IT Governance Mechanisms in Public Sector Organisations: An Australian Context

IT Governance Mechanisms in Public Sector Organisations: An Australian Context

Syaiful Ali (Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia) and Peter Green (University of Queensland, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-138-4.ch023
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Information technology plays a significant role enabling organisations to achieve their objectives. Accordingly, the governance mechanisms over the organisation’s IT resources must be in place and operating effectively if the organization is to achieve its objectives. The concern with IT governance is not only evident in the private sector but also in the public sector. This study attempts to examine empirically the individual IT governance mechanisms that influence the overall effectiveness of IT governance in Australian public sector organisations. Using sample data from auditors who currently work in Australian public sector organisations, this study examined the influence of four proposed individual IT governance mechanisms on the overall effectiveness of IT governance. This study found significant positive relationships between the existence of an IT strategy committee and corporate (organisational) communication systems, and the overall level of effective IT governance within Australian public sector organisations.
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During the last decade, information technology (IT) has been playing a more important role for organisations in achieving their goals. Both private and public sector1 organisations have been experiencing higher expenditure on IT, and consequently, higher benefits are expected by their stakeholders (Ward & Peppard, 2002; Gormolski et al., 2001). Thus, it is crucial for both organisational forms to establish good governance in IT to obtain more effective use of IT.

In Australia, the role of corporate governance mechanisms including IT governance mechanisms has been heightened since the spectacular corporate collapses of HIH Pty Ltd and One.Tel Pty Ltd in 2001. In his report on the HIH collapse in March 2003, Justice Owen provided insight into the peculiar circumstances of the type of governance mechanisms required in Australian corporations. He (2003, p. xiii) stated, “Corporate regulation in Australia in the late 1990s and into the present decade was replete with mechanisms designed to detect danger signs and promote the financial health and longevity of commercial entities…. Despite these mechanisms, the corporate officers, auditors and regulators of HIH failed to see, remedy or report what should have been obvious. And some of those who were in or close to the management of the group ignored or, worse, concealed the true state of the group’s steadily deteriorating financial position….Those responsible for the stewardship of HIH ignored the warning signs at their own, the group’s and the public’s peril. The culture of apparent indifference or deliberate disregard on the part of those responsible for the well-being of the company set in train a series of events that culminated in a calamity of monumental proportions.”These insights emphasized the need for governance mechanisms that focus on stewardship, and promoting and communicating a culture of compliance to the organisation. These insights were reinforced in the “Principles of Good Corporate Governance and Best Practice Recommendations” promulgated by the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) for publicly listed companies in Australia in March 2003.

To implement IT governance effectively, the principles and lessons of good corporate governance must be reflected in the individual IT governance mechanisms put in place for the organisation. Accordingly, in this work, we investigate a set of IT governance mechanisms (e.g., IT steering committee, IT organisational structure) that encourages behavior congruent with the organisation’s mission, strategy, values, norms, and culture (Vaswani, 2003; Weill, 2004). However, caution should be applied in implementing those mechanisms as the nature of organisations (i.e., private and public sector organisations) has an important role in determining the effectiveness of the mechanisms (Edwards & Clough, 2005).

Several studies have examined the practices of IT governance mechanisms in private sector organisations (Ali & Green, 2005; Vaswani, 2003; Well & Ross, 2004). Public sector organisations have long recognized the importance of effective IT governance to their success (Vinten, 2002). However, little research has been conducted into examining what mechanisms contributed to establish effective IT governance within public sector organisations. Have public sector organizations, particularly, in Australia, learnt from the lessons of the corporate collapses of the early millennium and implemented appropriate individual IT governance mechanisms that would lead to an increased level of overall effective IT governance? Thus, the objective of this study is to identify factors required to establish and implement effective IT governance within Australian public sector organisations.

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Associate Editors
Table of Contents
M. Gordon Hunter, Felix B. Tan
M. Gordon Hunter, Felix B. Tan
Chapter 1
Alexander Y. Yap
Why are some countries successful with e-commerce while others flounder? This chapter is an update of an earlier research study that the authors... Sample PDF
A Composite Model for E-Commerce Diffusion: Revisited
Chapter 2
Robert M. Davison, Yuan Li, Carol S.P. Kam
In the last few years, Web-based surveys have received increased attention given their potential to cut the costs and time associated with... Sample PDF
Web-Based Data Collection in China
Chapter 3
Jaymeen R. Shah
Privacy laws for the Internet are difficult to develop and implement domestically and internationally. A clear problem is how such laws are limited... Sample PDF
Privacy Protection Overseas as Perceived by USA-Based IT Professionals
Chapter 4
Hongxin Zhao, Seung Kim, Taewon Suh, Jianjun Du
This study attempts to examine empirically how social institutional factors relate to Internet diffusion in 39 countries. Based on nine-year... Sample PDF
Social Institutional Explanations of Global Internet Diffusion: A Cross-Country Analysis
Chapter 5
Somya Joshi, Michael Barrett, Geoff Walsham, Sam Cappleman
This article investigates how, and with what success, global organisations design computer-based systems for knowledge sharing which aim to balance... Sample PDF
Balancing Local Knowledge Within Global Organisations Through Computer-Based Systems: An Activity Theory Approach
Chapter 6
Kevin K.W. Ho, Byungjoon Yoo, Seunghee Yu, Kar Yan Tam
While previous studies on buy-it-now (BIN) auctions focus on the impact of BIN format on economic performances, our study focuses on factors that... Sample PDF
The Effect of Culture and Product Categories on the Level of Use of Buy-It-Now (BIN) Auctions by Sellers
Chapter 7
Shirish C. Srivastava, Thompson S.H. Teo
Though policy makers and governments are interested in understanding the returns from e-Government implementation, there are relatively few... Sample PDF
A Framework for Understanding Returns from E-Government
Chapter 8
Juan Juan Zhang, Sang-Yong Tom Lee
This article studies the role of international spillover of information and communication technology (ICT) in economic growth. We examine the... Sample PDF
A Time Series Analysis of International ICT Spillover
Chapter 9
William Wresch, Simon Fraser
Studies summarized by the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development continue to show that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in developing... Sample PDF
Technological Hurdles to Caribbean E-Commerce: Responses by Innovative Managers
Chapter 10
Robert M. Davidson, Carol S.P. Kim, Maggie Y. Li, Yuan Li, Carol X.J. Ou
In the last few years, Web-based surveys have received increased attention given their potential to cut the costs and time associated with... Sample PDF
Web-Based Surveys in China
Chapter 11
David Gefen, Tsipi Heart
Deliberate exploitation of natural resources and excessive use of environmentally abhorrent materials have resulted in environmental disruptions... Sample PDF
On the Need to Include National Culture as a Central Issue in E-Commerce Trust Beliefs
Chapter 12
Steven Hornik
The horizontal and vertical dimensions of individualism and collectivism are an important characteristic of cultures. These dimensions have many... Sample PDF
Culture's Impact on Technology Mediated Learning: The Role of Horizontal and Vertical Individualism and Collectivism
Chapter 13
Tamara Dinev, Massimo Bellotto, Paul Hart, Vincenzo Russo, Ilaria Serra, Christian Colautti
The study examines differences in individual’s privacy concerns and beliefs about government surveillance in Italy and the United States. By... Sample PDF
Internet Users' Privacy Concerns and Beliefs About Government Surveillance: An Exploratory Study of Differences Between Italy and the United States
Chapter 14
Shaobo Ji, Qingfei Min, Weihe Han
The purpose of this study is to review current research activities concerning information systems (IS) in mainland China. We thus examined Chinese... Sample PDF
Information Systems Research in China: An Empirical Study
Chapter 15
John Lim
Two seemingly disparate phenomena, advancement in computing technologies and rise in complexity of business negotiations owing to globalization... Sample PDF
A Study in the East Asian Context on Computer Support of Pre-Negotiation and Negotiation Stages
Chapter 16
Sang-Woo Lee, Myeong-Cheol Park, Dan J. Kim
This study relies on a customer demand-based view to examine how mobile number portability affects competition in the Korean mobile... Sample PDF
Mobile Number Portability in an Asymmetric Telecommunications Market: Korea Case
Chapter 17
Hazel Taylor
As outsourced and multinational IT projects become more common, managing risks for these projects is increasingly important. The research reported... Sample PDF
Vendor vs. Client Risks in Outsourced IT Projects: An Agency Theory Perspective
Chapter 18
Susan K. Lippert, John A. Volkmar
Research to date on information technology (IT) adoption has focused primarily on homogeneous single country samples. This study integrates the... Sample PDF
Cultural Effects on Technology Performance and Utilization: A Comparison of U.S. and Canadian Users
Chapter 19
Thompson S.H. Teo
The Internet can be used for different purposes ranging from simple Internet presence to using the Internet for business transformation. This study... Sample PDF
Basic vs. Advanced Modes of Internet Adoption: A Singapore Perspective
Chapter 20
Clive Sanford, Anol Bhattacherjee
This article presents an interpretive analysis of the key problems and challenges to technology implementation in developing countries, based on a... Sample PDF
IT Implementation in a Developing Country Municipality: A Sociocognitive Analysis
Chapter 21
Susan A. Sherer
This article investigates IT investment management processes in the U.S. and Portugal. In Portugal compared to the United States, we find less... Sample PDF
Comparative Study of IT Investment Management Processes in U.S. and Portugal
Chapter 22
Ruey-Lin Hsiao
This article examines e-marketplace adoption difficulties from a contextualist perspective. The analysis of industrial characteristics will unearth... Sample PDF
Misaligned Market: The Importance of Industry Context in Technology-Mediated Exchanges
Chapter 23
Syaiful Ali, Peter Green
Information technology plays a significant role enabling organisations to achieve their objectives. Accordingly, the governance mechanisms over the... Sample PDF
IT Governance Mechanisms in Public Sector Organisations: An Australian Context
Chapter 24
Shirley Chan
In most parts of the world, it is generally considered impolite or even rude to pick up an incoming mobile phone call and to have a longer (and... Sample PDF
Mobile Phone Communication Innovation in Multiple Time and Space Zones: The Case of Hong Kong Culture
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