This research chapter, through the presentation of an empirical case study surrounding the implementation and use of an electronic property tax collection system in Bangalore (India), developed between 1998 and 2008, critically examines both the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in governmental reform processes and the contribution of such technologies to the deeper understanding of the social dynamics shaping e-government projects used to reform public sector institutions. Drawing on the theoretical perspectives of the ‘Ecology of Games' and ‘Design-Actuality Gaps', both of which recognise the importance of a multitude of diverse motives and individualistic behaviour as key factors influencing organisational reform and institutional change, the chapter contributes not just to an understanding of the role of ICTs in public administration reform, but also towards that emerging body of research which is critical of managerial rationalism for an organization as a whole, and is sensitive to an ecology of actors and their various motivations operating within the symbiotic organisation.
E-Government: Definition, Nature, And Scope
Simultaneous with the shift towards a more inclusive process of participation in political decision-making and public sector reform has been an increased interest in the new digital Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and the ways in which they may be used to effectively complement and reform existing political processes. Developments in communication technologies have historically resulted in changes in the way in which governments function, often challenging them to find new ways in which to communicate and interact with their citizens, and ICTs today are seen to possess the potential to change institutions as well as the mechanisms of service delivery, bringing about a fundamental change in the way government operates and a transformation in the dynamic between government and its citizens (Misra, 2005). The work of the public sector has traditionally been highly information-intensive; government has been, and still remains, the single largest collector, user, holder and producer of information (Heeks, 2000), and is considered to be a central resource ‘in pursuing democratic/political processes, in managing resources, executing functions, measuring performance, and in service delivery’ (Isaac-Henry, 1997).