Papers in Education and Development


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Papers in Education and Development

PED is the official academic publication of the School of Education of the University of Dar es Salaam. It is a peer-reviewed journal dedicated to the analysis of educational problems and issues and the relationship of such problems or issues with development in a general and inclusive sense. The articles accepted and published in the journal look at the problems and issues at stake from a multidisciplinary point of view. Contributions are invited from authors in a variety of academic disciplines, whose work is judged to have significant implications for educational policy and/or educational practice both at home in Tanzania, in eastern and southern Africa and/or in sub-Saharan Africa in general, and beyond. The journal is published once a year, with an “open” possibility of two issues within one year, ordinarily when circumstances demand an additional issue.

 

The Editorial Board accepts research-based analytical papers, original research reports, reviews and short but policy- or practice-relevant communications.

 

The Editorial Board is based at the University’s School of Education, although its members include selected specialists in education from educational institutions and higher education institutions from outside Tanzania.

 

Just as the University itself does, the PED editorial board takes, as a matter of policy, a “non-discriminatory, equal-opportunity stance” in reviewing and accepting contributions for the wider general and professional readership with a view to benefiting from implications that may arise for policy and practice in the future.

 

Everyone is welcome to submit their contribution for consideration for publication in the journal. Education is a key to development – just as the level and manner of development in society has a reflection on the kind and manner of the education provided and how it was administered in the first instance.

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Groups and facilitators within problem structuring processes

In problem structuring methods, facilitators often ask of themselves questions such as: what makes a ‘good’ problem structuring group (PSG) and indeed what does ‘good’ mean? How can group dynamics be improved and does it matter in terms of the quality of the problem structuring that that group engages in? On the surface these questions seem to be straightforward. Indeed, those who have helped facilitate many participatory workshops will think they intuitively know the answers to these questions; they can, from their professional practice, ‘feel’ which PSGs are doing well and producing novel insights and those which are functioning less well and perhaps generating something that is less imaginative and more routine as a consequence. The intuitive, practice-learned insight will depend upon a rich array of visual signals that become more obvious with experience. This paper asks whether there is value in being much more open and analytical about these questions and answers. If so, then how can we make the unwritten processes and outcomes of PSGs written? Indeed, open to whom? Finally, how much of any insights learned by facilitators should be shared with those engaged in workshops?

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Offshore middlemen: transnational intermediation in technology sourcing

The tendency of acquiring information systems and other high technology services from international suppliers continues at unprecedented levels. The primary motivation for the offshore sourcing of technology and services continues to be labor cost arbitrage, and secondly, access to higher levels of expertise. Yet paradoxically, large gaps in technical proficiency, cultural values, and communication styles between client and vendor can undermine the overall success of the offshore relationship. This paper argues that a new breed of entities have emerged, brokering or intermediating offshore relations. The capabilities of such ‘middlemen’ include moderating disparities in expertise, culture, and communication styles that often deteriorate performance in offshore relationships. The paper presents a preliminary theoretical justification for the emergence of offshore intermediaries, describes how and why they develop boundary spanning capabilities, and offers a case study as initial evidence substantiating the function and processes in intermediating transnational offshoring relationships. Our theory development concludes with propositions concerning four major offshore intermediary capabilities: (i) intermediating cultural distance, (ii) intermediating cognitive distance, (iii) pre-contractual preparation and negotiation, and (iv) post-contractual operational management.

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Information systems in developing countries: a critical research review

In this paper I review the Information Systems (IS) research on how developing countries have attempted to benefit from information and communication technologies (ICTs). First I identify three discourses on IS implementation and associated organizational and social change that coexist in information systems in developing countries (ISDC) research, namely as a process of technology and knowledge transfer and adaptation to local social conditions; as a process of socially embedded action; and as a process of transformative techno-organizational intervention associated with global politics and economics. I then point out the distinctive research agenda that has been formed in ISDC studies, both in the more familiar IS themes – failure, outsourcing, and strategic value of ICT – and also in studies of themes relevant specifically to the context of developing countries, such as the development of community ICT and information resources. Finally, I call the reader's attention to the potentially significant theoretical contributions of ISDC research for understanding IS innovation in relation to social context and in relation to socio-economic development theories and policies.

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IT alignment: what have we learned?

We provide a review of the alignment literature in IT, addressing questions such as: What have we learned? What is disputed? Who are contributors to the debate? The article is intended to be useful to faculty and graduate students considering conducting research on alignment, instructors preparing lectures, and practitioners seeking to assess the 'state-of-play'. It is both informational and provocative. Challenges to the value of alignment research, divergent views, and new perspectives on alignment are presented. It is hoped that the article will spark helpful conversation on the merits of continued investigation of IT alignment.

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The impact of enterprise systems on organizational resilience

Enterprise systems are used to facilitate the seamless integration and exchange of data between the various departments within an organization. In order to achieve this, rigidly defined control mechanisms must be in place in the system, which safeguard the company's data and protect the company against unauthorized and unintended uses of the system. This is ideal for total control; however, is only achievable to a certain extent. The configuration of controls in the enterprise system may have unintended organizational implications, due to organizational necessities. The purpose of this paper is to present the findings from a company case study, where an enterprise system is being used. We suggest that the introduction of an enterprise system creates power differentials, which serve to increase control in the organization. This results in increased rigidity, and a possible decrease in organizational flexibility and resilience. On the other hand, enterprise systems can also cause drift, resulting from the unexpected consequences of these power differentials, as well as from the role of perceptions of people in solving a problem within the enterprise system. This reduction in control may serve in some circumstances as an enabler to organizational resilience.

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