Journal 1 Information Structures - Essay Example

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Lecture: Information Technology in Public Organizations: An Overview Lecture Summary: Week 2 lecture tackled “Information Technology in Public Organizations: An Overview”. The main argument of the lecture points towards information being a key driver of government programs as it is information which dictates how government business is conducted…
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Lecture: Information Technology in Public Organizations: An Overview Lecture Summary: Week 2 lecture tackled “Information Technology in Public Organizations: An Overview”. The main argument of the lecture points towards information being a key driver of government programs as it is information which dictates how government business is conducted. The power of information is, however, anchored on the premise that its utility is a function of the capability of government personnel in handling such information. Presented with multifarious factors which influence government, information technology is seen as an instrument to enhance organizational efficiency, improve public accountability, diminish risk taking and deliver better services. There are, however, challenges which needs to be addressed so that the government can fully benefit from the IT, particularly pertaining to policy, strategy, data and information control, costs, workforce and changes. These rests on the shoulders of the CIO and the proficiency of agency leaders to match the rapid influx of technology with the corresponding policy decisions (Fountain, 2007, 63-93). Readings: Fountain, Jane, E. 2007. “Challenges to organizational change”: Multi-Level integrated information structures (MIIS). In Governance and information technology: From electronic government to information government, ed. Viktor Mayer – Schonberger and David Lazer, 63-93. Cambridge: Massachusetts Institute of Technology Main argument Governments are big users of information and appropriate resources to create, share and disseminate information to enhance delivery of public services. Design of information flow, however, revealed several challenges which need to be addressed in terms of complexity of a tri-level nature of change at the micro-level, organizational and inter-organizational levels, and institutional level. The real problem observed in this reading as pointed out by the author is not the design of the information structures but the organizational change required to develop more productive information flows. Moreover, the failure of most systems may be traced to inadequately conceptualized and managed organizational change process aimed at building collaboration capacity between organizations (Fountain, 2007, 83-93). Takeaway 1 In an effort to build collaboration and interdependency among government departments and agencies for better delivery of services, many unanticipated changes in the organization surface in terms of routines, procedure and communication channels. It, therefore, became evident that adoption of new and more efficient information technologies facilitates changes to be instituted in information flows, but a trade of at the margin is activated making changes less feasible. It is heartening to note that information technology has catalyzed shared governance into a best practice Takeaway 2 Multi-level information networks rely significantly on task significance, clarity and ample resources but they present promising benefits particularly in shedding light on the issues pertaining to organizational change, which as revealed in the reading, affects the success or failure of government networks more than actual loopholes in the network design. Braman, Sandra. 2009. Change of State: Information, Policy and Power. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Main Argument The United States Constitution aims to protect freedom of expression by acting as a cornerstone wherein all laws and regulations regarding information and communication are to be founded on. However, since the advent of the electronic age, the fundamental principles that protect civil liberties and advance democratic processes have been under constant threat of being undermined by information policies. Therefore, the domain of information policy should be defined and bound to ensure that rights are respected and responsibilities are fulfilled (Braman, 2009, 39-78). Takeaway1 An effective and useful approach to bounding the domain of information policy should be comprised of the following characteristics: (1) valid; (2) comprehensive; (3) theoretically-based; (4) methodologically operationalizable; and (5) translatable. Therefore, a 21st century approach to bounding the domain of information policy must be grounded on empirical and realistic parameters. Also, an approach should be able to address concerns on all fronts and should be founded on set of established theories. Moreover, an effective approach needs to utilize concepts which can be measured and analyzed through social science research methods. This is done to ensure that policy positions are based on sound research methodologies. Lastly, new policy principles should be developed in a way that it can be adapted into existing laws. Takeaway2 A 21st century Information policy should not only focus on constitutive effects which reflect real world situations. Rather, focus should also be considered on constitutional law which represents the ideal. Whereas constitutive effects show where society is at in terms of information policy, constitutional law points us at the right direction. NGA Center for Best Practices. 2005. The View from the IT Industry – What States Can Do to Improve Government Efficiency and Service Delivery. Washington, DC: NGA Center for Best Practices. • Main Argument IT can be used to advance the policy goals and business objectives of the governor, as well as to address budget shortfalls and improve citizen and business interactions with government. States that successfully put these actions into place will save money, serve citizens and business more efficiently, and enable better performance management, agency collaboration, and data analysis. • Take-Aways 1. Information sharing among states The sharing of information between states through memorandum of understanding and compacts not only provides states with crucial data, but also strengthens ties between member states. Once a strong bond is achieved, inter-state transactions become more coordinated and diverse. 2. Information sharing within states An efficient and coordinated information sharing system enables the provision of services in an efficient and timely manner. This comes handy in situations wherein officials are required to formulate and implement quick decisions, such as during emergencies. Cresswell, Anthony M, Pardo, Theresa A, Canestraro, Donna S & Dawes, Sharon S. 2005. Why Access Information Sharing Capability? : Center for Technology in Government. • Main Argument Government agencies typically undertake initiatives which are complex, difficult, and prone to failure. Therefore, a comprehensive and systematic assessment of both organizational and technical information sharing capabilities should be conducted. • Take-Aways 1. The success of information sharing depends on the combination of capabilities that each sharing partner contributes to the group Each group is unique depending on the capabilities of each member. No two groups are alike. Likewise, the pooling of strengths from each member enables the group to compensate for any deficiency or weakness. 2. The knowledge and experience required for effective assessment can be found in the people working on the effort. No single organization has everything it needs. Most of the time, a required capability is either sourced from outside the organization or by joining forces with another group which possess a particular capability. Rich, Sarah. 2011. Suspicious Activity Reporting Now Mobile – Kentucky. (Accessed June 8, 2011). • Main Argument Mobile applications can be utilized to help deter or prevent acts of terrorism from being committed. • Take-Aways 1. Through the use of mobile applications, citizens don’t need to find a computer to anonymously report suspicious activity to authorities. Citizens just need to enter and send the information through their mobile phones. Such an anti-terrorism strategy would be considered convenient and time-saving. 2. On the downside, mobile applications may be used to pull pranks which wastes the authorities’ time and resources. In addition, citizens might become paranoid and report every activity that they think would be suspicious or terrorism-related, when in fact, these might just turn out to be innocent or harmless. Goldsmith, Stephen. 2011. More Than Social Networking. E-Republic. (Accessed June 8, 2011). • Main Argument Government agencies can tap social networking tools to deliver social services to more people compared to traditional methods. • Take-Aways 1. The government can harness social networking as a powerful tool in a variety of ways such as improving service delivery, data gathering, determining public opinion, and engaging citizens to participate in meaningful discussions and share best practices. 2. However, the government should also be on its guard since information sent through social networking may be misinterpreted or twisted out of context by some parties. Intelligent Community Forum. 2011. Intelligent Community Forum Announces Top Seven Intelligent Communities of 2011. Intelligent Community Forum.,5000,11841 (Accessed June 8, 2011). • Main Argument Local governments and communities should harness the power of information and communications technology to facilitate social and economic development. • Take-Aways 1. Local governments could show their initiative and support for community ICT strategies by creating the necessary infrastructure necessary to make ICT programs work such as creating an online hub wherein members of the community can share ideas and information, provide suggestions, comments, and reactions to community issues. 2. Whereas majority of ICT initiative by local government-community partnerships focus on healthcare and business, other aspects of community life should also be explored in order to benefit from ICT. Wilkinson, Karen. 2010. States Turn to Technology to Dig Up Unpaid Taxes. (Accessed June 8, 2011). • Main Argument The government can harness technology to identify and go after uncollected, underreported, and unpaid taxes. • Take-Aways 1. There is no perfect taxation system, and cases of uncollected, underreported, and unpaid taxes does exist, which translate to millions, if not billions of dollars which could have been used in delivering social services. 2. Since the government has found a way to collect information regarding unpaid taxes, the next logical step would be to harness the information to develop an efficient tax collection strategy to prevent future losses. Heaton, Brian. 2011. The Do’s and Don’ts of Making a Paperless City Council. (Accessed June 8, 2011). • Main Argument The government should explore benefits of transition towards paperless delivery of social services and governance. • Take-Aways 1. The transition towards paperless governance is not done overnight. The application of the paperless concept goes through a long process and government officials should see beyond the usual initial opposition and pursue its full implementation. 2. Adopting a paperless policy doesn’t necessary entail a lot of financial backing, sometimes you just need to have an open mind and a receptive attitude to change to get the ball rolling. Mulholland, Jessica B. 2011. iPads in the Classroom. (Accessed June 8, 2011). • Main Argument The use of digital devices by students in the classroom setting improves students’ performance. • Take-Aways 1. Today’s children have a sort of affinity with digital devices such as computers, iPads, etc. The government, educators, and parents should capitalize on this affinity in order to facilitate education and learning. 2. Though digital devices are seen as both an educational tool and a source of distraction, advocates should intensify their efforts in educating the public of how the benefits are far more reaching and effective if it is used properly. Concept Synthesis The development of the Internet is the next biggest thing in technology after the vacuum tubes. Computers and the Internet revolutionized how tasks and functions are being carried out whether it be in the private sector or in public governance. The possibilities of connectivity is limitless, considering the very fast pace at which technology advances. It has, however, been observed that as design technology in network information structures advance, there had always been trade-offs in the form of practicability of certain design types and threats to civil liberties and democratic practices. It should, therefore, be incumbent upon IT innovators and individual users that there is always the fine prints which accompany the benefits of modern technology. Leveraging on the fine prints presents the greatest challenge to the IT expert and the chief information officer. Read More
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