Digital Information Network Technologies, Organisational Performance and Productivity

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Type of work: Working Paper

Categories:

e-Administration | ICT Infrastructure | Information Society

Abstract:

The changing extent of adoption and the modes of utilising networked informational technologies within the public sectors of modern economies, and the ways in which these developments affect the performance of public organisations are matters of obvious importance from the economic standpoint, as well as for the political and social consequences that may follow.

Yet, the economic aspects of the uptake and utilisation of digital network technologies by organisations, and the effects these have had upon both their internal operations, and their interactions with citizens and private sector orgnisations, have begun to be studied only recently. A significant advance in systematic quantitative research on this subject has become possible recently, due to the availability of a remarkable dataset. That material was gathered in a survey of more than a thousand public sector organisations located in eight European countries, which was conducted during 2003 by the Momentum Research Group for the Net Impact 2004 report sponsored by the Cisco Corporation.

This Report presents selected results from the Oxford Internet Institute’s exploratory study of this remarkably body of data. The research and its findings in this phase focused on three distinct but interrelated sets of empirical phenomena:

(1) Aggregate diffusion patterns and trends: The macro-level extent of e-network technology adoption in the public sector as of the beginning of 2004, and the projected near-term and planned adoption rates, across the region represented by the seven western European countries and Poland from which survey data was gathered.

(2) Technology acquisition and deployment by individual organisations: The main patterns in the adoption of specific e-network technologies by individual organisations, and the resulting overall “profiles” that can be identified as characteristic of distinct stages of advance in the acquisition and deployment of digital information network technologies (DINT) by each of the different types of (government and health) organisations in the public sector.

(3) Performance “impacts”: The relationship between micro-level estimates of changes occurring in selected aspects of organisational performance (with respect to “productivity” and customer/client satisfaction) that were gathered from a sub-sample of the survey population, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, the status of the organisations’ respective DINT facilities of the reporting organisations and the particular business practices they were following in utilizing their network infrastructures and networked applications.

The organisation of this presentation is straightforward. Issues motivating our study of each of the foregoing topics, and the connections among them, are discussed in Part I. Part II takes up the questions of diffusion at both the macro- and micro-levels. Part III tackles the third topic, presenting the findings of a preliminary approach to quantifying the differential “impacts” on organisational performance that are associated with differences in the configuration of e-network technologies and accompanying business practices. The text concludes with a number of necessary qualifications that point to both the need for caution in interpreting the findings we present, and the yet unexhausted potentialities for further, more refined analysis of the existing data and supplementary material that may be gathered in future surveys. In the interest of conciseness, and to avoid unduly burdening readers with technicalities, discussions of the underlying survey data, methodological problems, statistical procedures, and selected details of the results have been placed in addenda for each of the three Parts which are grouped following the text.

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