if phase one (RM-1, RM-2);
b) selecting variables (indicators and sub-indicators) that describe the public policy readiness according to the e-inclusion components of RM-1 (indicators) with population 54+ - specific elements whose values are determined by examining public policy documents. The indicators were measured by sub-indicators, which are based on the results of the QCA analysis and the established reasons, causes, specifics that make the population of 54+ not e-Inclusive;
c) evaluation of the indicators and sub-indicators of KI by experts; 6 experts; Content validity Ratio (CVR) is 1, and the value of the content validity indicator for 6 experts is 0.99;
d) data collection for sources: strategic multiannual documents; action plans; enforcement reports by the competent authorities; budgetary planning documents; budget annual reporting documents;
e) multivariate analysis – a) The Cronbach Alpha coefficient of internal consistency was used to evaluate the reliability of the indicator (constructs) of the proposed composite index;
f) normalization of data - sub-indicator value domain was 0, 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1 (19 sub- indicator, max=19, min=0); Comparison with other variables: 2020 result divided by estimated population over 54 years of age (CBS, for 2019) in the observed countries;
g) determination of weight factors and data aggregation - 6 scenarios for weight factor values for indicators (Focus Group, scenario experts rearranged by experts during focus group and when filling in evaluation tables); by using the KI the multidimensional system is presented using a one-dimensional system in such a way that linear additive aggregation is used;
h) robustness and sensitivity of the KI was tested to the change in weight factors that was performed in accordance by scenarios proposed by evaluation experts.
Cronbach alpha is 0.76 and it can be concluded that the data for individual sub-rangers are well aligned with each other as a whole. The analysis of the sensitivity of the composite index is related to the sensitivity of the indicator to weight factors (WF) according to the scenarios. The KI is sensitive on scenario S3 where WF are: KM1=0,4, KM2=0,2, KM3=0,3, KM4=0,1. In that case the rank of countries was changed. The KI value in 2020 is under half of maximum value of KI (max =19). By providing all validation methods of KI and conducted KI development methodology steps, the hypothesis H1 was confirmed. The details of that part of research are presented in the chapter ten. The third phase of research was focused on development of a measuring instrument to measure attitudes towards the inclusion of e-inclusion of population 54+ in public policies and personal levels of e-inclusion of public policymakers. RM-1 (Žajdela Hrustek, 2015) was used as a basis for scale A, which is upgraded with variables measuring the need for public policies to contain measures that encourage e-inclusion of the population 54+ (scale B). The fourth phase of research confirmed the correlation of attitudes on the importance of including population 54+ e-inclusion in public policies and the personal level of e-inclusion of public policymakers: based on the data collected in previous phase. This phase was also carried out by analysis of the relations between scale A and scale B. The survey in phase 3 and phase 4 of research was conducted on the same geographic area as the phase 2. The 128 respondents participated voluntarily and anonymously in the survey that was performed from the end of September 2020 until December 2020. The validation methods used in phase 3 and phase 4 of research were: - Kolmogorov-Smirnov distribution normality test indicates that the distribution on scale A is the only one that tracks normal distribution (p = 0.200), while other scales or subscales distributions are not similar to the normal distribution (p < 0.001). - Spearman's rank correlation coefficient (rS = 0.39) that indicates that the values on the scale A are related to the values on the B scale; the relation is mostly positive and statistically significant (rS = 0.39 n = 128 p < 0.001); chi-square test and Kruskal-Wallisov H test (nonparametric method) - comparison of three or more medians (distribution does not have a form of normal distribution). All of mentioned arguments indicate confirmation of the H2. The third and fourth phases of research are presented in chapter eleven. Scientific contribution of this research is systematization of knowledge about e-inclusion of 54+ and public policies; identification of factors affecting e-inclusion of the population 54+ that may be an integral part of public policies; developed composite index for measuring readiness and implementing public policies for e-Inclusion of population 54+; detected correlation between public policymakers' views on the inclusion of e-inclusion of 54+ in public policies and their personal level of e-inclusion and a measuring instrument has been developed to measure attitudes towards the inclusion of e-inclusion of 54+ in public policies and the personal level of e-inclusion of public policymakers. The research was carried out in a geographically smaller area, which represents a kind of limitation of research. During the research process author has used the literature mostly published in English that is also a kind of limitation. Further research has to be conducted on wider geographical area, and also by including other countries. The KI has to be tested by using it in measuring other social problem and readiness of public policies for solving it. The author's recommendation is to raise awareness of the importance of e-inclusion among all stakeholders from public policymakers to the beneficiaries themselves