Information and Technology: Improving Public Sector Capability to Address Societal Challenges
Tue, 15 Oct 2010
Theresa A. Pardo, Anthony M. Cresswell, and Meghan E. Cook
This paper argues for a dedicated, social science-based research program to address the question “How do the societal context and institutional character of government interact with emerging information and communication technologies to shape the capabilities and performance of the public sector?” The ability to answer this question can only result from non-domain specific research that studies the societal context of government and the information resources and technologies affecting government. Because of government’s inherent complexity and unique role as the leader in addressing the world’s grand societal challenges, there is an urgent need to understand the practice context of government and how it influences the policy, management, and organizational political, and public factors that shape information use and IT applications. Currently there is a lack of research on the public sector and while there are devoted resources to government areas there is little scientific attention to the government organizations and processes that are both the sources and customers of the programs. With focus on this cross-cutting research, government can improve its capacity to serve society and researchers can seek opportunities for new theory development that links government context to the fundamental questions of organizational and technical action.