Papers in Education and Development

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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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