IT Governance Practices in a Public Organization in Ghana

IT Governance Practices in a Public Organization in Ghana

Godfried B. Adaba, Lazar Rusu
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/ijide.2014040102
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The strategic importance of information technology (IT) in today's organizations and dependence on IT to support e-government strategies has increased the interest in IT Governance (ITG) in public sector organizations. From this perspective, this paper examines ITG practices in a public organization in Ghana (that has a responsibility to mobilize revenue for national development) in order to gain an insight into IT governance structures, processes and relational mechanisms and understand how this contributes to adding value through IT. The findings have revealed that this public organization has a centralized approach to IT governance, with inadequate board involvement concerning how IT investments can bring value and improve organizational performance. Furthermore, there are no IT steering and strategy committees to oversee IT governance as best practice requires.
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The importance of strategic use of IT in today’s organizations has resulted in significant IT investments by public sector organizations to take advantage of its numerous benefits. Many organizations from the public sector are increasingly relying on IT to support e-government strategies in order to facilitate efficient and cost effective service delivery. Accordingly, there is interest to find effective governance mechanisms for the management of IT resources in public sector organizations (Nfuka, Rusu, Johannesson, & Mutagahywa, 2009).

According to the IT Governance Institute (ITGI, 2011), IT Governance (ITG) is part of the corporate governance and uses corporate governance principles and mechanisms to support the effective management of IT to achieve organizational goals (Weill & Ross, 2004a). The general purpose of ITG is to facilitate the delivery of value by aligning IT with organizational goals, generate a return on IT investments through exploiting opportunities, efficient use of IT and the mitigation of risks associated with IT (ITGI, 2011; Van Grembergen & De Haes, 2008; Weill & Ross, 2004b). In the opinion of Weill & Ross (2004a) there is a difference between IT management, which is about how specific decisions are made, and ITG, which relates to systematically defining who makes each type of decision (decision right), who has input in the decisions (an input right), and accountability of people (or groups) for their role. Moreover, an effective ITG aligns IT investments with overall organizational goals.

In spite of growing interest in ITG as a research area (Ridley, 2008), there is limited research examining the subject, particularly in public sector organizations in developing countries (Nfuka & Rusu, 2010). In order to address this gap, this paper uses an interpretive case study to examine the ITG practices in a public sector organization in Ghana. Through this approach we tried to understand IT decision-making structures, ITG processes and relational mechanisms and to gain insight into ITG practices. The findings of this study are useful to IT professionals and academics interested in ITG research with a focus on developing countries. The paper’s structure is the following: first we introduce a short review of the ITG research literature, followed by a presentation of the theoretical framework used in the study. Next, the research methodology is described, followed by a presentation and discussion of the findings. Finally, the conclusions of this research are presented.

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