Addressing Contextual Influences During ICT Innovation for Public Sector Reform: The Case of TAXIS

Addressing Contextual Influences During ICT Innovation for Public Sector Reform: The Case of TAXIS

Elpida Prasopoulou (Athens University of Economics and Business, Greece)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-839-2.ch014
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In recent years, ICT innovation is explicitly linked to deep structural reforms in public administrations. In this chapter, I examine the role of context, during the establishment of a minimal and accountable government apparatus, using the concept of negotiation space as my theoretical lens. The process of imbricating ICT innovation within the local context is viewed as a clash between local institutions and the ones carried by new Information Technologies. This clash is empirically examined in the case of TAXIS, the flagship Information Technology project of the Greek government in the mid 1990s. TAXIS’s implementation has been strongly supported by both the political system and Greek society. Nevertheless, ICT innovation did not trigger radical changes in taxation. Instead, it was infused by strongly engrained political practices which resulted in the implementation of an Information System functional yet unable to support radical tax reform.
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Contextualising Ict Innovation: Overview Of The Literature

Context constitutes an inseparable component in the study of ICT innovation. As Avgerou (2001) observes, the very nature of the object of study, information technology as a changing entity within its environment, essentially turns every study into a contextual one. The imbroglio of institutional arrangements and cognitive imageries on the desirable forms of human association (Unger, 2004), which constitutes context as an analytical entity, lifts focus from technology as such in order to incorporate societal factors which adequately explain what seems paradoxical in the interaction of the new technology with its environment.

In the following sections, the way context has been examined in the information systems literature is presented. Then, the concept of negotiation space and the theoretical angles it provides in the study of ICT innovation are discussed.

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