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Computing in Polish local administration -- new technology, old experience

Computing in Polish local administration -- new technology, old experience The paper addresses the issue of information technology use in public administration of the country that only a decade ago started to build both its public administration and IT infrastructure. The process of creating institutions serving the people rather than politics was launched at first on the local level. Consequently, the local level is the most experienced one in implementing the principles of civil society and applying modern tools to public decision-making and management. The study focused on 15 local administrations in the capital cities of Polish regions. The study focused on hardware, software and orgware in these administrations. The author's objective was to present "a big picture" of the informatization process in local administration, with special attention paid to: a) the reasons of IT failures; b) the conditions of successful IT implementation; c) the convergence between the experience of IT applications in the EU countries' and US administrations and that of Polish administration. The research method was based on the technique of questionnaire interview and qualitative analysis. The questionnaire was addressed to information resources managers in local administration. Correlations between variables portraying the quality and quantity of IT and the current state of informatization process were elaborated. Six variables were treated as pivotal in the evaluation of IT management and use in local administration: 1) one computer per x employees; 2) percent of networked computers; 3) the number of MIS applications; 4) the degree of MIS integration; 5) the stage of GIS development; 6) the institutional arrangement of information resources' management. Three basic reasons behind the failures in IT implementation and information resources management were identified: 1) inability of local decision-makers and administrators to express the informational needs of the organisation; 2) lack of proper management of IT projects; 3) divergent group interests inside a given administration. Other causes of the observed facts were also explained. Convergence in conditions of successful IT implementation in different administrations was verified. The basic conditions of IT success observed in the cases under investigation were mentioned: 1) professional IT management carried by a separate information systems' unit; 2) creating a complex strategy of informatization and future IT management; 3) support of local decision-makers; 4) sufficient financial and human resources; 5) end-users involvement in creating and implementation of IT project. In conclusion, the author made an effort to find convergence in organisational and social outcomes of informatization process. The results of the URBIS project constituted the point of reference. The thesis that in the short run computing has relatively little effect on organisation structures and reinforces the existing organisational arrangements has been confirmed. Special attention has been paid to the conflict of interests over the control of IT inside public institutions. Last but not least, the author tried to answer the question if the ten years of Polish local administration's experience with IT use and management is at all comparable to the experience of other administrations during the same period. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Information Polity IOS Press

Computing in Polish local administration -- new technology, old experience

Information Polity , Volume 7 (1) – Jan 1, 2002

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Publisher
IOS Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2002 by IOS Press, Inc
ISSN
1570-1255
eISSN
1875-8754
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The paper addresses the issue of information technology use in public administration of the country that only a decade ago started to build both its public administration and IT infrastructure. The process of creating institutions serving the people rather than politics was launched at first on the local level. Consequently, the local level is the most experienced one in implementing the principles of civil society and applying modern tools to public decision-making and management. The study focused on 15 local administrations in the capital cities of Polish regions. The study focused on hardware, software and orgware in these administrations. The author's objective was to present "a big picture" of the informatization process in local administration, with special attention paid to: a) the reasons of IT failures; b) the conditions of successful IT implementation; c) the convergence between the experience of IT applications in the EU countries' and US administrations and that of Polish administration. The research method was based on the technique of questionnaire interview and qualitative analysis. The questionnaire was addressed to information resources managers in local administration. Correlations between variables portraying the quality and quantity of IT and the current state of informatization process were elaborated. Six variables were treated as pivotal in the evaluation of IT management and use in local administration: 1) one computer per x employees; 2) percent of networked computers; 3) the number of MIS applications; 4) the degree of MIS integration; 5) the stage of GIS development; 6) the institutional arrangement of information resources' management. Three basic reasons behind the failures in IT implementation and information resources management were identified: 1) inability of local decision-makers and administrators to express the informational needs of the organisation; 2) lack of proper management of IT projects; 3) divergent group interests inside a given administration. Other causes of the observed facts were also explained. Convergence in conditions of successful IT implementation in different administrations was verified. The basic conditions of IT success observed in the cases under investigation were mentioned: 1) professional IT management carried by a separate information systems' unit; 2) creating a complex strategy of informatization and future IT management; 3) support of local decision-makers; 4) sufficient financial and human resources; 5) end-users involvement in creating and implementation of IT project. In conclusion, the author made an effort to find convergence in organisational and social outcomes of informatization process. The results of the URBIS project constituted the point of reference. The thesis that in the short run computing has relatively little effect on organisation structures and reinforces the existing organisational arrangements has been confirmed. Special attention has been paid to the conflict of interests over the control of IT inside public institutions. Last but not least, the author tried to answer the question if the ten years of Polish local administration's experience with IT use and management is at all comparable to the experience of other administrations during the same period.

Journal

Information PolityIOS Press

Published: Jan 1, 2002

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