Friday 15th Apr 2011 – Dr Julian Bass

Dr Julian Bass – School of Computing, Robert Gordon University

Institutional Analysis, The Capability Approach and Technological Change

Institutional theory and the Capabilities Approach have become influential in international development research and practice. Both theories offer analytical tools for interpreting and guiding Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for adoption interventions. An analytical framework is proposed which applies Institutional Theory and the Capabilities Approach in the domain of ICT enabled technology change. It is argued, using empirical evidence from a case study in sub-Saharan Africa, that there are benefits in research and practice of utilizing the contrasting strengths of these analytical tools. A combined theoretical framework offers analytical and practical insights in terms of potential for stimulation (“excitation”) and degradation (“inhibition”) of technological change goals. ICT can create changes in institutional rules and norms enabling enhanced capabilities for individuals. It can also enhance capabilities which in turn lead to institutional change. There are counter-examples, where ICT has negative influences and the lack of capabilities or institutional rules or norms can prevent fulfilment of hoped for benefits from its interventions. This work contributes a combined framework linking both theories and the attendant exciters and inhibitors, illustrated with the case study. The framework contributes to theory development and informing practice by offering a novel approach to analyze ICT led international development interventions.

School of Computing, Robert Gordon University, St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, Lecture Room A12, 14:00 – 15:00.

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School of Computing Science and Digital Media, Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland
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