Politics, Accountability, and Information Management

Politics, Accountability, and Information Management

Bruce Rocheleau (Northern Illinois University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-051-6.ch003


This chapter provides examples of the politics of managing information in public organizations by studying both its internal and external aspects. Within the organization, politics is involved in structuring decision making, struggles over purchases of hardware and soft-ware, interdepartmental sharing of information, and the flow of communications such as e-mail among employees. The chapter analyzes examples of each of these internal aspects of politics. The chapter also discusses evidence concerning whether political appointees or career administrators are more effective as information managers. Externally, the chapter discusses how information management has been used to attempt to achieve greater political accountability through e-reporting and examples of cases where purchasing problems spill over into the realm of external politics such as through attempts to privatize governmental information management function. Certain topics such as municipal broadband systems and information management disasters are highly likely to involve information managers in politics. The attempts to use governmental Web sites as mechanisms to achieve e-governance and greater citizen participation in the political process also make it impossible for information managers to insulate themselves against politics.

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