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Monday, 22 January 2018 11:13
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Impact of the 4th industrial revolution on the development of the state administration

(LLCT) - Based on analyzing the positive impacts and challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIR) on the state administration development, this article has some recommendations as follows: actively improve the institution of the administrative system, create a legal corridor for the development of industries and sectors; enhance the application of modern technological achievement to management activities of administrative agencies; actively build and strengthen civil servants' professional level and capacity, etc. Hence, the state administration will be gradually perfected to meet the demands of the FIR.

Key words: The 4th Industrial Revolution, state administration.

The 4th Industrial Revolution (FIR) is forming and exerting strong impacts on all aspects of social life. In terms of state administration, the FIR creates many opportunities and challenges that require a timely grasp from managers to have the appropriate orientations and solutions, and perfect the state administration and meeting requirements of the national development.

The FIR is shaping on the developing trends based on the highly-integrated platform of the digital-physical-biological connection system(1). Three factors showing that the FIR is not an extension of the 3rd Industrial Revolution are speed, scale, and system. The speed of invention of unprecedented breakthrough technologies has disrupted the structure of most industries in every country. The breadth and depth of these changes forecast a transition of the entire production, management, and administrative system.

As for Vietnam, the FIR is having a strong impact on its state administration,  in both positive and negative ways.

1. Positive influences on the development of the state administration

Firstly, the FIR contributes to changing managers’ mindset and awareness in the state administration. Initially, it influences managers’ perception of economic, political and social development, including impacts on the state administration. Thus, it helps managers to work out orientations and solutions for administrative reform in line with social development requirements. The Government’s March regular  meeting on April 3, 2017 evaluated and identified important missions of the FIR for government bodies. The meeting resolution addressed: “The FIR is a development trend based on digitalization and connection, which has a great-scale impact on all social economic aspects, changing our production mode and force in the future, and possibly bringing Vietnam not only many chances to accelerate industrialization and modernization but also a lot of challenges to the development process”.

At the same time, the resolution also clearly pointed out the task: “Vietnam should actively propose orientations and practical solutions to seize opportunities and minimize negative impacts of the FIR, firstly making breakthrough development in information technology”(2). Besides, the Prime Minister issued Directive No.16/CT-TTg dated May 4, 2017 on enhancing FIR accessibility, in which specific tasks were identified for ministries, industries, and locals to actively prepare conditions for better completion of this revolution.

Secondly, the FIR contributes to increased modern technology application that improves effectiveness of the State administrative management.

The FIR is based on strong development of information technology, such as social networking technology, mobile, big data, Internet of Things, cloud analysis and computing, etc. This favors State administrative bodies to booster technological achievement applications in order to improve management efficiency.

Applying FIR achievements to enhancing management efficiency of state administrative bodies is also a target of the e-government that is being built under the Resolution 36a/NQ-CP dated October 15, 2015. The implementation of e-government goals in Vietnam has advantages, including fairly high quality and low cost Internet infrastructure, meanwhile high configuration and low cost mobile devices are becoming popular. With the Government’s encouragement, Vietnam has great potential for developing SMAC (Social, Mobile, Analytics & Cloud) technology. Furthermore, Vietnam has experienced technological corporations as partners like Microsoft, who are consulting, building, and developing SMAC in general and cloud computing in Vietnam.

Thirdly, the FIR facilitates the development of a transparent and democratic administration.

Successes of the FIR, especially in information and communication technology, enable favorable conditions to democratic and transparent operation in most Government’s bodies. Digital infrastructure technologies allow two-way interactions between the people and the Government. For example, in regulation and policy making, most drafts of legal documents require opinions from citizens. People can take part in that process by addressing opinions and feedback easily through the Internet. During the enforcement of policies and laws, people can supervise implementation through the mechanisms of publicity, transparency, and the responsibility of state administrative bodies to explain their activities. This mechanism performance is very convenient and effective thanks to the Internet and telecommunications. According to the Telecommunication Department (Ministry of Information and Communications), by the end of 2015, Internet users will account for 52% of the population in Vietnam. The country ranks fourth in the world for Internet usage duration at 5.2 hours per day, and 22nd in the world for social network users in terms of population (statistics of wearesocial.net)(3).

2. Key challenges to the development of the state administration

Besides advantages, the FIR also poses many challenges to the development of the state administration, including some major challenges as below:

Firstly, the challenge of building and perfecting the institutional system and policy development of the state administration.

An up-to-date administration must have a synchronous regulation and policy system in line with social development. The FIR has direct influences on changing production and business modes and disrupting traditional labor markets; at the same time it is changing the management methods of governmental bodies and posing many social issues. Law and policy makers need to be aware of the impacts of the FIR to actively and subjectively build appropriate regulations and policies. Failing to complete these missions will lead to challenges and negative impacts like: technological and economic lagging; excessive, unqualified labor causing disruption in the traditional labor market, thus affecting the socio-economic situation of the country; loss of information safety and security, copyright infringement; lack of high-level labor force. Therefore, in the coming years, facing the FIR’s impacts, many regulations and policies need to be built and perfected. Those areas that need attention are the regulations and policies surrounding science and technology development, education and training to develop human resources, social welfare, employment, network security, etc.

Secondly, there are challenges in boosting the application of new technology to improve the performance of the state administration bodies.

State administrative bodies require appropriate methods in boosting the application of modern technology, otherwise their operation will become stagnant and ineffective. For example, the FIR core is the development of information technologies, so promoting information technologies to build the e-government at all authority levels is still a central task. At present, Resolution 36a/NQ-CP on building the e-government is being implemented, gaining initial results but also encountering a lot of difficulties and challenges. The final goal is to achieve comprehensive reform in three groups of services: online service index (OSI), telecommunication infrastructure index, and human resources index (HSI). At present, the level of online public services provided by administrative bodies primarily remains low (out of 104 thousand online public services provided, 96,500 services provided at level 1 and 2; only 6,600 services provided at level 3; 900 services at level 4)(4). In addition, the telecommunication and information technology infrastructures retain many shortages; information technology human resources for administrative bodies are weak in skills, with difficulties and challenges in terms of confidentiality, security and safety of information, and network security. Therefore, there are many issues that require ministries, industries, and locals to study and research the FIR in order to adjust and supplement plans, programs, and projects of information technology applications and the e-government construction to take advantage of opportunities brought by the FIR.

Thirdly, there are challenges in building and improving qualification and capacity of civil administrative servants.

The FIR creates favorable conditions for boosting the application of modern technology achievements to management, especially information technology and robotics. Many types of jobs in state administrative agencies can be done by computers and robots. In order to ensure an effective operation, it is essential to build a highly professional personnel with rational structure. Their qualification and capacity should be improved to ensure good use of modern technologies at work. However, the current situation of the national civil servants has many shortcomings. The number of civil servants in the administrative system is very large, and is unreasonably structured. Skill and capacity of many civil servants fail to meet working requirements, especially in regard to a lack of modern technology application skills. For that reason, continuing to enhance personnel cuts and education and cultivation to improve the skill and capacity of the administration workforce to meet the FIR development requirement is a crucial task with big challenges to be solved.

Fourthly, the challenge of solving the social issues of the administration.

Based on integration of many up-to-date technologies, the FIR will affect most aspects of social life, especially enabling higher productivity and efficiency in production and business. However, the FIR also has many hidden threats to the balance of the labor market. When robotics and automation thrive, surpluses in labor rise and unemployment in society accumulates significantly, especially for unskilled laborers. The rich-poor gap will be widened between financial- and knowledge-based group like inventors, shareholders and investors, and the manual laborers). Together with that is the increasing challenges from social evils and social order, etc. Therefore, it requires managers and policy makers to form appropriate policies of human resources development, employment settlement, social welfare and security.

Fifthly, challenge in adjusting to adapt to the development of society.

The FIR is considered to be developing exponentially. German Professor Klaus Schwab, President of World Economic Forum Davos who introduced the FIR concept confirmed: “We are moving towards a technological and industrial revolution that will basically change life and working style, as well as communication mode. In terms of range, level, and complexity, this transition is not like anything human beings have ever experienced before”. Before the dramatic social changes due to the FIR come to fruition, the administration also needs to adjust to meet the social management requirements. The ability to adapt to social changes and development is also a crucial demand for a modern administration.

3. Recommendations

Firstly, civil servants, especially the leaders, need to be fully aware of the impacts of the FIR on the state administration. From there, specific action plans should be addressed; each official, civil servant and agency in the administration system should have specific initiatives and solutions to reform and promote its organization and operation to meet the FIR’s development requirements. As directed by Prime Minister at the March regular meeting on April 3, 2017: “Avoid the paradox that everybody talks about the FIR, but hardly knows any specific thing to be done”(5).

Secondly, the institution of the state administration should be positively improved, creating a legal corridor for the development of industries and sectors that meet the FIR development requirements. First and foremost, the legal environment for developing the science technology market in the integration orientation should be quickly consolidated. A legal environment for the development of FIR-based business lines in Vietnam should also be constructed. The Government should create favorable conditions for businesses to access and apply advanced technologies. At the same time, it is necessary to consolidate the institutional system, the educational and training policies on social human resource development, as well as employment policies, social welfare, etc.

Thirdly, the application of modern technology achievements to management activities of the state administrative bodies should be enhanced. The application of information technology achievements in building the e-government should be promoted to meet e-government goals under the Resolution 36a/NQ-CP and further satisfy management demands in the FIR context.

Fourthly, it is essential to build a contingent of administrative public employees with an appropriate structure. Renovations in the recruitment and training and an increase in qualifications and capabilities of civil servants will be necessary so that they can surely apply modern technology achievements of the FIR in management and operation work.

Fifthly, the national administration at all levels should review and create action plans in a timely manner in order to facilitate cooperation to make Vietnam among the leading countries actively accessing the FIR effectively and to avoid further lag in this revolution.



(1) Department of National Scientific Information and Technology: The Fourth Industrial Revolution, www.vista.vn.

(2) Resolution of Government’s Regular meeting on March dated April 3, 2017.

(3) http://viettimes.vn.

(4) Resolution 36a/NQ-CP dated October 15, 2015 on building the e-government.

(5) http://www.baomoi.com.

MA. Trinh Xuan Thang

Political Academy Region IV

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