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Title: Investigating Telecentre implementation through the lens of Design-Reality Gap framework and Postcolonial Theory: the case of the Ghana Community Information Centre (CIC) initiative
Authors: Ayoung, Daniel Azerikatoa
Advisors: Abbott, P
Lycett, M
Keywords: Information systems;Developing countries;Upper East region;ICT4D;Critical research
Issue Date: 2016
Publisher: Brunel University London
Abstract: This study explored in detail the Community Information Centre (CIC) initiative (also widely referred to as Telecentres) in Ghana by adopting a qualitative case study approach. The study involved eight CICs in the Upper East Region of Ghana and encompassed the use of semi-structured interviews covering forty-six participants and two focus group discussions (six participants in each group). The exploration brought into focus the need to investigate Telecentre evaluation by applying more of a soft factor approach than the usual economic indicator approach to understanding the tenuous relation between ICTs and development, especially in developing countries (DCs). The result of this careful exploration was a deeper explanatory framework of Telecentre evaluations for the investigated context underpinned by two analytical frameworks namely Design-Reality Gap framework (DRG) and Postcolonial Theory (PCT). Unlike other research work which were interested in economic indicators as a measure of success or failure or in determining impact, this study; 1) heeded the call to look beyond the quantification approach to apply intangible elements (people issues, culture, emotions, politics, power asymmetries) to understand the underlying dynamics that influence the outcome of Telecentre success or failure; 2) to determine the dynamic processual relationship between the outcomes of the evaluation and the underlying context.; 3) to provide a higher-level depiction of policy makers’ intentions for the continuing establishment of CICs in Ghana. This third analysis was underpinned by the application of postcolonial theory as a complementary analytical lens. The findings not only showed the factors responsible for the failure of the CIC initiative but also surfaced the primary reasons for the reported failure by illustrating the dynamic, complex and reciprocal relationship between the various seed categories representing the dimensions of the DRG framework. The results further indicate that soft constructs were overlooked throughout the process of implementation that negatively affected the suitability of the Telecentres. It was also found that postcolonial legacies influenced the design and implementation of Community Information Centres (CICs) and their subsequent non-use. The study had interesting outcomes some of which have been highlighted in a proposed framework. These new dimensions in the proposed framework have the potential to unearth fundamental gaps that significantly contribute to the outcome of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) initiatives and enable researchers to move a step further in understanding success or failure of pro-poor interventions such as the CICs. The results can be particularly useful for practice by assisting ICT4D practitioners and Telecentre managers to perform a risk analysis before, during and after ICT project implementation. Specifically, it will be useful to designers who should appreciate the essence of contextual (cultural and historical factors), institutional and needs assessment concerns that constrain the implementation of ICT initiatives. Very few studies have been able to combine all three levels of analysis in a single qualitative study and at this depth in evaluating Telecentres in DCs. Additionally, this study is also a response to the call for a more in-depth evaluation of ICT4D initiatives underpinned by theory-/framework-based analysis.
Description: This thesis was submitted for the award of Doctor of Philosophy and was awarded by Brunel University London
Appears in Collections:Computer Science
Dept of Computer Science Theses

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