Getting It Right: The Importance of Targeting Structural Causes of Failure in E-Government

Abstract : In this paper we look at the application of ICTs to the improvement of state-citizen relations in developing countries. Our argument is that, to maximize responsiveness of the government, ICTs need to “get it right,” by targeting exactly those problems from which unresponsiveness of the state to citizens emerges. Failure arises from the fact that ICTs, rather than being used for tar-getting issues in government responsiveness, are utilized for other purposes, primarily as a means to obtaining and preserving political support. This argument is illustrated through a case study of computerization of the ration card procedure in Kerala, southern India. Here, while the structural problems of the ration card process lie at the back-end level of application processing, the technology devised by the government addresses predominantly the front-end, politically appealing node of application performance by the citizens. This strategy does not “get it right,” as it leaves untouched the crucial reason of state unresponsiveness, and indeed, it produces long-run dissatisfaction in citizens. Implications are both theoretical, as a cause for expectation failure in IS is identified and deconstructed, and practical, as an orientation to structural problems is recommended to ICT designers and policymakers.
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Magda David Hercheui; Diane Whitehouse; William McIver; Jackie Phahlamohlaka. 10th International Conference on Human Choice and Computers (HCC), Sep 2012, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Springer, IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, AICT-386, pp.34-43, 2012, ICT Critical Infrastructures and Society. 〈10.1007/978-3-642-33332-3_4〉
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Silvia Masiero. Getting It Right: The Importance of Targeting Structural Causes of Failure in E-Government. Magda David Hercheui; Diane Whitehouse; William McIver; Jackie Phahlamohlaka. 10th International Conference on Human Choice and Computers (HCC), Sep 2012, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Springer, IFIP Advances in Information and Communication Technology, AICT-386, pp.34-43, 2012, ICT Critical Infrastructures and Society. 〈10.1007/978-3-642-33332-3_4〉. 〈hal-01525106〉

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