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Communication Tools to Fight Bureaucratic Corruption in Iraqi Kurdistan: A Case Study:

Communication Tools to Fight Bureaucratic Corruption in Iraqi Kurdistan: A Case Study: This study investigates the most important technological tools and techniques that have been introduced in some organizations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and compares those tools and techniques with that of the departments that still rely on a manual system. The research claims that technology, aside from its role in facilitating communication between employees and clients, is a potent force for fighting bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption and contributes to reassuring employees and clients. Theoretically, this research relies on an interdisciplinary approach which represents the connection between technology and human behavior, convenience, facilitation, and productivity within the administration communication systems. This research has adopted mixed-method approaches such as semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and surveys (n = 422) as data collection tools, and it also analyzes data collected by thematic analysis as the main method of ethnographic study. The research finds that the communication tools can significantly contribute to administrative services and fight corruption, although such techniques have not been applied in Iraqi Kurdistan. The majority of the respondents recommended expanding technology tools in all organizations as there are no significant obstacles to introducing them even among the organizations that do not have requisite technology skills. Keywords interdisciplinary, bureaucratic corruption, communication tools, Iraqi Kurdistan, satisfaction, client and employee Using technological tools can make a major contribution Introduction to administration and governing and fight bureaucratic cor- There are considerable connections between communica- ruption, although majority of publications have neglected tion tools and fighting bureaucratic corruption (Aneke, this contribution of technology as there is no clear vision of 2012; Bussell, 2010, 2012; Remenyi, 2002). The use of how to fight bureaucratic corruption using this means. The advanced technology has been a feature of life in many present study identifies the contribution of technology and developed countries for decades, and is essential for provid- brings it into focus, and it allows its implementation in other ing fast and effective services. In this research, several kinds developing countries that are similar to Iraqi Kurdistan, par- of communication technologies have been found to effec- ticularly, in terms of social and organizational culture; tively contribute toward administration communication. accordingly, this study will conduce to eradicating bureau- This includes online applications, email services, wide- cratic corruption in developing and not well-developed spread computerized database, application of the electronic countries including Iraqi Kurdistan and developing coun- system, closed-circuit television (CCTV), traffic enforce- tries. The political economy of Kurdistan has been monopo- ment cameras, queuing machines, devices to record and lized by the two political parties, namely the Patriotic Union arrange interviews between employees and clients, mobile of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party and money transaction systems, online shopping, digital (KDP). Such a system leads to corruption, bureaucracy, assets, and so on. In general, technological tools can develop administration systems, meaning they boost human produc- tivity, energy, resources, and finances. This argument is University of Human Development, Sulaimaniyah, Iraq strongly supported by the interdisciplinary approach Corresponding Author: (Brézillon & Gonzalez, 2014). Alongside this, such tools Ahmed Omar Bali, University of Human Development, Kurdistan, can pave the way for terminating bureaucratic corruption in Sulaimaniyah, 964, Iraq. developing countries. Email: ahmed.bali@uhd.edu.iq Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open overemployment, and general lack of social justice (Bali, faster and more efficient. Therefore, it reduces waiting time 2016a). For the theoretical consideration and for developing significantly that consequently make customers have a posi- the conceptual framework, this study reviews researches that tive perception about government performance (Saeed, have studied experiences of utilizing technology. 2013). In a similar context, Liebowitz and Mehdi (1997) contend that the technology tool ticket vending machine employed by the local transportation companies make a huge Literature Review profit to these companies and also engender a positive feel- Corruption is viewed as a global issue and connected more to ing in customers toward the companies’ performance. They developing countries. These countries suffer from some conclude in their research that such technology tool contrib- aspects and serious issues which have been used to discuss utes to a decrease in queues and waiting time for services, corruption such as “institutional quality,” “quality of govern- and using technological tools prevents arguments, interac- ment,” and “state capacity” (Smith, 2007). Rothstein and tion, and conversation between employees and clients. Varraich (2014) present an umbrella concept of corruption Moreover, they indicate in their research that using technol- through analyzing some related concepts such as “clien- ogy secures a positive image and reputation for enterprises. telism, patronage, patrimonialism, particularism and state Technology thus helps to provide rapid service delivery and capture onto one spatial field” (p. 1). The present study less corruption as the clients tend not to rely on mediation focuses on bureaucratic corruption which is defined by many and nepotism to receive the service or to purchase travel tick- scholars as a social cataclysm causing countries to stagnate. ets in unauthorized way. Similarly, in the banking sector, For example, Hope Sr (2016) describes bureaucratic corrup- Khosrow-Pour (2006) suggests that introducing technology tion as being “an evil, shameful, and despicable phenomenon into the banking database and system achieves positive which impairs administrative capability and impedes social results because it provides a fair and equitable treatment to stability and economic development” (p. 6). Zaloznaya customers during the registration process and access to ser- (2017) refers to bureaucratic corruption mainly from the vices. As the customers do not need to interact and directly nature of the political system; he argues that these “regimes communicate with the employees, less mismanagement combine diverse political institutions that range from liberal- arises. Despite the fact that ticket machines were introduced democratic to authoritarian and totalitarian” (p. 27). as early as the 1990s in transportation sectors and some other Conversely, Obidairo (2016) argues that bureaucratic corrup- sectors in some countries, service provision in most organi- tion is more deeply rooted in societies’ structures and author- zations in Iraqi Kurdistan is still based on manual and tradi- ities that particularly strive to attain or maintain power. From tional processes. Another technological contribution in the above explanations, it can be concluded that bureaucratic fighting corruption is the transparency, which can be ensured corruption is an illegal practice of abusing authority to through the widespread application of databases and technol- acquire illicit personal benefits and fraudulent advantages ogy in departments and organizations. In this regard, Waring whether directly or indirectly, and this problem is strongly and Morgan (2007) prove that the introduction of technology related to fundamental ethical principles, personal values, in companies allows shareholders, businessmen, and shop culture, and weakness of political system, and administration owners, among others, to monitor the transaction of money with transparency and accountability. and deals because technology provides a database of any Recently, developing countries have started realizing the developments in the circulation of sales. In a similar context, benefits of using technology to reduce bureaucratic corrup- Campos and Pradhan (2007) explain that such tools allow tion. In this respect, Bussell (2012) explains that Indian local many possibilities for owners of companies and small shops governments have introduced technological tools into their to monitor fraud, corruption, and mistreatment of customers administrative and communication systems to provide public due to the contribution of e-mail services, telephones, and services that reduce corruption. Similarly, Information security and surveillance cameras to record cases of griev- Resources Management Association suggests that utilizing ance and monitor interaction between employees and cus- technological tools reduces the burden on citizens, particularly tomers. Likewise, the Organisation for Economic in developing countries. This association believes that the Co-Operation and Development (2005) reports about fight- higher cost required for transaction costs can be considered as ing corruption and promoting integrity in public procure- administrative bureaucracy, and is viewed as a form of corrup- ment—online shopping improves more efficiency for tion (Management Association, Information and Resources, consumers to have access to shopping and directly buy goods 2015). Aneke (2012) concludes in his research conducted on or services from a seller over the Internet, supports transpar- the role of communication technology in Africa that financial ency and promoting integrity in public tenders, and reduces aid does not dramatically aid the continent’s development, corruption. This organization suggests that all governments unless it involves the technology means in the local depart- worldwide should abide by and adhere to the introduction of ments to reduce corruption and bureaucracy. technology to promote integrity and fight corruption that Technology has been considered a major factor in helping steadily leads to good governance. Regarding the perception shape good governance, and it makes provision of services toward a government, technology contributes to portraying a Bali 3 positive image of a government and establishing a good rep- technological tools in an administrative field in the Kurdistan utation for building a robust relation between both sides: a Regional Government (KRG). This research determines the government and the public based on mutual trust. Bhatnagar serious obstacles to using technology and recommends how (2004) argues that the application of the electronic system to introduce and expand technological tools in Iraqi Kurdistan helps to project positive images of governments, especially as a case and in developing countries in the future. The in regard to payment, taxes, and fees. research findings are discovered through adopting a mixed- The electronic system provides a computerized database method approach such as conducting semi-structured inter- with rich details about clients in relation to the payment of views, participant observation, and surveys (n = 422; as data taxes and fees, and provides the opportunity for stakeholders collection tools), and analyzing data collection by thematic and non-stakeholders alike to see and examine the circula- analysis as the main tool/method of ethnographic study. tion and movement of tax payments, particularly in demo- cratic systems that demand transparency and integrity. In this Research Questions and Hypothesis aspect, Bhatnagar (2004) finds that the change in paying taxes from traditional/manual systems to the electronic ones On the basis of the literature review and aims of research, in one of the India’s states leads to an increase in tax revenue three questions and three hypotheses are presented as from US$12 million to US$50 million in 6 months. Remenyi follows. (2002) asserts that such a system reduces a large backlog even in developed countries like the United Kingdom. In his Research Questions research, he clearly illustrates that electronic systems are extremely effective as saving-time tools, particularly in orga- Research Question 1: What types of technology have nizing employees, irrespective of where they are applied— been introduced by government departments and private developed or developing countries: in the United Kingdom, companies and how do they contribute to fighting bureau- India (Sabharwal & Berman, 2013), Pakistan, Bangladesh, cratic corruption and to what degree? and even in the African context (Aneke, 2012). In providing such services, there are a range of tools available including As there is insufficient data about the use of such tools, par- closed-circuit television (CCTV), queuing machine, devices ticularly in administrative communication, answering this to record and arrange interviews between employees and cli- question will help discover the extent of adaptation and also ents, emails, mobile devices and money transfer systems, provides an indicator to design and expand using technology electronic shopping, and so on. in other departments that still rely on the traditional and man- In Iraqi Kurdistan, the communication tools that are used ual approaches. This will be of immense benefit, because it is in communication processes between employees and clients assumed that the benefits of adopting technology in this field are generally quite limited; only queuing machines and will significantly outweigh the disadvantages. Moreover, it CCTV have been recently introduced in a few government has been emphasized in the literature that such technology departments and some private sector institutions. A major has made a huge contribution toward processing people’s problem with introducing new technology in administrative administrative/clerical work quickly, reducing nepotism, and communication is that a significant number of people in protecting not just the image but also the environment of the Iraqi Kurdistan is illiterate (Bali & Abdullah, 2017), and departments, particularly in the Kurdistan context. thus cannot use such technology easily and would encounter a number of obstacles, especially in the beginning of the Research Question 2: How does technology contribute process of technologizing governing systems. Moreover, the to fight bureaucratic corruption and to the overall level of majority of people are not familiar with the communication satisfaction of employees and clients? technology that is used in the administrative communication process. This research documents the perceptions of employ- This question is based on the general assumption that apply- ees and clients regarding the benefits of technology in the ing such technological tools will ensure fairness among cli- administrative communication process. This breaks new ents during the process of their applications, not to mention a ground in how to initiate and develop utilizing technology in strong possibility of higher level of satisfaction among cli- administrative systems, whether in Kurdistan, Iraq, in gen- ents as well as employees because of avoiding the traditional eral, or other similar countries in terms of social and admin- approach, nepotism, and subjective judgments. Answering istrative contexts. In doing so, it is assumed that the this research question is crucial in understanding why people employees and clients will not be comfortable with new are not content with the way governmental administrations technology from the outset, but will gradually entail adapt- operate, especially with regard to having their administrative ing the process. work done in the government organizations. To answer this The concept of using technology in administrative com- question, clients’ and employees’ perceptions, on using tech- munication is new in Iraqi Kurdistan, and there is no publica- nology to achieve satisfaction and efficiency of services, are tion currently that focused on the possibility of using the analyzed. 4 SAGE Open Research Question 3: What are the obstacles of using research, semi-structured interviews are primarily adopted technology in administrative communication? to collect data from employees. This method is highly suit- able for this type of research because it does not require This research question will help in understanding the major long interviews when employees do not have much time problems with technology implementation and offer recom- (Newing, 2010; Wilson, 2013). Four government organiza- mendations for designing and expanding technology in the tions were selected in Sulaymaniyah—one of the major future. cities in Iraqi Kurdistan. These departments include three hospitals, the Passport Directorate of Sulaymaniyah, and the Trade Bank of Iraq private company; the two latter Hypotheses organizations rely on queuing machines to organize their Along with the research questions presented, this study tests clients. Simultaneously, two major supermarkets were also three hypotheses on the basis of the collected data in the sur- selected as companies which rely on databases and CCTV. vey applying to employees and clients. These hypotheses A total of 30 respondents were interviewed during August shed light on the study’s underlying arguments. to November 2016. Hypothesis 1: Clients and employees in government and Survey private sectors with different professions have varying perceptions about the tools used in administrative The survey method adopted in this study was carried out in communication. March 2017 among people aged 18 and above. Of the 500 Hypothesis 2: Clients with varying levels of educational questionnaire sheets distributed, a total number of 422 par- backgrounds have different perceptions about the tools ticipants fully completed the questionnaire. The sample was used in administrative communication. a probability sample, which means all members of the popu- Hypothesis 3: Clients of different ages have different lation had the same chance of inclusion (Becker, Bryman, & perceptions about the tools used in administrative Ferguson, 2012; Lampard & Pole, 2015). Consequently, the communication. result from the respondents represented the population as the whole (Bryman & Bell, 2015). The questionnaire consisted of two sections. The first one included demographic back- Method grounds of education, age, and profession. The education This study is based on inductive logic and aims to understand variable was divided into educated and not educated/illiter- the degree of technology use in administrative communica- ate, which clarifies how they deal with technology. The age tion to provide recommendations for promoting using such category was divided into three variables: youth (18-30), technology in Iraqi Kurdistan and other similar societies. In middle age (30-50), and people aged 51 and above. The pro- this research process, mixed-methods approach is adopted. fession variable had three categories: public sector, private Hesse-Biber (2010) found that such approach enables the sector, and unemployed. The second section consisted of “qualitative researcher to create quantitative measures from seven questions based on three responses (agree, neutral, their qualitative data” (p. 1). Moreover, as Denscombe and disagree). Six questions were designed to test the (2010) notes, mixed-methods enable the researcher to hypotheses and analyze the perception of respondents regard- develop the research tools and design a variety of research ing the use of technology in administrative communication. questions. Surveys, semi-structured interviews, and partici- pant observation are among the existing tools of mixed- Methodology for Measuring Hypothesis methods employed. An independent-sample t test has been used to test the first hypothesis and the one-way ANOVA model to test the sec- Semi-Structured Interviews and ond and third hypotheses. The one-way ANOVA is the most Participant Observation commonly used model to test variables consisting of three to These two methods are used for data collection and both four categories, such as education, age, and political back- are appropriate to social science studies (Gold & Nawyn, ground (Weinberg & Abramowitz, 2008). To test the three 2013). Sappleton (2013) suggests that semi-structured hypotheses, six variables that represent the use of techno- interviews and participant observation provide an opportu- logical tools in fighting administrative corruption were used nity for the researcher to deepen the study of new phenom- (see Table 2). The first hypothesis represents where people ena in a way that can determine the causal factors of the are employed: employees in government organizations, phenomenon. It also allows the researcher to more com- employees in private companies/self-employed, and people prehensively explore the possibility of utilizing techno- who wanted to have their administrative/clerical work done logical tools and expand their use to develop the whether in government organizations or in companies. The administrative communication process. In conducting this second hypothesis represents “educated” and “uneducated” Bali 5 people. Many people in Iraqi Kurdistan did not receive edu- automatically input them onto the database. One traffic cation, especially senior citizens, and therefore, it may be police official claimed, “This machine reduces the possibil- predicted that they face more difficulties compared with ity of embezzlement by traffic police” (personal communica- “educated” people with regard to using technology. The third tion, August 20, 2016). In regard to the remarkable hypothesis focuses on age: youth (18-30), middle age (31- contribution of CCTV, one of the interviewees working in 50), and people aged 51 and above. the Technical Department in the University of Human Development stated that “CCTV totally solved several prob- lems facing the university, namely damaging the university’s Results equipment by students” (personal communication, October 20, 2016). Despite the fact that CCTV is now considered Utilizing Technological Tools in Administrative essential for security purposes, it is still not used by the Communication and Their Contribution in majority of organizations, whether in the public or private Fighting Bureaucratic Corruption sectors. In short, the findings indicate that there is a strong This section discusses the first research question. The tech- connection between introducing technology and fighting nological tools employed in public sectors are limited in bureaucratic corruption; the use of technology is neverthe- developing countries. Only a small number of organizations less limited and still not widely adopted across the depart- in Iraqi Kurdistan are using these technologies, and not nec- ments; and a significant challenge lies in processing citizens’ essarily in all their departments. There are three primary rea- administrative/clerical work electronically. sons for this fact: First, in most departments, some administrations or employees voluntarily use technology on a personal level rather than being systemized or instructed by Technology as a Factor of Satisfaction their organizations. Second, there is not a sufficient number and Efficiency of Services of employees with the expertise to effectively manage web- sites and computerized databases for processing people’s This section examines the second research question with administrative/clerical work. Third, the government has not regard to how technology contributes to fight bureaucratic provided Internet service to all departments, not to mention corruption and to the overall level of satisfaction of employ- the Internet’s very poor quality. Some organizations admit ees and clients. Table 1 indicates that 91.7% of respondents using Facebook to contact their clients. This allows private agreed that using technology for processing their administra- and other serious information to be placed on a platform that tive/clerical work would make them contended, 3.8% were can be easily accessed and exploited. In this regard, one neutral, and 4.5% disagreed (see Table 1). Alongside this, the employee in the Passport Directorate of Sulaymaniyah interviews’ outcomes and observations demonstrate that the claimed, “We publish information and announcements on majority of employees would like to introduce technology our website and Facebook but most people still do not know into administrative communication for three reasons. First, about our website, and the public does not believe what we technology increases greater transparency. In this regard, publish” (personal communication, August 20, 2016). A visi- one of the interviewees working in the police traffic depart- tor who was there to renew his passport was asked about this ment stated, “the Passport Directorate introduced queuing claim; he responded, “I didn’t know that they publish such machines to organise clients, which ensures greater honesty announcements on the Internet and I don’t think people know and transparency” (personal communication, August 20, that” (personal communication, August 20, 2016). This sug- 2016). Similarly, a mall owner noted that “technology such gests that technology has not yet become a private means of as databases and CCTV allow the shop owners to observe the communication between the government and the public, behavior of their workers while at work” (personal commu- together with the fact that many still are not aware of the nication, November 5, 2016). Second, technology helps to availability of such a service. ensure justice among clients receiving services. This point Developed countries would not need to resort to social was observed in the Passport Directorate, as one of the inter- media to communicate with citizens, as they tend to process viewees who was there to get passports for their children most citizens’ administrative work online or through the claimed, “the queuing machines assure clients receive a fair post. In Iraqi Kurdistan, every individual must visit govern- service” (personal communication, August 20, 2016). It was ment organizations at least twice to have their administra- observed that even with more than 100 clients in the recep- tive/clerical work done. Few departments have database to tion hall, the crowd was peaceful and orderly. By contrast, electronically save documents; they use computers only to most other government departments that do not use queuing write and print out letters and references. Queuing machines machines cannot manage even 10 clients without noises, and CCTV are employed in few departments such as Passport uproar, or disturbance, and many clients receive an unfair or Directorate of Sulaymaniyah and Northern Bank of Iraq. The preferential service. As the findings of the survey indicate, Traffic Police Department has introduced traffic enforce- most respondents, 95.3%, agree that technology ensures jus- ment cameras to detect traffic regulation violations and tice, only 2.5% disagree (see Table 1). The reason behind the 6 SAGE Open Table 1. Respondents’ Attitudes Toward Using Technology to Fight Bureaucratic Corruption. Agree Neutral Disagree I find the use of technology convenient for processing citizens’ administrative work 91.7 3.8 4.5 Technology ensures justice among applicants 95.3 1.9 2.5 The use of technology for processing citizen’s administrative work is more productive 92.9 2.6 4.5 Technology should be generalized and practiced in all government organizations and companies 95.3 1.4 3.3 Technology reduces nepotism and mediation 88.6 3.1 8.3 CCTV reduces nepotism and mediation 92.9 4.3 2.8 CCTV prevents abuse, conflicts, and misconduct between employees and clients 91.2 0.5 8.3 Note. CCTV = closed-circuit television. 2.5% may be that there are very few people who prefer to get on their expertise or on what they could deliver. This created service in the organizations as quickly as possible, particu- a net of corruption—headed by high-ranking officials (Bali, larly at the expense of others. Table 1 shows that 8.1% of the 2016b). For example, chief executives, who were appointed respondents disagreed about the perception that technology by one of the ruling parties, used their authority to employ can reduce mediation and nepotism. This indicator is not a friends and relatives which has led to rampant favoritism, significant number, but proves that there are still obstacles nepotism, political patronage, and corruption. These chief for successfully implementing technology. In this respect, executives surround themselves with employees who sup- one of the employees claimed, “the queuing machines have port them in case of corruption accusations against them helped us to organise clients; however, some clients prefer despite the fact that many of them are never even subjected being unfairly privileged, even if this act makes them being to investigations. This claim is proved correct by the fact that served quicker by only few minutes” (personal communica- in Iraqi Kurdistan, there are many cases that are still not tion, August, 20, 2016). The third reason why respondents prosecuted for favoritism, nepotism, or patronage. In this prefer technology is productivity. The majority of the regard, a disgruntled client in a government department employees stated that technology generally assists adminis- stated that he was rejected to be served properly and was tration to service clients more efficiently. As Table 1 shows, confronted by an employee saying “We don’t care whom you most of the respondents, 92.9%, agreed that technology is complaint to!” (personal communication, September 15, more productive, with only 1.4% neutral, and 3.3% disagree- 2016). These employees are never given verbal/written ing. Regarding the role of CCTV, most respondents had a warning by their managers, and they blind themselves to positive view on it, although there is an argument against their manager’s corruption acts in return. using CCTV of not being in line with confidentiality and per- The second factor of bureaucratic corruption relates to sonal privacy (Dwyer, 2012; Friedewald & Pohoryles, 2016; cultural perspectives. Some citizens believe that they have Kuschewsky, 2012). Table 1 indicates that 92.9% of the to be granted the privilege of having their administrative/ respondents believed that CCTV reduces nepotism and clerical work done before others or being provided with bet- mediation, 4.3% were neutral, and 2.8% disagreed. To sum ter services by their relatives in government organizations at up, the respondents had a positive view about technology the expense of others. In the context of Kurdish culture in being operated in administrative communication. For exam- which Kurds highly appreciate and place a great emphasis ple, 95.3% of respondents agreed that technology should be on collectivism (Sofi-Karim, 2015), employees are under generalized and practiced in all government organizations pressure to treat their relative differently with more consid- and companies, while only 1.4% were neutral, and 3.3% eration and respect than others, otherwise it may negatively disagreed. affect their social lives. However, some employees do so to The KRG is heavily involved in widespread bureaucratic gain considerable prestige, to win their favor, or in hopes corruption. This study reveals that three major factors are that a favor will be returned in the future. This research dis- associated with this issue. The first factor is the lack of covered that the organization that used technology left accountability. The KRG has a reputation for being biased, almost no chance to these kinds of people because the employing people on the basis of their political beliefs and employees did not have much interaction person-to-person affiliations. The two political parties, the KDP and the PUK, with their clients. So technology can play a significant role have been ruling the KRG since 1991, completely dominat- in employee satisfaction, reducing bureaucratic corruption, ing the important government sectors (Bali & Abdullah, and fading negative cultural perspectives when new rules 2017). These two parties in power interfere negatively in come into force. government policies and do not leave any decision to the And last but not least, the third factor of bureaucratic cor- government organizations. They recruited more staff based ruption relates to personal values. Despite the fact that on how close they were affiliated to their parties rather than according to Kurdish people’s values, it is looked down upon Bali 7 and considered dishonorable to offer or accept bribes, some perceive the role of technologies in ensuring satisfaction, people resort to favoritism because they are uncertain about justice, productivity, reducing nepotism, and reducing mis- having their administrative/clerical work done normally. conduct, along with extending and generalizing technology. This has created a misconception that, surprisingly, bureau- Table 2 provides evidence that the majority of the elements cratic corruption is considered somewhat acceptable by the presented as criteria of this hypothesis are true and the pro- government employees’ values because they do not do it for fession differences were statistically significant at the p = payment. However, seldom does bribery occur in the KRG’s .047 level, justice at the p = .001 level, productive at the p = organizations unlike the Iraqi’s organizations where bribery .375 level, reducing nepotism at the p = .021 level, reducing is moderately common. misconduct at p = .001 level, and extending and generaliz- ing technology at the p = .022 level (see Table 2). This indi- cates that the respondents statistically did not have different Obstacles to Expanding the Use of perceptions about the role of technology to increase produc- Technology tivity, which is at the p = .375 level (see Table 2). This means This section examines the third research question, which that the respondents whether clients or employees in public focuses on expanding technology in administrative commu- or private sectors believe that services will be more produc- nication. During the data collection, it was observed that the tive through technology, where the mean of clients is 1.12, obstacles are related to three factors. First, there are a signifi- employees in public sectors are at M = 1.10, and employees cant number of people, especially the older generation, who in private sectors are at M = 1.00 level (see Table 2). are illiterate and cannot fill out applications online. However, However, people generally do not have experience about the this issue can be resolved by assigning some employees to role of technology particularly in relation to increasing ser- help this demographic, along with gaining the assistance by vices. Table 2 demonstrates a small difference between their families. In Iraqi Kurdistan, most routine administrative respondents’ perceptions about the productivity of utilizing applications are filled out manually. A process of online technology across the organizations. This proves people’s application reduces the cost, yet this system still has not been positive perception about technology and increasing service implemented; on top of that, people also cannot deal with productivity. their paperwork throughout a postal service because there is no postal system in Iraqi Kurdistan. The second factor is the People’s Perceptions on Technology, to lack of Internet service—the Internet is unavailable in the Fight Corruption, on the Basis of Their majority of the government departments, and its quality is very poor and inconvenient. The third factor is the lack of Educational Backgrounds professional employees who can successfully manage tech- This section tests the second hypothesis, which looks at the nology and deal with people’s administrative/clerical work. educational backgrounds of the respondents and their per- However, there are many graduates, with qualifications in ceptions about the role of technology in fighting bureau- administration and information technology, who will not be cratic corruption. Table 2 indicates that this hypothesis is employed because the KRG has halted employment since true because it does not show significant differences in the 2010, whereas the two political parties in power, the KDP perceptions of the respondents on the role of technology in and the PUK, committed to mass employments during 2003- reducing nepotism at p = .923, and the claim of expanding 2010, employing thousands of people to buy votes and stay and generalizing technology at p = .701. There are statisti- in power (Bali, 2016b; Bali, Karim, & Rached, 2018), yet cal differences between educational background and other most of the people appointed were not qualified. This prob- elements: obtaining satisfaction significant at p = .000, jus- lematic policy led to this current fragile government. In spite tice at p = .000, and productivity and reducing misconducts of the obstacles that are presented, most respondents have a at p = .000 (see Table 3). There is also a general assump- positive perspective, 91.7%, about applying technology in tion arguing that people who are educated are more com- administrative communication, and this suggests that tech- fortable with technology than those who are not. nology can be expanded, as 95.3% of the respondents agreed Nevertheless, this does not mean that people who are not upon expanding and standardizing technology in other educated cannot adapt to new technology. Moreover, the departments. This indication is an important one to be taken data collected in the interviews and the observation process into account by the KRG. provide evidence that those who are not educated were pleased about utilizing technology by the organizations. Results of Hypotheses More importantly, the respondents, regardless of their edu- cational background, claimed that technology should be Profession Differences and Perceptions About expanded and generalized, and there is no statistical differ- Technology ence at p = .701 as the mean of the category who are edu- This section examines the first hypothesis, which predicted cated is 1.0 and not educated is 1.1 (see Table 2); this that people’s professions do not have influence on how they indicator, which should be highly considered by the KRG, 8 SAGE Open Table 2. One-Way ANOVA Model Reports People’s Perceptions on Technology, to Fight Corruption, on the Basis of Their Workplace. Elements M SD F p Technology creates satisfaction 0.80 .047 Unemployed (clients) 1.13 .45 Employed in government departments 1.07 .31 Employed in private sectors 1.20 .57 Technology creates justice 7.39 .001 Unemployed (clients) 1.07 .34 Employed in government organizations 1.00 .00 Employed in private sectors 1.32 .69 Technology means productivity 0.98 .375 Unemployed (clients) 1.12 .45 Employed in government departments 1.10 .40 Employed in private sectors 1.00 .00 Technology should be generalized and expanded 3.86 .022 Unemployed (clients) 1.07 .35 Employed in government organizations 1.05 .29 Employed in private sectors 1.28 .67 Technology reduces nepotism 3.87 .021 Unemployed (clients) 1.16 .52 Employed in government organizations 1.29 .68 Employed in private sectors 1.44 .82 CCTV prevents abuse, conflicts, and misconducts 6.77 .001 Unemployed (clients) 1.17 .56 Employed in government organizations 1.00 .00 Employed in private sectors 1.48 .87 Note. Values Sig refers to one-way ANOVA model and it is significant at p ⩽ .05. CCTV = closed-circuit television. Table 3. The t Test Model Reports People’s Perceptions on Technology, to Fight Corruption, on the Basis of Their Educational Backgrounds. Variables M SD t test p Technology creates satisfaction −8.972 .000 Educated 1.07 .34 Uneducated 1.69 .83 Technology means justice 4.376 .000 Educated 1.08 .37 Uneducated 1.00 .00 Technology means productivity 1.736 .000 Educated 1.12 .45 Uneducated 1.00 .00 Technology should be generalized and expanded −0.384 .701 Educated 1.07 .36 Uneducated 1.10 .44 Technology reduces nepotism −0.097 .895 Educated 1.19 .57 Uneducated 1.20 .57 CCTV prevents abuse, conflicts, and misconducts 2.022 .000 Educated 1.18 .57 Uneducated 1.00 .00 Note. Values Sig refers to t test model, and it is significant at p ⩽ .05. CCTV = closed-circuit television. Bali 9 Table 4. One-Way ANOVA Model Reports People’s Perceptions, on Technological Tools in Fighting Bureaucratic Corruption, on the Basis of Their Age Differences. Variables M SD F P Technology creates satisfaction 10.06 .000 Youth 1.20 .55 Middle age 1.00 .07 Seniors 1.20 .58 Technology creates justice 0.71 .490 Youth 1.06 .34 Middle age 1.09 .40 Seniors 1.02 .16 Technology ensures productivity 1.29 .275 Youth 1.13 .48 Middle age 1.07 .34 Seniors 1.17 .51 Technology should be generalized and expanded 4.55 .011 Youth 1.04 .27 Middle age 1.14 .50 Seniors 1.00 .000 Technology reduces nepotism 4.80 .009 Youth 1.15 .50 Middle age 1.29 .68 Seniors 1.02 .16 CCTV prevents abuse, conflicts, and misconducts 1.57 .208 Youth 1.15 .52 Middle age 1.22 .63 Seniors 1.05 .33 Note. Values Sig refers to one-way ANOVA model and it is significant at p ⩽ .05. CCTV = closed-circuit television. proves that technology will be widely accepted as the technology in providing justice, 95.3%; productivity, 92.9%; respondents generally prefer it and claim that technology and preventing abuse between employees and clients, 91.2%. should be expanded and generalized with 95.3% agreed, 1.4% neutral, and only 3.3% disagreed (see Table 1). Conclusion The findings of this study provide a new insight into the role of technology in reducing bureaucratic corruption, particu- People’s Perceptions on Technology on the Basis larly in developing countries or in countries that are not well- of Their Age Differences developed such as Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq in general, and The third hypothesis predicted that the perception of the developing countries. Technologies used in administrative respondents about the role of technology would differ communication allow developed countries to improve the according to ages. Table 2 indicates that this hypothesis is quality of service, especially in terms of providing services true by a small margin. There were significant differences in quickly at the lowest possible cost. Alongside this remark- the respondents about the role of technology in creating sat- able contribution, technology is a powerful tool in reducing isfaction, reducing nepotism at p = .000, and expanding and corruption by providing standardized and objective services generalizing technology at p = .009 (see Table 4). By con- to all clients. The results found that the majority of employ- trast, the age variable had no significant role in the respon- ees are under immense psychological pressure to favor cer- dents’ perceptions on technology in particular relation to the tain individuals, particularly relatives. Furthermore, nepotism other elements of the third hypotheses such as ensuring jus- and favoritism in Kurdistan have not socially entrenched and tice at p = .490, productivity at p = .275, and safeguarding institutionalized yet. Both clients and employees claimed against abuse between employees and clients at p = .208. that they desire an equal chance of providing and receiving This refers to the fact that the respondents, aside from their services. The problematic element here is that the use of ages, believe that technological tools make a significant con- technology is limited and the government has not introduced tribution to ensuring justice, where Table 1 reports that the technology in all organizations, regardless of its benefits. respondents have positive perceptions about the role of Introducing and generalizing technology in the whole 10 SAGE Open departments requires a decent Internet service and quality and knowledge about technology. Nevertheless, the respon- employees with technical expertise to offer a wide range of dents do not statistically differ in their perceptions of the role services. These highlighted issues have become most notice- of technology in increasing productivity at p = .375 (see able in the organizations of Iraqi Kurdistan, which have Table 2). Regarding the age variable associated with people’s caused poor administration, bureaucratic corruption, and perceptions on technology, the results suggest no significant substandard services. Therefore, this study recommends that differences in half of the elements presented to test technol- Iraqi Kurdistan and developing countries effectively employ ogy. This represents a positive indicator because it is always technology to enhance the governments’ reputations in terms predicted that the new generation are more comfortable with of management information systems, quality services, and new technologies. Conversely, this study identified that the eradication of bureaucratic corruption. To put the policy respondents did not differ in their perceptions about using into action, the KRG must establish technological tools, technology, particularly in elements such as ensuring justice improve the Internet service, and employ graduates with at p = .490, productivity at p = .275, and the role of CCTV high skills in information technology, as a subset of informa- in reducing abuse and conflicts between employees and cli- tion and communications technology, to fill the skills gap of ents at p = .208 (see Table 4). older generation employees that hinder the development of administration systems. The current employees in the gov- Declaration of Conflicting Interests ernment organizations should be engaged with activities to The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect adapt to the new technologies that will be introduced in the to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. administration systems because applying a new system requires robust electronic system as well as skillful human Funding resources. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support Establishing electronic systems by the KRG is a necessity for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This and will be a crucial turning point in a campaign against research was funded by the Kurdistan National Research Council - bureaucratic corruption. Throughout these systems, the gov- Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research - Kurdistan ernment can operate more successfully, and consequently, Regional Government. the public can do their administrative work electronically which causes the efficiency of the public services, productiv- Referencing ity, and justice. Another major contribution of an online sys- Aneke, A. (2010). Technology and corruption: The missing and tem for processing people’s application forms is that the morbid links of development in Africa. Bloomington, IN: employees and clients do not need to interact one-on-one and AuthorHouse. thus prevent mismanagement, favoritism, and biasing. Bali, A. O. (2016a). Political communication and the media in Despite the important financial, administrative, and cultural Kurdistan (Doctoral thesis). Sheffield Hallam University, UK. Bali, A. O. (2016b). The political development of Iraqi Kurdistan. advantages of technology, using technology requires some International Journal of Political Science and Development, average skills; this can be a problem, especially for clients in 4, 208-215. Iraqi Kurdistan, who have a high level of illiteracy. This Bali, A. O., & Abdullah, K. H. (2017). The consequence of an economic study recommends that the government should assign some boom on the perception of democracy, government performance employees to work with this category until they adapt to the and public service: Iraqi Kurdistan as a case study. International changes. This issue has been taken into consideration as we Journal of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, 11, 221-234. assumed the educational level would have a role in determin- Bali, A. O., Karim, M. S., & Rached, K. (2018). Public diplomacy ing the perceptions of the respondents toward technology. By effort across Facebook: A comparative analysis of the U.S. con- contrast, the findings suggested that the respondents’ percep- sulate in Erbil and the Kurdistan representation in Washington. tions about the role of technology to reduce nepotism (at p = SAGE Open, 8(1), 1-9. doi:10.1177/2158244018758835 .895) were not influenced by educational backgrounds, the Becker, S., Bryman, A., & Ferguson, H. (2012). Understanding research for social policy and social work: Themes, methods same for expanding and generalizing technologies in the and approaches. Bristol, UK: Policy Press. whole department at p = .701 (see Table 3). These findings Bhatnagar, S. (2004). E-government: From vision to implementa- show that applying technology will not be a considerable tion: A practical guide with case studies (Vol. 21, No. 1). New problem for those who are not educated due to their positive Delhi, Thousand Oaks, London: Sage Publication. perceptions about the contribution of technology, particu- Brézillon, P., & Gonzalez, A. J. (Eds.). (2014). Context in com- larly in eliminating nepotism, which heavily represents puting: A cross-disciplinary approach for modeling the real bureaucratic corruption. Regarding people’s perceptions world. New York, NY: Springer. according to their workplace, the results suggest that there Bryman, A., & Bell, E. (2015). Business research methods. Oxford: are differences in the majority of elements presented to test Oxford University Press. technologies. This is because the workplace variable com- Bussell, J. L. (2010). Why get technical? Corruption and the poli- prised those working in the government departments, the pri- tics of public service reform in the Indian states. Comparative Political Studies, 43, 1230-1257. vate sector, and ordinary people with different experience Bali 11 Bussell, J. L. (2012). Corruption and reform in India: Public services Remenyi, D. (2002). Proceedings of the Second European in the digital age. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. Conference on eGovernment. London: Routledge. Campos, J. E., & Pradhan, S. (Eds.). (2007). The many faces of Rothstein, B., & Varraich, A. (2014). Corruption and the opposite to corruption: Tracking vulnerabilities at the sector level. corruption: A map of the conceptual landscape. ANTICORRP Washington, DC: The World Bank. (Social, Legal, Anthropological and Political Approaches to Denscombe, M. (2010). The good research guide: For small-scale Theory of Corruption). Sweden: University of Gothenburg. social research projects. Berkshire, UK: McGraw-Hill Education. Sabharwal, M., & Berman, E. M. (2013). Public administration in Dwyer, T. (2012). Legal and ethical issues in the media. London: South Asia: India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. Boca Raton, FL: Palgrave Macmillan. CRC Press. Friedewald, M., & Pohoryles, R. J. (Eds.). (2016). Privacy and Saeed, S. (Ed.). (2013). Human-centered system design for elec- security in the digital age: Privacy in the age of super-technol- tronic governance. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. ogies. London and New York: Routledge. Sappleton, N. (2013). Advancing research methods with new tech- Gold, S. J., & Nawyn, S. J. (2013). Routledge international hand- nologies. United State: Information Science Reference (an book of migration studies. London and New York: Routledge. imprint of IGI Global). Hesse-Biber, S. N. (2010). Mixed methods research: Merging the- Smith, B. C. (2007). Good governance and development. London: ory with practice. New York, NY: Guilford Press. Macmillan International Higher Education. Hope Sr, K. R. (2016). African political economy: Contemporary Sofi-Karim, M. (2015). English language teaching in the Kurdistan issues in development. New York: Routledge. region of Iraq. Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations Khosrow-Pour, M. (Ed.). (2006). Cases on information technology Publishing. (UMI No. 1595485) planning, design and implementation. Hershey, PA: IGI Global. Waring, C., & Morgan, S. (2007). Performance accountability Kuschewsky, M. (2012). Data protection & privacy: Jurisdictional and combating corruption. Washington, DC: The World comparisons. London, England: Sweet & Maxwell. Bank. Lampard, R., & Pole, C. (2015). Practical social investigation: Weinberg, S. L., & Abramowitz, S. K. (2008). Statistics using Qualitative and quantitative methods in social research. SPSS: An integrative approach. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge London: Routledge. University Press. Liebowitz, J., & Khosrowpour, M. (Eds.). (1997). Cases on Wilson, C. (2013). Interview techniques for UX practitioners: A information technology management in modern organisations. user-centered design method. London: MK Publications, Hershey, PA: IGI Global. Newnes. Management Association, Information and Resources. (2015). Zaloznaya, M. (2017). The politics of bureaucratic corruption in Standards and standardization: Concepts, methodologies, post-transitional Eastern Europe. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge tools, and applications. USA: Management Association, University Press. Information Resources, an imprint of IGI Global. Newing, H. (2010). Conducting research in conservation: Social sci- Author Biography ence methods and practice. London and New York: Routledge. Obidairo, S. (2016). Transnational corruption and corporations: Ahmed Omar Bali is the head of the Diplomacy and Public Regulating bribery through corporate liability. London: Routledge. Relations Department and a lecturer at the University of Human Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2005). Development. He holds PhD in media and communication from Economic policy reforms 2005 going for growth. Paris: OECD Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom. He has worked Publishing. as a radio presenter and a news and programme manager. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png SAGE Open SAGE

Communication Tools to Fight Bureaucratic Corruption in Iraqi Kurdistan: A Case Study:

SAGE Open , Volume 8 (4): 1 – Nov 3, 2018

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Abstract

This study investigates the most important technological tools and techniques that have been introduced in some organizations in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq and compares those tools and techniques with that of the departments that still rely on a manual system. The research claims that technology, aside from its role in facilitating communication between employees and clients, is a potent force for fighting bureaucratic inefficiency and corruption and contributes to reassuring employees and clients. Theoretically, this research relies on an interdisciplinary approach which represents the connection between technology and human behavior, convenience, facilitation, and productivity within the administration communication systems. This research has adopted mixed-method approaches such as semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and surveys (n = 422) as data collection tools, and it also analyzes data collected by thematic analysis as the main method of ethnographic study. The research finds that the communication tools can significantly contribute to administrative services and fight corruption, although such techniques have not been applied in Iraqi Kurdistan. The majority of the respondents recommended expanding technology tools in all organizations as there are no significant obstacles to introducing them even among the organizations that do not have requisite technology skills. Keywords interdisciplinary, bureaucratic corruption, communication tools, Iraqi Kurdistan, satisfaction, client and employee Using technological tools can make a major contribution Introduction to administration and governing and fight bureaucratic cor- There are considerable connections between communica- ruption, although majority of publications have neglected tion tools and fighting bureaucratic corruption (Aneke, this contribution of technology as there is no clear vision of 2012; Bussell, 2010, 2012; Remenyi, 2002). The use of how to fight bureaucratic corruption using this means. The advanced technology has been a feature of life in many present study identifies the contribution of technology and developed countries for decades, and is essential for provid- brings it into focus, and it allows its implementation in other ing fast and effective services. In this research, several kinds developing countries that are similar to Iraqi Kurdistan, par- of communication technologies have been found to effec- ticularly, in terms of social and organizational culture; tively contribute toward administration communication. accordingly, this study will conduce to eradicating bureau- This includes online applications, email services, wide- cratic corruption in developing and not well-developed spread computerized database, application of the electronic countries including Iraqi Kurdistan and developing coun- system, closed-circuit television (CCTV), traffic enforce- tries. The political economy of Kurdistan has been monopo- ment cameras, queuing machines, devices to record and lized by the two political parties, namely the Patriotic Union arrange interviews between employees and clients, mobile of Kurdistan (PUK) and the Kurdistan Democratic Party and money transaction systems, online shopping, digital (KDP). Such a system leads to corruption, bureaucracy, assets, and so on. In general, technological tools can develop administration systems, meaning they boost human produc- tivity, energy, resources, and finances. This argument is University of Human Development, Sulaimaniyah, Iraq strongly supported by the interdisciplinary approach Corresponding Author: (Brézillon & Gonzalez, 2014). Alongside this, such tools Ahmed Omar Bali, University of Human Development, Kurdistan, can pave the way for terminating bureaucratic corruption in Sulaimaniyah, 964, Iraq. developing countries. Email: ahmed.bali@uhd.edu.iq Creative Commons CC BY: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (http://www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage). 2 SAGE Open overemployment, and general lack of social justice (Bali, faster and more efficient. Therefore, it reduces waiting time 2016a). For the theoretical consideration and for developing significantly that consequently make customers have a posi- the conceptual framework, this study reviews researches that tive perception about government performance (Saeed, have studied experiences of utilizing technology. 2013). In a similar context, Liebowitz and Mehdi (1997) contend that the technology tool ticket vending machine employed by the local transportation companies make a huge Literature Review profit to these companies and also engender a positive feel- Corruption is viewed as a global issue and connected more to ing in customers toward the companies’ performance. They developing countries. These countries suffer from some conclude in their research that such technology tool contrib- aspects and serious issues which have been used to discuss utes to a decrease in queues and waiting time for services, corruption such as “institutional quality,” “quality of govern- and using technological tools prevents arguments, interac- ment,” and “state capacity” (Smith, 2007). Rothstein and tion, and conversation between employees and clients. Varraich (2014) present an umbrella concept of corruption Moreover, they indicate in their research that using technol- through analyzing some related concepts such as “clien- ogy secures a positive image and reputation for enterprises. telism, patronage, patrimonialism, particularism and state Technology thus helps to provide rapid service delivery and capture onto one spatial field” (p. 1). The present study less corruption as the clients tend not to rely on mediation focuses on bureaucratic corruption which is defined by many and nepotism to receive the service or to purchase travel tick- scholars as a social cataclysm causing countries to stagnate. ets in unauthorized way. Similarly, in the banking sector, For example, Hope Sr (2016) describes bureaucratic corrup- Khosrow-Pour (2006) suggests that introducing technology tion as being “an evil, shameful, and despicable phenomenon into the banking database and system achieves positive which impairs administrative capability and impedes social results because it provides a fair and equitable treatment to stability and economic development” (p. 6). Zaloznaya customers during the registration process and access to ser- (2017) refers to bureaucratic corruption mainly from the vices. As the customers do not need to interact and directly nature of the political system; he argues that these “regimes communicate with the employees, less mismanagement combine diverse political institutions that range from liberal- arises. Despite the fact that ticket machines were introduced democratic to authoritarian and totalitarian” (p. 27). as early as the 1990s in transportation sectors and some other Conversely, Obidairo (2016) argues that bureaucratic corrup- sectors in some countries, service provision in most organi- tion is more deeply rooted in societies’ structures and author- zations in Iraqi Kurdistan is still based on manual and tradi- ities that particularly strive to attain or maintain power. From tional processes. Another technological contribution in the above explanations, it can be concluded that bureaucratic fighting corruption is the transparency, which can be ensured corruption is an illegal practice of abusing authority to through the widespread application of databases and technol- acquire illicit personal benefits and fraudulent advantages ogy in departments and organizations. In this regard, Waring whether directly or indirectly, and this problem is strongly and Morgan (2007) prove that the introduction of technology related to fundamental ethical principles, personal values, in companies allows shareholders, businessmen, and shop culture, and weakness of political system, and administration owners, among others, to monitor the transaction of money with transparency and accountability. and deals because technology provides a database of any Recently, developing countries have started realizing the developments in the circulation of sales. In a similar context, benefits of using technology to reduce bureaucratic corrup- Campos and Pradhan (2007) explain that such tools allow tion. In this respect, Bussell (2012) explains that Indian local many possibilities for owners of companies and small shops governments have introduced technological tools into their to monitor fraud, corruption, and mistreatment of customers administrative and communication systems to provide public due to the contribution of e-mail services, telephones, and services that reduce corruption. Similarly, Information security and surveillance cameras to record cases of griev- Resources Management Association suggests that utilizing ance and monitor interaction between employees and cus- technological tools reduces the burden on citizens, particularly tomers. Likewise, the Organisation for Economic in developing countries. This association believes that the Co-Operation and Development (2005) reports about fight- higher cost required for transaction costs can be considered as ing corruption and promoting integrity in public procure- administrative bureaucracy, and is viewed as a form of corrup- ment—online shopping improves more efficiency for tion (Management Association, Information and Resources, consumers to have access to shopping and directly buy goods 2015). Aneke (2012) concludes in his research conducted on or services from a seller over the Internet, supports transpar- the role of communication technology in Africa that financial ency and promoting integrity in public tenders, and reduces aid does not dramatically aid the continent’s development, corruption. This organization suggests that all governments unless it involves the technology means in the local depart- worldwide should abide by and adhere to the introduction of ments to reduce corruption and bureaucracy. technology to promote integrity and fight corruption that Technology has been considered a major factor in helping steadily leads to good governance. Regarding the perception shape good governance, and it makes provision of services toward a government, technology contributes to portraying a Bali 3 positive image of a government and establishing a good rep- technological tools in an administrative field in the Kurdistan utation for building a robust relation between both sides: a Regional Government (KRG). This research determines the government and the public based on mutual trust. Bhatnagar serious obstacles to using technology and recommends how (2004) argues that the application of the electronic system to introduce and expand technological tools in Iraqi Kurdistan helps to project positive images of governments, especially as a case and in developing countries in the future. The in regard to payment, taxes, and fees. research findings are discovered through adopting a mixed- The electronic system provides a computerized database method approach such as conducting semi-structured inter- with rich details about clients in relation to the payment of views, participant observation, and surveys (n = 422; as data taxes and fees, and provides the opportunity for stakeholders collection tools), and analyzing data collection by thematic and non-stakeholders alike to see and examine the circula- analysis as the main tool/method of ethnographic study. tion and movement of tax payments, particularly in demo- cratic systems that demand transparency and integrity. In this Research Questions and Hypothesis aspect, Bhatnagar (2004) finds that the change in paying taxes from traditional/manual systems to the electronic ones On the basis of the literature review and aims of research, in one of the India’s states leads to an increase in tax revenue three questions and three hypotheses are presented as from US$12 million to US$50 million in 6 months. Remenyi follows. (2002) asserts that such a system reduces a large backlog even in developed countries like the United Kingdom. In his Research Questions research, he clearly illustrates that electronic systems are extremely effective as saving-time tools, particularly in orga- Research Question 1: What types of technology have nizing employees, irrespective of where they are applied— been introduced by government departments and private developed or developing countries: in the United Kingdom, companies and how do they contribute to fighting bureau- India (Sabharwal & Berman, 2013), Pakistan, Bangladesh, cratic corruption and to what degree? and even in the African context (Aneke, 2012). In providing such services, there are a range of tools available including As there is insufficient data about the use of such tools, par- closed-circuit television (CCTV), queuing machine, devices ticularly in administrative communication, answering this to record and arrange interviews between employees and cli- question will help discover the extent of adaptation and also ents, emails, mobile devices and money transfer systems, provides an indicator to design and expand using technology electronic shopping, and so on. in other departments that still rely on the traditional and man- In Iraqi Kurdistan, the communication tools that are used ual approaches. This will be of immense benefit, because it is in communication processes between employees and clients assumed that the benefits of adopting technology in this field are generally quite limited; only queuing machines and will significantly outweigh the disadvantages. Moreover, it CCTV have been recently introduced in a few government has been emphasized in the literature that such technology departments and some private sector institutions. A major has made a huge contribution toward processing people’s problem with introducing new technology in administrative administrative/clerical work quickly, reducing nepotism, and communication is that a significant number of people in protecting not just the image but also the environment of the Iraqi Kurdistan is illiterate (Bali & Abdullah, 2017), and departments, particularly in the Kurdistan context. thus cannot use such technology easily and would encounter a number of obstacles, especially in the beginning of the Research Question 2: How does technology contribute process of technologizing governing systems. Moreover, the to fight bureaucratic corruption and to the overall level of majority of people are not familiar with the communication satisfaction of employees and clients? technology that is used in the administrative communication process. This research documents the perceptions of employ- This question is based on the general assumption that apply- ees and clients regarding the benefits of technology in the ing such technological tools will ensure fairness among cli- administrative communication process. This breaks new ents during the process of their applications, not to mention a ground in how to initiate and develop utilizing technology in strong possibility of higher level of satisfaction among cli- administrative systems, whether in Kurdistan, Iraq, in gen- ents as well as employees because of avoiding the traditional eral, or other similar countries in terms of social and admin- approach, nepotism, and subjective judgments. Answering istrative contexts. In doing so, it is assumed that the this research question is crucial in understanding why people employees and clients will not be comfortable with new are not content with the way governmental administrations technology from the outset, but will gradually entail adapt- operate, especially with regard to having their administrative ing the process. work done in the government organizations. To answer this The concept of using technology in administrative com- question, clients’ and employees’ perceptions, on using tech- munication is new in Iraqi Kurdistan, and there is no publica- nology to achieve satisfaction and efficiency of services, are tion currently that focused on the possibility of using the analyzed. 4 SAGE Open Research Question 3: What are the obstacles of using research, semi-structured interviews are primarily adopted technology in administrative communication? to collect data from employees. This method is highly suit- able for this type of research because it does not require This research question will help in understanding the major long interviews when employees do not have much time problems with technology implementation and offer recom- (Newing, 2010; Wilson, 2013). Four government organiza- mendations for designing and expanding technology in the tions were selected in Sulaymaniyah—one of the major future. cities in Iraqi Kurdistan. These departments include three hospitals, the Passport Directorate of Sulaymaniyah, and the Trade Bank of Iraq private company; the two latter Hypotheses organizations rely on queuing machines to organize their Along with the research questions presented, this study tests clients. Simultaneously, two major supermarkets were also three hypotheses on the basis of the collected data in the sur- selected as companies which rely on databases and CCTV. vey applying to employees and clients. These hypotheses A total of 30 respondents were interviewed during August shed light on the study’s underlying arguments. to November 2016. Hypothesis 1: Clients and employees in government and Survey private sectors with different professions have varying perceptions about the tools used in administrative The survey method adopted in this study was carried out in communication. March 2017 among people aged 18 and above. Of the 500 Hypothesis 2: Clients with varying levels of educational questionnaire sheets distributed, a total number of 422 par- backgrounds have different perceptions about the tools ticipants fully completed the questionnaire. The sample was used in administrative communication. a probability sample, which means all members of the popu- Hypothesis 3: Clients of different ages have different lation had the same chance of inclusion (Becker, Bryman, & perceptions about the tools used in administrative Ferguson, 2012; Lampard & Pole, 2015). Consequently, the communication. result from the respondents represented the population as the whole (Bryman & Bell, 2015). The questionnaire consisted of two sections. The first one included demographic back- Method grounds of education, age, and profession. The education This study is based on inductive logic and aims to understand variable was divided into educated and not educated/illiter- the degree of technology use in administrative communica- ate, which clarifies how they deal with technology. The age tion to provide recommendations for promoting using such category was divided into three variables: youth (18-30), technology in Iraqi Kurdistan and other similar societies. In middle age (30-50), and people aged 51 and above. The pro- this research process, mixed-methods approach is adopted. fession variable had three categories: public sector, private Hesse-Biber (2010) found that such approach enables the sector, and unemployed. The second section consisted of “qualitative researcher to create quantitative measures from seven questions based on three responses (agree, neutral, their qualitative data” (p. 1). Moreover, as Denscombe and disagree). Six questions were designed to test the (2010) notes, mixed-methods enable the researcher to hypotheses and analyze the perception of respondents regard- develop the research tools and design a variety of research ing the use of technology in administrative communication. questions. Surveys, semi-structured interviews, and partici- pant observation are among the existing tools of mixed- Methodology for Measuring Hypothesis methods employed. An independent-sample t test has been used to test the first hypothesis and the one-way ANOVA model to test the sec- Semi-Structured Interviews and ond and third hypotheses. The one-way ANOVA is the most Participant Observation commonly used model to test variables consisting of three to These two methods are used for data collection and both four categories, such as education, age, and political back- are appropriate to social science studies (Gold & Nawyn, ground (Weinberg & Abramowitz, 2008). To test the three 2013). Sappleton (2013) suggests that semi-structured hypotheses, six variables that represent the use of techno- interviews and participant observation provide an opportu- logical tools in fighting administrative corruption were used nity for the researcher to deepen the study of new phenom- (see Table 2). The first hypothesis represents where people ena in a way that can determine the causal factors of the are employed: employees in government organizations, phenomenon. It also allows the researcher to more com- employees in private companies/self-employed, and people prehensively explore the possibility of utilizing techno- who wanted to have their administrative/clerical work done logical tools and expand their use to develop the whether in government organizations or in companies. The administrative communication process. In conducting this second hypothesis represents “educated” and “uneducated” Bali 5 people. Many people in Iraqi Kurdistan did not receive edu- automatically input them onto the database. One traffic cation, especially senior citizens, and therefore, it may be police official claimed, “This machine reduces the possibil- predicted that they face more difficulties compared with ity of embezzlement by traffic police” (personal communica- “educated” people with regard to using technology. The third tion, August 20, 2016). In regard to the remarkable hypothesis focuses on age: youth (18-30), middle age (31- contribution of CCTV, one of the interviewees working in 50), and people aged 51 and above. the Technical Department in the University of Human Development stated that “CCTV totally solved several prob- lems facing the university, namely damaging the university’s Results equipment by students” (personal communication, October 20, 2016). Despite the fact that CCTV is now considered Utilizing Technological Tools in Administrative essential for security purposes, it is still not used by the Communication and Their Contribution in majority of organizations, whether in the public or private Fighting Bureaucratic Corruption sectors. In short, the findings indicate that there is a strong This section discusses the first research question. The tech- connection between introducing technology and fighting nological tools employed in public sectors are limited in bureaucratic corruption; the use of technology is neverthe- developing countries. Only a small number of organizations less limited and still not widely adopted across the depart- in Iraqi Kurdistan are using these technologies, and not nec- ments; and a significant challenge lies in processing citizens’ essarily in all their departments. There are three primary rea- administrative/clerical work electronically. sons for this fact: First, in most departments, some administrations or employees voluntarily use technology on a personal level rather than being systemized or instructed by Technology as a Factor of Satisfaction their organizations. Second, there is not a sufficient number and Efficiency of Services of employees with the expertise to effectively manage web- sites and computerized databases for processing people’s This section examines the second research question with administrative/clerical work. Third, the government has not regard to how technology contributes to fight bureaucratic provided Internet service to all departments, not to mention corruption and to the overall level of satisfaction of employ- the Internet’s very poor quality. Some organizations admit ees and clients. Table 1 indicates that 91.7% of respondents using Facebook to contact their clients. This allows private agreed that using technology for processing their administra- and other serious information to be placed on a platform that tive/clerical work would make them contended, 3.8% were can be easily accessed and exploited. In this regard, one neutral, and 4.5% disagreed (see Table 1). Alongside this, the employee in the Passport Directorate of Sulaymaniyah interviews’ outcomes and observations demonstrate that the claimed, “We publish information and announcements on majority of employees would like to introduce technology our website and Facebook but most people still do not know into administrative communication for three reasons. First, about our website, and the public does not believe what we technology increases greater transparency. In this regard, publish” (personal communication, August 20, 2016). A visi- one of the interviewees working in the police traffic depart- tor who was there to renew his passport was asked about this ment stated, “the Passport Directorate introduced queuing claim; he responded, “I didn’t know that they publish such machines to organise clients, which ensures greater honesty announcements on the Internet and I don’t think people know and transparency” (personal communication, August 20, that” (personal communication, August 20, 2016). This sug- 2016). Similarly, a mall owner noted that “technology such gests that technology has not yet become a private means of as databases and CCTV allow the shop owners to observe the communication between the government and the public, behavior of their workers while at work” (personal commu- together with the fact that many still are not aware of the nication, November 5, 2016). Second, technology helps to availability of such a service. ensure justice among clients receiving services. This point Developed countries would not need to resort to social was observed in the Passport Directorate, as one of the inter- media to communicate with citizens, as they tend to process viewees who was there to get passports for their children most citizens’ administrative work online or through the claimed, “the queuing machines assure clients receive a fair post. In Iraqi Kurdistan, every individual must visit govern- service” (personal communication, August 20, 2016). It was ment organizations at least twice to have their administra- observed that even with more than 100 clients in the recep- tive/clerical work done. Few departments have database to tion hall, the crowd was peaceful and orderly. By contrast, electronically save documents; they use computers only to most other government departments that do not use queuing write and print out letters and references. Queuing machines machines cannot manage even 10 clients without noises, and CCTV are employed in few departments such as Passport uproar, or disturbance, and many clients receive an unfair or Directorate of Sulaymaniyah and Northern Bank of Iraq. The preferential service. As the findings of the survey indicate, Traffic Police Department has introduced traffic enforce- most respondents, 95.3%, agree that technology ensures jus- ment cameras to detect traffic regulation violations and tice, only 2.5% disagree (see Table 1). The reason behind the 6 SAGE Open Table 1. Respondents’ Attitudes Toward Using Technology to Fight Bureaucratic Corruption. Agree Neutral Disagree I find the use of technology convenient for processing citizens’ administrative work 91.7 3.8 4.5 Technology ensures justice among applicants 95.3 1.9 2.5 The use of technology for processing citizen’s administrative work is more productive 92.9 2.6 4.5 Technology should be generalized and practiced in all government organizations and companies 95.3 1.4 3.3 Technology reduces nepotism and mediation 88.6 3.1 8.3 CCTV reduces nepotism and mediation 92.9 4.3 2.8 CCTV prevents abuse, conflicts, and misconduct between employees and clients 91.2 0.5 8.3 Note. CCTV = closed-circuit television. 2.5% may be that there are very few people who prefer to get on their expertise or on what they could deliver. This created service in the organizations as quickly as possible, particu- a net of corruption—headed by high-ranking officials (Bali, larly at the expense of others. Table 1 shows that 8.1% of the 2016b). For example, chief executives, who were appointed respondents disagreed about the perception that technology by one of the ruling parties, used their authority to employ can reduce mediation and nepotism. This indicator is not a friends and relatives which has led to rampant favoritism, significant number, but proves that there are still obstacles nepotism, political patronage, and corruption. These chief for successfully implementing technology. In this respect, executives surround themselves with employees who sup- one of the employees claimed, “the queuing machines have port them in case of corruption accusations against them helped us to organise clients; however, some clients prefer despite the fact that many of them are never even subjected being unfairly privileged, even if this act makes them being to investigations. This claim is proved correct by the fact that served quicker by only few minutes” (personal communica- in Iraqi Kurdistan, there are many cases that are still not tion, August, 20, 2016). The third reason why respondents prosecuted for favoritism, nepotism, or patronage. In this prefer technology is productivity. The majority of the regard, a disgruntled client in a government department employees stated that technology generally assists adminis- stated that he was rejected to be served properly and was tration to service clients more efficiently. As Table 1 shows, confronted by an employee saying “We don’t care whom you most of the respondents, 92.9%, agreed that technology is complaint to!” (personal communication, September 15, more productive, with only 1.4% neutral, and 3.3% disagree- 2016). These employees are never given verbal/written ing. Regarding the role of CCTV, most respondents had a warning by their managers, and they blind themselves to positive view on it, although there is an argument against their manager’s corruption acts in return. using CCTV of not being in line with confidentiality and per- The second factor of bureaucratic corruption relates to sonal privacy (Dwyer, 2012; Friedewald & Pohoryles, 2016; cultural perspectives. Some citizens believe that they have Kuschewsky, 2012). Table 1 indicates that 92.9% of the to be granted the privilege of having their administrative/ respondents believed that CCTV reduces nepotism and clerical work done before others or being provided with bet- mediation, 4.3% were neutral, and 2.8% disagreed. To sum ter services by their relatives in government organizations at up, the respondents had a positive view about technology the expense of others. In the context of Kurdish culture in being operated in administrative communication. For exam- which Kurds highly appreciate and place a great emphasis ple, 95.3% of respondents agreed that technology should be on collectivism (Sofi-Karim, 2015), employees are under generalized and practiced in all government organizations pressure to treat their relative differently with more consid- and companies, while only 1.4% were neutral, and 3.3% eration and respect than others, otherwise it may negatively disagreed. affect their social lives. However, some employees do so to The KRG is heavily involved in widespread bureaucratic gain considerable prestige, to win their favor, or in hopes corruption. This study reveals that three major factors are that a favor will be returned in the future. This research dis- associated with this issue. The first factor is the lack of covered that the organization that used technology left accountability. The KRG has a reputation for being biased, almost no chance to these kinds of people because the employing people on the basis of their political beliefs and employees did not have much interaction person-to-person affiliations. The two political parties, the KDP and the PUK, with their clients. So technology can play a significant role have been ruling the KRG since 1991, completely dominat- in employee satisfaction, reducing bureaucratic corruption, ing the important government sectors (Bali & Abdullah, and fading negative cultural perspectives when new rules 2017). These two parties in power interfere negatively in come into force. government policies and do not leave any decision to the And last but not least, the third factor of bureaucratic cor- government organizations. They recruited more staff based ruption relates to personal values. Despite the fact that on how close they were affiliated to their parties rather than according to Kurdish people’s values, it is looked down upon Bali 7 and considered dishonorable to offer or accept bribes, some perceive the role of technologies in ensuring satisfaction, people resort to favoritism because they are uncertain about justice, productivity, reducing nepotism, and reducing mis- having their administrative/clerical work done normally. conduct, along with extending and generalizing technology. This has created a misconception that, surprisingly, bureau- Table 2 provides evidence that the majority of the elements cratic corruption is considered somewhat acceptable by the presented as criteria of this hypothesis are true and the pro- government employees’ values because they do not do it for fession differences were statistically significant at the p = payment. However, seldom does bribery occur in the KRG’s .047 level, justice at the p = .001 level, productive at the p = organizations unlike the Iraqi’s organizations where bribery .375 level, reducing nepotism at the p = .021 level, reducing is moderately common. misconduct at p = .001 level, and extending and generaliz- ing technology at the p = .022 level (see Table 2). This indi- cates that the respondents statistically did not have different Obstacles to Expanding the Use of perceptions about the role of technology to increase produc- Technology tivity, which is at the p = .375 level (see Table 2). This means This section examines the third research question, which that the respondents whether clients or employees in public focuses on expanding technology in administrative commu- or private sectors believe that services will be more produc- nication. During the data collection, it was observed that the tive through technology, where the mean of clients is 1.12, obstacles are related to three factors. First, there are a signifi- employees in public sectors are at M = 1.10, and employees cant number of people, especially the older generation, who in private sectors are at M = 1.00 level (see Table 2). are illiterate and cannot fill out applications online. However, However, people generally do not have experience about the this issue can be resolved by assigning some employees to role of technology particularly in relation to increasing ser- help this demographic, along with gaining the assistance by vices. Table 2 demonstrates a small difference between their families. In Iraqi Kurdistan, most routine administrative respondents’ perceptions about the productivity of utilizing applications are filled out manually. A process of online technology across the organizations. This proves people’s application reduces the cost, yet this system still has not been positive perception about technology and increasing service implemented; on top of that, people also cannot deal with productivity. their paperwork throughout a postal service because there is no postal system in Iraqi Kurdistan. The second factor is the People’s Perceptions on Technology, to lack of Internet service—the Internet is unavailable in the Fight Corruption, on the Basis of Their majority of the government departments, and its quality is very poor and inconvenient. The third factor is the lack of Educational Backgrounds professional employees who can successfully manage tech- This section tests the second hypothesis, which looks at the nology and deal with people’s administrative/clerical work. educational backgrounds of the respondents and their per- However, there are many graduates, with qualifications in ceptions about the role of technology in fighting bureau- administration and information technology, who will not be cratic corruption. Table 2 indicates that this hypothesis is employed because the KRG has halted employment since true because it does not show significant differences in the 2010, whereas the two political parties in power, the KDP perceptions of the respondents on the role of technology in and the PUK, committed to mass employments during 2003- reducing nepotism at p = .923, and the claim of expanding 2010, employing thousands of people to buy votes and stay and generalizing technology at p = .701. There are statisti- in power (Bali, 2016b; Bali, Karim, & Rached, 2018), yet cal differences between educational background and other most of the people appointed were not qualified. This prob- elements: obtaining satisfaction significant at p = .000, jus- lematic policy led to this current fragile government. In spite tice at p = .000, and productivity and reducing misconducts of the obstacles that are presented, most respondents have a at p = .000 (see Table 3). There is also a general assump- positive perspective, 91.7%, about applying technology in tion arguing that people who are educated are more com- administrative communication, and this suggests that tech- fortable with technology than those who are not. nology can be expanded, as 95.3% of the respondents agreed Nevertheless, this does not mean that people who are not upon expanding and standardizing technology in other educated cannot adapt to new technology. Moreover, the departments. This indication is an important one to be taken data collected in the interviews and the observation process into account by the KRG. provide evidence that those who are not educated were pleased about utilizing technology by the organizations. Results of Hypotheses More importantly, the respondents, regardless of their edu- cational background, claimed that technology should be Profession Differences and Perceptions About expanded and generalized, and there is no statistical differ- Technology ence at p = .701 as the mean of the category who are edu- This section examines the first hypothesis, which predicted cated is 1.0 and not educated is 1.1 (see Table 2); this that people’s professions do not have influence on how they indicator, which should be highly considered by the KRG, 8 SAGE Open Table 2. One-Way ANOVA Model Reports People’s Perceptions on Technology, to Fight Corruption, on the Basis of Their Workplace. Elements M SD F p Technology creates satisfaction 0.80 .047 Unemployed (clients) 1.13 .45 Employed in government departments 1.07 .31 Employed in private sectors 1.20 .57 Technology creates justice 7.39 .001 Unemployed (clients) 1.07 .34 Employed in government organizations 1.00 .00 Employed in private sectors 1.32 .69 Technology means productivity 0.98 .375 Unemployed (clients) 1.12 .45 Employed in government departments 1.10 .40 Employed in private sectors 1.00 .00 Technology should be generalized and expanded 3.86 .022 Unemployed (clients) 1.07 .35 Employed in government organizations 1.05 .29 Employed in private sectors 1.28 .67 Technology reduces nepotism 3.87 .021 Unemployed (clients) 1.16 .52 Employed in government organizations 1.29 .68 Employed in private sectors 1.44 .82 CCTV prevents abuse, conflicts, and misconducts 6.77 .001 Unemployed (clients) 1.17 .56 Employed in government organizations 1.00 .00 Employed in private sectors 1.48 .87 Note. Values Sig refers to one-way ANOVA model and it is significant at p ⩽ .05. CCTV = closed-circuit television. Table 3. The t Test Model Reports People’s Perceptions on Technology, to Fight Corruption, on the Basis of Their Educational Backgrounds. Variables M SD t test p Technology creates satisfaction −8.972 .000 Educated 1.07 .34 Uneducated 1.69 .83 Technology means justice 4.376 .000 Educated 1.08 .37 Uneducated 1.00 .00 Technology means productivity 1.736 .000 Educated 1.12 .45 Uneducated 1.00 .00 Technology should be generalized and expanded −0.384 .701 Educated 1.07 .36 Uneducated 1.10 .44 Technology reduces nepotism −0.097 .895 Educated 1.19 .57 Uneducated 1.20 .57 CCTV prevents abuse, conflicts, and misconducts 2.022 .000 Educated 1.18 .57 Uneducated 1.00 .00 Note. Values Sig refers to t test model, and it is significant at p ⩽ .05. CCTV = closed-circuit television. Bali 9 Table 4. One-Way ANOVA Model Reports People’s Perceptions, on Technological Tools in Fighting Bureaucratic Corruption, on the Basis of Their Age Differences. Variables M SD F P Technology creates satisfaction 10.06 .000 Youth 1.20 .55 Middle age 1.00 .07 Seniors 1.20 .58 Technology creates justice 0.71 .490 Youth 1.06 .34 Middle age 1.09 .40 Seniors 1.02 .16 Technology ensures productivity 1.29 .275 Youth 1.13 .48 Middle age 1.07 .34 Seniors 1.17 .51 Technology should be generalized and expanded 4.55 .011 Youth 1.04 .27 Middle age 1.14 .50 Seniors 1.00 .000 Technology reduces nepotism 4.80 .009 Youth 1.15 .50 Middle age 1.29 .68 Seniors 1.02 .16 CCTV prevents abuse, conflicts, and misconducts 1.57 .208 Youth 1.15 .52 Middle age 1.22 .63 Seniors 1.05 .33 Note. Values Sig refers to one-way ANOVA model and it is significant at p ⩽ .05. CCTV = closed-circuit television. proves that technology will be widely accepted as the technology in providing justice, 95.3%; productivity, 92.9%; respondents generally prefer it and claim that technology and preventing abuse between employees and clients, 91.2%. should be expanded and generalized with 95.3% agreed, 1.4% neutral, and only 3.3% disagreed (see Table 1). Conclusion The findings of this study provide a new insight into the role of technology in reducing bureaucratic corruption, particu- People’s Perceptions on Technology on the Basis larly in developing countries or in countries that are not well- of Their Age Differences developed such as Iraqi Kurdistan, Iraq in general, and The third hypothesis predicted that the perception of the developing countries. Technologies used in administrative respondents about the role of technology would differ communication allow developed countries to improve the according to ages. Table 2 indicates that this hypothesis is quality of service, especially in terms of providing services true by a small margin. There were significant differences in quickly at the lowest possible cost. Alongside this remark- the respondents about the role of technology in creating sat- able contribution, technology is a powerful tool in reducing isfaction, reducing nepotism at p = .000, and expanding and corruption by providing standardized and objective services generalizing technology at p = .009 (see Table 4). By con- to all clients. The results found that the majority of employ- trast, the age variable had no significant role in the respon- ees are under immense psychological pressure to favor cer- dents’ perceptions on technology in particular relation to the tain individuals, particularly relatives. Furthermore, nepotism other elements of the third hypotheses such as ensuring jus- and favoritism in Kurdistan have not socially entrenched and tice at p = .490, productivity at p = .275, and safeguarding institutionalized yet. Both clients and employees claimed against abuse between employees and clients at p = .208. that they desire an equal chance of providing and receiving This refers to the fact that the respondents, aside from their services. The problematic element here is that the use of ages, believe that technological tools make a significant con- technology is limited and the government has not introduced tribution to ensuring justice, where Table 1 reports that the technology in all organizations, regardless of its benefits. respondents have positive perceptions about the role of Introducing and generalizing technology in the whole 10 SAGE Open departments requires a decent Internet service and quality and knowledge about technology. Nevertheless, the respon- employees with technical expertise to offer a wide range of dents do not statistically differ in their perceptions of the role services. These highlighted issues have become most notice- of technology in increasing productivity at p = .375 (see able in the organizations of Iraqi Kurdistan, which have Table 2). Regarding the age variable associated with people’s caused poor administration, bureaucratic corruption, and perceptions on technology, the results suggest no significant substandard services. Therefore, this study recommends that differences in half of the elements presented to test technol- Iraqi Kurdistan and developing countries effectively employ ogy. This represents a positive indicator because it is always technology to enhance the governments’ reputations in terms predicted that the new generation are more comfortable with of management information systems, quality services, and new technologies. Conversely, this study identified that the eradication of bureaucratic corruption. To put the policy respondents did not differ in their perceptions about using into action, the KRG must establish technological tools, technology, particularly in elements such as ensuring justice improve the Internet service, and employ graduates with at p = .490, productivity at p = .275, and the role of CCTV high skills in information technology, as a subset of informa- in reducing abuse and conflicts between employees and cli- tion and communications technology, to fill the skills gap of ents at p = .208 (see Table 4). older generation employees that hinder the development of administration systems. The current employees in the gov- Declaration of Conflicting Interests ernment organizations should be engaged with activities to The author(s) declared no potential conflicts of interest with respect adapt to the new technologies that will be introduced in the to the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. administration systems because applying a new system requires robust electronic system as well as skillful human Funding resources. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support Establishing electronic systems by the KRG is a necessity for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This and will be a crucial turning point in a campaign against research was funded by the Kurdistan National Research Council - bureaucratic corruption. 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Relations Department and a lecturer at the University of Human Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2005). Development. He holds PhD in media and communication from Economic policy reforms 2005 going for growth. Paris: OECD Sheffield Hallam University in the United Kingdom. He has worked Publishing. as a radio presenter and a news and programme manager.

Journal

SAGE OpenSAGE

Published: Nov 3, 2018

Keywords: interdisciplinary; bureaucratic corruption; communication tools; Iraqi Kurdistan; satisfaction; client and employee

References