Accountability and Information Technology Enactment: Implications for Social Empowerment

Accountability and Information Technology Enactment: Implications for Social Empowerment

Richard K. Ghere (University of Dayton, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-699-0.ch028
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Abstract

This chapter focuses on the use of information technology (IT) in government and its possible impacton governance, particularly in terms of addressing the equity concerns of meeting the basic needs of regional subpopulations. In Building the Virtual State, Jane Fountain develops her theory of technology enactment (in essence, a variety of bureaucratic behaviors reacting to IT) and then applies that framework in three case studies in the book. This inquiry examines government IT enactment in various global settings to assess (1) where and how enactment occurs and (2) what, if any, effect enactment has upon governance in particular settings. The first section traces relationships between a nation’s IT development policy and that technology’s potential to promote equity in that society. The next two sections report (respectively) on the study and observations that emerge. A brief case study about the Gyandoot, an intranet system in rural India, examines the reality of e-government as a means to promote social equality. A concluding discussion reviews those observations as they relate to the human initiative in efforts to harness information technology to achieve public goals, especially those intended to improve social wellbeing in poor societies.
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Background: Information Technology And Governance

This section offers brief discussion of the three conceptual issues inter-related in this chapter.

Key Terms in this Chapter

New Public Management (NPM): A politically-conservative appeal for government to reduce bureaucracy and adopt private sector management practices.

Block Equality: the ideal of equality between relevant groups or subclasses in a society.

IT Enactment: behaviors of those who implement information technology that may improvise or adapt its usage from that intended by design.

Soochanalays: Gyandoot kiosks used by citizens to access about twenty government services.

Soochaks: Individual entrepreneurs who own and operate kiosks associated with the Gyandoot.

Accountability: the public responsibility to respond to the expectations of various stakeholders.

Gyandoot: an intranet e-government system in Dhar, a district in central India, intended to enlist information technology to improve the lives of the poor.

Governance: the traditions and institutions by which authority in a country is exercised.

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