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ICT for development reconsidered: a critical realist approach to the strategic context in Kenya's transition to e-governance

By James Muranga Njihia

Abstract

This study contributes to critical information systems research understanding of the broader strategic context of information systems initiatives in developing countries. It investigates contextual influences with structural impacts that may lead to instabilities and discontinuities in the immediate project context using a critical realist paradigm. It was informed by literature on development as discourse, ICT4D policy and technology transfer, E-Government adoption, and information systems research paradigms and applications in developing countries. A disconnection was observed between ICT4D policy practice that favors positivist technology diffusion models and research findings that suggest interpretive and critical contextual approaches. A theoretical framework was developed to reconsider ICT4D from a postcolonial country perspective by integrating critiques of modernity from Critical realism and postcolonial theory. An empirical case study investigation of change in Kenya‘s transition to E-Governance was then conducted and analyzed using a critical realist research framework, the Morphogenetic approach, supplemented by Q-methodology to study subjectivity. Finally ICT change was interpreted using critical realist concepts for structure, culture, and agency, with an overriding direction towards greater freedom.\ud The main research contribution is a new approach to ICT4D where change is conceived within a dialectical framework that assumes people are moral and ethical beings possessing values. Research findings have implications for understanding the strategic context of E-Governance and ICT4D, time and temporality in contextual integrative frameworks, and suggest an alternative approach to strategy analysis in situations of rapid political and institutional change. They highlight the importance of political leaders and development agencies as mediators and interpreters of the strategic context. Development was conceived as a dialectical process towards transformative praxis, which together with the suggested approach to the strategic context, may require us to rethink the meaning of IS project success or failure in postcolonial developing countries

Topics: T1, JQ
OAI identifier: oai:wrap.warwick.ac.uk:2234

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  66. I believe that once you put a road somewhere, people will us 24
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  84. Kenya's private sector organizations might be better off ali 44 -0.694
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  101. Of critical importance is sustained Political Will as a key success factor in realizing the dream of eGovernment at national and regional level.
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  107. Organic growth - The ICT fashion already being followed in s
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  112. People are not used to the discipline and measures that ICT systems and contemporary management demand, this is a major challenge in Kenya today.
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  114. People have inherent trust for computers, so we can advance the fight against corruption through the use of email to report such cases to the Kenya Anti-Corruption Authority.
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  143. society is least interested in the quiet behind the scenes sustained structured dialogue on building policies like the private sector, and more interested in high profile media attention getting displays and events that appeal to donor sentiments.
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  158. The civil service culture is all about responsibility and risk avoidance, this infects even young newly employed people. So it is not easy to be focused on results delivery.
  159. The current MDG-inspired prioritisation of
  160. The e-government will not only ensure that there is effectiv
  161. The e-government will not only ensure that there is effective and smooth delivery of services but, also that the Government activities are transparent.
  162. The existence of monopolies resulting in high costs and inef
  163. The existence of monopolies resulting in high costs and inefficient service is a major challenge to the establishment of eGovernance in Kenya.
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  165. The government does not fully grasp or understand the potential of ICT contribution to economic growth.
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  168. The Millennium Development Goals must be the priority for ap
  169. The national ICT policy draft paper sould stress wealth
  170. The national ICT policy draft paper sould stress wealth crea
  171. The national information and communications technology (ICT) policy draft paper should stress wealth creation. Poverty cannot be reduced without first creating wealth.
  172. The online world is now more reflective of the broader
  173. The online world is now more reflective of the broader Kenyan society and is no longer composed of the highly educated, relatively well to do, highly computer literate individuals.
  174. The problem of “tribalism” in public service is more pronounced among older persons, who may have grown up in the rural areas. Younger people are more open, broadminded and are very easy to work with.
  175. The problem of "tribalism" in public service is more
  176. The problem of "tribalism" in public service is more pronoun
  177. The question of African time is a philosophical and cultural
  178. The question of African time is a philosophical and cultural 38 -0.926
  179. The question of African time is a philosophical and cultural one; time is not money to everyone. Technology should be designed to serve the context of the user.
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  181. The very low rate of computer and telephone line penetration
  182. The very low rate of computer and telephone line penetration is a major challenge to the establishment of eGovernance in Kenya.
  183. there are countries that are both more and less doi
  184. There are many progressive and positive persons within
  185. There are many progressive and positive persons within gover
  186. There are many progressive and positive persons within government with whom people working for advancement in ICT and eGovernance can partner to move the country forward.
  187. There is the feeling that current government policies and ac
  188. There is the feeling that current government policies and activities are geared towards appealing to foreign investors with little regard at local investors.
  189. Though computers don’t make people work harder,
  190. Though computers don’t make people work harder, they can mak
  191. Though computers don’t make people work harder, they can make people more organized and efficient.
  192. Though Kenyans are a high-energy people, most of this
  193. Though Kenyans are a high-energy people, most of this energy
  194. Though Kenyans are a high-energy people, most of this energy is destructively focussed on each other due to low trust.
  195. Though there are countries that are both more and less advan
  196. Though there are countries that are both more and less advanced than Kenya in Africa, it is lagging behind in both ICT application and development in general and eGovernance in particular - given its history and potential.
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  198. Turning to the cards in the ―disagree‖ pile, again select the 4 with which you most strongly disagree and place them to the far left (-4). Again, the sorting should match the diagram below, and the specific order does not matter.
  199. Values are much more important than the level of pay for
  200. Values are much more important than the level of pay for our
  201. Values are much more important than the level of pay for our leaders in regard to fostering better management of public resources.
  202. We need to think very seriously about sustainability for
  203. We need to think very seriously about sustainability for our
  204. We need to think very seriously about sustainability for our 12
  205. We need to think very seriously about sustainability for ourselves without depending on donors. Donors tend to take up issues depending on where the wind is blowing and don’t show much concern for projects sustainability.

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