E-Government Implementation for Internal Efficiency: Perceptions and Experiences of Control at City of Cape Town, South Africa

E-Government Implementation for Internal Efficiency: Perceptions and Experiences of Control at City of Cape Town, South Africa

Sandra Matatu (Rhodes University, South Africa) and Babalwa Magoqwana (Rhodes University, South Africa)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 10
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-6296-4.ch017


This chapter describes worker experiences of control in the context of e-government implementation in the City of Cape Town, South Africa. E-government is part of the governmental modernization project to enhance service delivery channels while promoting internal organizational efficiency. Based on the literature on control and surveillance in the workplace, this chapter looks at how workers perceive the e-government and how it affects their labor process. The participants in the study seem to be unclear of the direction and impact of e-government in the City of Cape Town's service provision. The research suggests that e-government has opened new possibilities and challenges for control at the City as enhanced service delivery for citizens is pursued.
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In explaining the degradation of work and changes in occupations in the 21st century, Braverman (1974) saw scientific management and technology at the center of the labor process, increasing managerial control through the separation of conception and execution. The monopolization of information by the management on the shop-floor formed the source of control, while workers continued to lose skill and salaries. Through the separation of conception and execution, the rationale for the existence of management and the means for subordinating labor to managerial control could be reinforced (Braverman, 1974). Management control strategies and use of technology would be used to maximize control over workers thereby maximizing the capitalist’s interest to reduce costs and maximize profit (Braverman, 1974). While Braverman (1974) explained control based on the objective work condition, Edwards (1979) looked at the subjective sources of control beyond the objective capitalist conditions. He noted that through direct or simple control individual owners could be present on the shop floor, rewarding and punishing behavior (Edwards, 1979). With technologies that maximized the transformation of labor power into labor, technical control could maximize efficiency, enhance control over workers but create the potential for worker resistance through their shared experiences of work (Edwards, 1979). Bureaucratic control would create rules to govern the workplace thereby removing the unrestricted supervision and rewards and punishment based on established rules and procedures set out (Edwards, 1979).

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