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Enhancing Social Accountability Through ICT: Success Factors and Challenges
Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. (CERIS, Department of Informatics)
Örebro University, Örebro University School of Business. (CERIS, Department of Informatics)ORCID iD: 0000-0002-3713-346X
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of CeDEM 2015 (International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 2015), Danube University Krems, Austria, May 20-22, 2015 / [ed] Peter Parycek and Noella Edelmann, Austria, 2015Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This paper examines the state of citizen participation in public accountability processes via Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). It draws on three projects that use ICT to report public service delivery failures in Uganda, mainly in the education, public health and the roads sectors. While presenting common factors hampering meaningful use of ICT for citizens’ monitoring of public services and eParticipation in general, the paper studies the factors that enabled successful whistle blowing using toll free calling, blogging, radio talk shows, SMS texting, and e-mailing. The paper displays examples of the positive impacts of whistle-blowing mechanisms and draws up a list of success factors applicable to these projects. It also outlines common challenges and drawbacks to initiatives that use ICT to enable citizen participation in social accountability. The paper provides pathways that could give ICT-for-participation and for-accountability initiatives in countries with characteristics similar to Uganda a good chance of achieving success. While focusing on Uganda, the paper may be of practical value to policy makers, development practitioners and academics in countries with similar socio-economic standings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Austria, 2015.
Series
Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government
Keyword [en]
eParticipation, social accountability, transparency, ICT4D, service delivery
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Informatics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-44460OAI: oai:DiVA.org:oru-44460DiVA: diva2:807878
Conference
International Conference for E-Democracy and Open Government 2015
Available from: 2015-04-25 Created: 2015-04-25 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Motivating eParticipation in Authoritarian Countries
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Motivating eParticipation in Authoritarian Countries
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) can enrich the ways in which citizens participate in civic and political matters. Indeed, many theorists on online participation, or eParticipation, proclaim the potential of digital technologies to empower citizens with convenient ways to participate in democratic processes and to hold leaders to account. However, it is not clear if and how digital technologies, notably social media, can contribute to a more democratic system and engaged public in a country where open expression is limited. This thesis studies Social Networking Sites (SNS) as Information Systems (IS) artefacts, including individuals’ motivation for using them, how their features enable participation - or not - and the impacts of their use in an authoritarian country.

Through personal interviews and focus group discussions in Uganda, this thesis finds that the common enablers of online participation in often-studied, mostly Western democratic countries are rarely translated into the offline world in an authoritarian country with one president for the last 30 years. The thesis proposes ways to increase eParticipation in authoritarian contexts, citing the social accountability sector (where the thesis shows evidence of eParticipation working) as a pathway to greater citizen participation and government responsiveness. Findings also contribute to the Information Systems artefact discourse by illuminating the political, social, technological, and information artefacts in SNS when used for eParticipation. Moreover, the thesis shows how, in contexts with a democracy deficit, resource-based theories such as the Civic Voluntarism Model (CVM) fall short in explaining what motivates political participation. It also explains how social networks contain the various constitutive aspects of the IS artefact – social, technical, informational and political - and how these various aspects need to be aligned for eParticipation to work.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Örebro: Örebro university, 2016. 143 p.
Series
Örebro Studies in Informatics, 11
Keyword
Civic voluntarism, IS artefact, Uganda, eParticipation, citizen participation, social networking sites, authoritarian regime, ICT4D
National Category
Information Systems, Social aspects
Research subject
Informatics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:oru:diva-48179 (URN)978-91-7529-136-9 (ISBN)
Public defence
2016-04-28, Hörsalen, Musikhögskolan, Fakultetsgatan 1, Örebro, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2016-02-10 Created: 2016-02-10 Last updated: 2017-10-17Bibliographically approved

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