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IDPM Working papers

Educators' Guide to Development Informatics Working Papers

DI1; DI2; DI3; DI4; DI5; DI6; DI7; DI8; DI9; DI10; DI10a DI11; DI12; DI13; DI14; DI15 ; DI16; DI17; DI18; DI19; DI20; DI21; DI22; DI23 ; DI24; DI25; DI26; DI27; DI28; DI29; DI30, DI31, DI32, DI33, DI34, DI35, DI36, DI37, DI38, DI39, DI40, DI41, DI42, DI43, DI44, DI45, DI46, DI47, DI48, DI49, DI50, DI51, DI52

The guides below provide a set of student questions that deal with both synopsis and development of the ideas presented in the online Development Informatics papers. It is intended that both papers and questions are circulated to students prior to class, and then answers are presented and discussed in class.

The papers can be used for a variety of modules including: Information Systems; ICTs & Society; IT & Globalisation; IT Policy; Technology and Development.

Notes:

DI 1: Evaluation of Donor-Funded Information Technology Transfer Projects in China: A Lifecycle Approach

Erik Baark & Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is technology? What is technology transfer? [part 1]
  2. Describe the IT transfer lifecycle. [parts 1 & 4]
  3. What particular problems are there in transferring IT to developing countries? [part 3]
  4. Summarise the particular issues that arise at each stage of the IT transfer lifecycle. [part 4]
  5. What problems do donor agencies face in their involvement with IT transfer? [parts 5 & 6]

Development Questions

  1. What criteria should we use to evaluate IT transfer projects?
  2. What is technological capability? Why is it important to developing countries? What strategies can such countries adopt to increase their level of technological capability?
  3. How would technology transfer issues differ:
    • if the recipients were private sector not public sector;
    • if a donor agency were not involved;
    • if the IT was being transferred to projects in an industrialised country?
  4. Does a 'lifecycle approach' add any value to our understanding of the IT transfer process?

Go to DI Paper No. 1; Back to the top of this page

DI 2: Romania's Hardware and Software Industry: Building IT Policy and Capabilities in a Transitional Economy

Mihaiela Grundey & Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. What were the pros and cons of Communist-era policies for the development of the Romanian IT industry? [parts 2 & 5]
  2. What is technological capability? Why is it important to developing and transitional countries? What strategies can such countries adopt to increase their level of technological capability? [parts 2, 3 & 5]
  3. How has Romanian IT policy changed since Ceausescu's day? And how has it stayed the same? [parts 2 & 3]
  4. Is Romania's IT industry currently in a sickly or a health state? [part 4]

Development Questions

  1. What lessons can other countries learn from Romania's IT policy experience? [overview]
  2. Explain why IT policy has and has not changed since the Communist era.
  3. Do developing and transitional countries need a national IT policy or should they 'leave it to market forces'?
  4. Should a developing/transitional country's IT industry be entirely public-owned, entirely private-owned, or some combination of the two? Justify your answer on the basis of Romanian experience.
  5. Can a developing/transitional country develop its IT industry without the assistance of multinational corporations? What pros and cons does MNC intervention bring?
  6. What IT policy recommendations would you make to the Romanian government?
  7. Which is more important to a developing/transitional economy: a hardware industry or a software industry?
  8. Where do you think Romania's IT policy and IT industry will be in 10 years' time?

Go to DI Paper No. 2; Back to the top of this page

DI 3: The Uneven Profile of Indian Software Exports

Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. Summarise the current status of Indian software exports. [all parts]
  2. Review the Indian software industry's export skews. What is bad for the industry about these skews? What is good for the industry about these skews? Why to these skews occur? [all parts]
  3. What is 'international division of labour'? Describe the international division of labour in Indian software exports. [part C]

Development Questions

  1. Would you advise developing country governments to try to develop their software industry or not? If you would advise development, would you advise them to target software exports or the domestic market? If you would not advise development, what would you advise as an alternative use of resources?
  2. Make recommendations on future action for:
    • a typical Indian software exporting company;
    • the Indian government.
  3. What will the profile of Indian software exports be in 10 years' time?

Go to DI Paper No. 3; Back to the top of this page

DI 4: The Tyranny of Participation in Information Systems: Learning from Development Projects

Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. What problems arise in practice with participation as a technique? [all parts]
  2. How can we best address the problems with participation in information systems projects? [all parts]

Development Questions

  1. What benefits can participation bring to IS development?
  2. Are there other 'magic bullet' techniques - apart from participation - that are almost universally recommended for IS development and operation? What could you conclude about such techniques?
  3. We are very keen to find simple solutions and 'magic bullets' to address organisational and social problems which are often highly complex. Is this helpful or harmful?
  4. What - if anything - can industrialised countries learn from developing countries about information and information systems?
  5. Why does so much knowledge flow from industrialised countries to developing countries, and so little flow in the reverse direction?

Go to DI Paper No. 4; Back to the top of this page

DI 5: Information and Communication Technologies, Poverty and Development

Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. What contribution, if any, can ICTs make to poverty alleviation and enterprise development in low-income countries? [all parts]
  2. What insights can a systemic view of technology and of enterprise give us? [part A]
  3. What information do poor entrepreneurs need? What constrains them from obtaining and using such information? [part B]
  4. What differing viewpoints are found in the 'technology and development' domain? Why do they arise? What are the costs of the differing viewpoints? [part D]
  5. What priorities does this paper set for information, ICTs and development? How do these differ from the priorities set by those occupying position B in figure 4? [parts D & E]

Development Questions

  1. Do the issues identified in part B represent serious or only minor constraints?
  2. Divide into two groups. Each group has US$10,000 to spend on a village development project. One side should prepare, present and debate a case for spending the money on ICTs. The other side should prepare, present and debate a case for spending the money on an alternative priority (e.g. irrigation, shelter, production technology, etc).
  3. Locate and argue for your position in the figure 4 diagram.
  4. Which is better: an over-optimistic vision of a better world or a realistic understanding of the problems in achieving such a vision?
  5. Review the definition of 'organic information systems'. Does your knowledge of organic food or organic farming systems offer any further insights into sustainable development of information systems?
  6. What practical actions could be used to implement the priorities laid out in part E?

Go to DI Paper No. 5; Back to the top of this page

DI 6: Software Strategies in Developing Countries

Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. Describe the different strategic approaches to software production that developing countries might adopt. [all parts]
  2. How feasible is each of the strategic approaches described? [all parts]
  3. Are software exports "24-carat or fools' gold"? [part 1]
  4. What differentiates developing country winners and losers in software production? [part 5]

Development Questions

  1. What are the benefits to developing countries of building up local software production?
  2. Have India's software successes helped or hindered other developing countries?
  3. You have been called in as a consultant. Make recommendations on future action for:
    • a developing country software company
    • a developing country government
  4. Do you agree that a future Microsoft will not emerge from a developing country?
  5. Are imported packages likely to penetrate all parts of a developing country's domestic software market or will some parts remain that are too specialised/localised for imports? What are the implications of your answer for software production in developing countries?
  6. Is government intervention necessary for software industry development, or should developing countries leave that development to market forces?
  7. Is 'vision' something that you are just born with, or is it something that you can develop?

Go to DI Paper No. 6; Back to the top of this page

DI 7: Information, ICTs and Small Enterprise: Findings from Botswana

Richard Duncombe & Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is a systemic view of ICTs? What insights can it offer? [part A]
  2. What kind of information systems do small enterprises in Botswana use? [part B]
  3. What kind of information do small enterprises in Botswana need? [part B]
  4. What ICT-related categories of enterprise exist in Botswana? What conclusions and recommendations are reached about them? [part D]

Development Questions

  1. As noted, some studies take a 'view that technology is the solution to development problems'. What is this paper's view about technology?
  2. Do you really need to understand so much about information in order to understand ICTs and their role?
  3. How is the status of small enterprises and of ICTs different in Botswana compared to your own country?
  4. Which is more important to a small enterprise: formal or informal information systems?
  5. Are the paper's conclusions valid and generalisable given its choice of country, enterprise groups, and research method?
  6. Based on this paper's findings, what recommendations would you make to: a) a small enterprise support agency operating in Botswana; b) the Botswana government?

Go to DI Paper No. 7; Back to the top of this page

DI 8: International NGOs: Networking, Information Flows and Learning

Shirin Madon

Synopsis Questions

  1. What are INGOs? How and why have they developed? [part A]
  2. What is 'learning from the field', and what value does it have for INGOs? [part B]
  3. How can INGOs improve their learning? What role do information flows and what role do ICTs have to play in enhancing INGO learning? [part C]
  4. How are ICTs changing the working practices of INGOs? [all parts]

Development Questions

  1. Are there any dangers for INGOs in their increasing use of ICTs? For example, what impact may ICTs have on INGO accountability?
  2. Where can ICTs have a greater impact: in a GRO or in an INGO?
  3. Are local-global links possible without ICTs?
  4. Exogenous ICT-based information systems receive much more attention and donor funding than indigenous non-ICT-based information systems. Why is this?
  5. How could you encourage the development of informal information systems in INGOs?
  6. How could you integrate the management (planning, implementation, operation, use) of ICT-based and non-ICT-based information systems in an organisation?

Go to DI Paper No. 8; Back to the top of this page

DI 9: Synching or Sinking: Trajectories and Strategies in Global Software Outsourcing Relationships

Richard Heeks, S. Krishna, Brian Nicholson & Sundeep Sahay

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is global software outsourcing and what forms can it take? [part A]
  2. Explain synching, sinking and the COCPIT framework. [part B]
  3. What 'synching strategies' are adopted within GSO relationships? To what extent did these strategies succeed in the cases described? [part C]
  4. What 'synching strategies' do Indian software developer firms adopt? [part C]
  5. What limits to synching typically arise within GSO relationships? What could be done to address those limits? [part D]
  6. What environmental factors affect GSO relationships? What could be done to address the difficulties those factors sometimes produce? [part D]

Development Questions

  1. How would synching help reduce the communication and coordination costs of a GSO relationship?
  2. Turn the clock back to 1996. What advice would you give to Sierra about its proposed software outsourcing to India?
  3. Who should take responsibility for synching a GSO relationship: the client or the developer?
  4. Why have clients been poor at recognising good practice within their Indian sub-contractors?
  5. What lessons could be transferred from this paper to a) information systems outsourcing more generally; b) software outsourcing within a single country?

Go to DI Paper No. 9; Back to the top of this page

DI 10: Themes and Issues in Telecentre Sustainability

Raul Roman & Royal D. Colle

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is a telecentre? [part A]
  2. In your own words, summarise the ten themes around telecentre sustainability. [part B]
  3. What are the main obstacles to ICT access in telecentres? What role can training play in addressing these obstacles? [part C]
  4. More than just ICT connectivity needs to be provided if telecentres and similar units are to have a beneficial effect on communities.  What more needs to be provided? [parts A-C] 

Development Questions

  1. You live in a small rural community:
    • How could telecentres make life better?
    • How could telecentres make life worse?
    • What aspects of life would they be likely to leave unaffected?
  2. If you had to select just three of the ten themes for telecentre sustainability as the most critical factors, which would you select, and why?
  3. What matters more in sustaining a community ICT initiative: a) national-level factors or community-level factors; b) technology-related factors or people-related factors?
  4. You are planning a community telecentre.  How would you persuade local people to participate in the planning, implementation and operation of that telecentre?
  5. Other than training, how could you address the ICT obstacles described in part C of the paper?

Go to DI Paper No. 10; Back to the top of this page

DI 10a: The Economics of ICTs and Global Inequality: Convergence or Divergence for Developing Countries?

Richard Heeks & Charles Kenny

Synopsis Questions

  1. What theories explain the relation between technology and growth?  What are the current and future trends in relative diffusion of ICTs between developing and industrialised countries?  [Part A]
  2. Why will ICTs have a divergent economic impact on developing and industrialised countries?  [Part B]
  3. What should be developing countries' ICT investment priorities, and why?  [Part C]

Development Questions

  1. Do the ICT successes of countries like India and China undermine the paper's arguments?
  2. Would an approach to the question of convergence and divergence from a sociological or political perspective produce a different conclusion?
  3. Where do mobile phones fit into the picture painted by this paper?
  4. From studies of ICT projects in developing countries, can you identify key elements of the total factor productivity that enables technology to be used efficiently?
  5. Identify two or three recent economic studies on ICTs and development. Do they support or contradict the conclusions drawn in the paper?

Go to DI Paper No. 10a; Back to the top of this page

DI 11: Failure, Success and Improvisation of Information Systems Projects in Developing Countries

Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. Characterise the nature and extent of information systems success and failure in developing countries. [part A]
  2. Why - according to this paper - do developing country information systems succeed or fail? [parts B & C]
  3. What are the archetypal design-reality gaps? Why do they arise? [part C]
  4. What can be done to increase the success rate of developing country information systems? [part D] 

Development Questions

  1. Whose design and whose reality does the creation of design-reality gaps encompass?
  2. Are the seven ITPOSMO dimensions truly 'necessary and sufficient' to explain information systems change in developing country organisations?
  3. Identify a fairly detailed information systems case study from a developing country. Apply the ITPOSMO/design-reality model. Does the model help to explain success or failure of this IS?
  4. Can you envisage other archetypal design-reality gaps that might affect the domain of information systems in developing countries?
  5. Identify other explanations for information systems success and failure. How do they compare with the model presented in this paper?
  6. Identify other recommendations for increasing IS success rates or decreasing IS failure rates. How do they compare with the recommendations presented in this paper?
  7. If you are familiar with an organisation in a developing country, which, if any, of the part D recommendations would be feasible and desirable in that organisation?
  8. What can the North learn from the IS experiences of the South?

Go to DI Paper No. 11; Back to the top of this page

DI 12: Software Export Success Factors and Strategies in Developing and Transitional Economies

Richard Heeks & Brian Nicholson

Synopsis Questions

  1. Why should developing and transitional economies (DTEs) target software exports? [part A]
  2. Summarise the historical and statistical similarities and differences between the '3I' software-exporting nations. [part B]
  3. What is the 'Software Export Success Model' (SESM), and how has it been developed? [part C]
  4. How well do the three 'second-tier' software-exporting nations match up to the SESM? [part D]
  5. Summarise the key recommendations for software-exporting nations deriving from the SESM. [part E]

Development Questions

  1. Is it appropriate to include Israel and Ireland in a paper on 'developing and transitional economies'?  What impact might inclusion of these two countries have on the validity of this paper's analysis and conclusions?
  2. How broad and how credible is the base of evidence used to develop the SESM?
  3. Identify a seventh DTE software-exporting country, and analyse its strengths and weaknesses against the SESM.   What recommendations would you make to government officials in this country for future software export sector development?
  4. Divide into two groups.  One group should prepare and present arguments in favour of one or both of the following propositions.  The other group should prepare and present arguments against:
    • "Software exports should be a key focal sector for developing and transitional economies in the 21 st century."
    • "Developing and transitional economy governments should actively intervene to support the development of their national software export sector."

Go to DI Paper No. 12; Back to the top of this page

DI 13: An Information Systems Perspective on Ethical Trade and Self-Regulation

Richard Duncombe & Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is ethical trade? [part A]
  2. Why has ethical trade arisen? Who is involved in ethical trade? [part A]
  3. What role does information play in ethical trade systems? In what ways may ethical trade regulatory information systems differ from one another? [part B]
  4. What role may ICTs play in ethical trade? [part C]
  5. What key information- and ICT-related issues are relevant to ETRIS? [parts B & C]
  6. What is self-regulation, and how does it relate to ethical trade and to ethical trade's information and ICT issues? [part D]

Development Questions

  1. Select an ethical trade issue (e.g. child labour, union recognition, fair pay, workplace safety, etc).  Then:
    • Identify key stakeholders who would be involved in the monitoring and control of this issue.
    • Design an information system that would capture, process and output relevant data.
    • Identify what role ICTs could play in the information system.
  2. Identify an ethical trade (or, failing that, a fair trade) Web site.  Treat it as an ethical trade regulatory information system (ETRIS) and then:
    • Map out an overview picture of its ethical trade data content, and identify what data quality issues might affect this content.
    • Answer the other ETRIS evaluation questions as best you can for the Web site.
    • Evaluate the site in two other ways: in relation to the stakeholders it involves (as data sources or processors or recipients); and deciding whether it provides a 'monitoring' or a 'monitoring and comparison' information system.
    • Consider what value - if any - ICTs have brought to this ETRIS.
    • Finally, draw some overall conclusions about the site as an ETRIS.
  3. Web-enabled systems are often said to have three initial chronological stages: publishing (one-way provision of data); communication (two-way, interactive development of information); and transactions (conducting trade/service processes online).  What can each of these offer to ethical trade?  What challenges/issues might they raise?
  4. Discuss the pros and cons of ICT-enabled disintermediation vs. ICT-enabled reintermediation in the provision of ethical trade data and ethical trade services to consumers.
  5. The paper mainly discusses information in the operation of producer-focused ethical trade initiatives.  But what role does information play in other aspects of ethical trade, e.g. in the planning of ethical trade initiatives, and in advocacy work?  Can you develop any informational models or issues for these 'other aspects'?
  6. The Internet is - in many ways - a self-regulatory system.  What implications might this paper raise for governance of the Internet?

Go to DI Paper No. 13; Back to the top of this page

DI 14: Information Management Strategy Formation in Northern Development NGOs

Michael Schueber

There is no educators' guide to this paper because of its length.

Go to DI Paper No. 14; Back to the top of this page

DI 15: Building Iran's Software Industry: An Assessment of Plans and Prospects Using the Software Export Success Model

Brian Nicholson & Sundeep Sahay

Synopsis Questions

  1. Describe the research approach used in this study. [parts A-B]
  2. What is the 'Software Export Success Model' (SESM)? [part C]
  3. How well does Iran match up to the Software Export Success Model? [parts D & E]
  4. What must Iran do in order to become a successful software-exporting nation? [part F]
  5. Were there elements of the Software Export Success Model that were not applicable to Iran and/or were there elements missing from the Model that were found in Iran? [part F]

Development Questions

  1. Is it appropriate for Iran to dedicate significant resources to development of its software sector?
  2. What impact might a software sector - particularly software exports - have on Iranian development?
  3. How does Iran's history and its regional location affect the prospects for software exports?
  4. Consider the suggestion that China could be a good exemplar for Iran to follow: how similar and how different are those two countries?
  5. What is your overall conclusion about Iran - is it likely to be a successful software exporter or not?
  6. What are the implications of the Iranian case for other developing/transitional economies?

Go to DI Paper No. 15; Back to the top of this page

DI 16: Knowledge and Learning in Online Networks in Development: A Social Capital Perspective

Sarah Cummings, Richard Heeks & Marleen Huysman

Synopsis Questions

  1. Why is knowledge important to development? [part A]
  2. What role can online networks play in generating knowledge for development? What issues arise in such networks? [part B]
  3. What is social capital, and how applicable is it as a concept to online development networks? [part C]
  4. What criticisms can be levelled at social capital as a development-related concept? [part D]
  5. What models can be used to characterise social capital in online networks? [part E]
  6. Outline the proposed framework for analysis of social capital in online development networks. [part F]

Development Questions

  1. How could an understanding of social capital help you to manage an online development network, and to make that network produce knowledge for development?
  2. Has the proposed framework addressed issues that arise in online development networks, and criticisms of social capital?
  3. Reflect on your own experience online. Is this a good way to produce knowledge? Is social capital better or worse in virtual as opposed to 'real' networks? From your answers, what conclusions can you draw about online development networks?

Go to DI Paper No. 16; Back to the top of this page

DI 17: Uncertainty and Coordination in Global Software Projects: A UK/India-Centred Case Study

Su-Ying Lai, Richard Heeks & Brian Nicholson

Synopsis Questions

  1. What kind of project was used for this case study? [part A]
  2. What are 'uncertainty' and 'coordination' in software projects? How are they related? [part B]
  3. What types of uncertainty and coordination were found in the case project? [part C]
  4. On the basis of the case evidence, what recommendations would you make to the manager of a global software development project? [part D]

Development Questions

  1. What limitations does the research method described in this paper have?
  2. Do uncertainty and coordination tell us all we need to know about global software project management?
  3. How might uncertainty and coordination issues differ if the developers had been based in the US and UK, rather than the UK and India?
  4. How might the findings differ for i) a larger project, and ii) a two-site rather than seven-/eight-site project?
  5. Turn the clock back to early 2002. What advice would you give to Company A about the management of its software development project?
  6. Will truly virtual global software teams ever be possible?

Go to DI Paper No. 17; Back to the top of this page

DI 18: The Impact of eReadiness on eCommerce Success in Developing Countries: Firm-Level Evidence

Alemayehu Molla

Synopsis Questions

  1. Describe the notion of e-readiness in general and in this study in particular (Introduction)
  2. Analyse the assumptions embedded in the research methodology and its strengths and weaknesses (Parts A & B)
  3. Explain the relationship between e-readiness and e-commerce success (Part C)
  4. What must businesses in developing countries do to achieve greater e-commerce success? (Parts D & E)
  5. What must governments and other institutions in developing countries do to facilitate e-commerce success? (Parts D& E)

Development Questions

  1. Is the notion of e-commerce for development just technology-driven hype or does it have real value for developing countries?
  2. What impact does a country's level of e-readiness have on e-commerce success?
  3. In view of the dot.com crash, should businesses in developing countries continue investment in e-commerce projects?
  4. How does the diffusion of e-commerce in industrialised countries affect businesses in developing countries?
  5. How does the diffusion of e-commerce in developing countries affect businesses in industrialised countries?
  6. Identify a real-world organisation that has adopted e-commerce. Analyse it to draw out the factors that affect its e-commerce success and compare your findings with the findings in the paper. Are they comparable?
  7. How specific to, or generalisable from, South Africa do you think the findings presented here are?
  8. Discuss the research model and suggest ways to improve it. Are there variables that are included in the model that should not have been, or others that should have been included but are missing from the model?

Go to DI Paper No. 18; Back to the top of this page

DI 19: Growth and Formalisation of Information Systems in Developing Country SMEs

Richard Duncombe

Synopsis Questions

  1. How is the enterprise information system defined in the context of this study? [part A]
  2. What are the reasons given for adopting a combination of qualitative and quantitative approaches to data collection? [part B]
  3. Why is it important for SMEs to move from informal to formal information systems? [part C]
  4. What factors affect the formalisation of IS in SMEs? [part D]

Development Questions

  1. Some studies take a view that information represents a critical resource for enterprise development. What is this paper's view about the role of information?
  2. Why are external (business) linkages critical for enterprise development?
  3. How is the use of ICTs by SMEs different in Botswana compared to your own country?
  4. Which is more important to a small enterprise: formal or informal information systems?
  5. Are the paper's conclusions valid and generalisable given its choice of country, enterprise groups, and research method?
  6. Based on this paper's findings, what recommendations for action would you make to: a) a small enterprise support agency operating in Botswana; b) the Botswana government?

Go to DI Paper No. 19; Back to the top of this page

DI 20: ICT Initiatives, Women and Work in Developing Countries: Reinforcing or Changing Gender Inequalities in South India?

Shoba Arun, Richard Heeks and Sharon Morgan

Synopsis

  1. What is the relationship between gender, ICTs and work? [part A]
  2. What contextual factors may impact the two cases described? [part B]
  3. What has been the impact of the TechnoPark ICT project? [part C]
  4. What has been the impact of the Kudumbashree ICT project? [part D]
  5. What main lessons can be drawn from the two contrasting approaches to ICT projects? [part E]

Development

  1. Can ICTs be part of the solution to gender inequality?
  2. Is it reasonable to draw general conclusions from just two case studies based in a single state in India?
  3. You are a consultant asked to give advice to an NGO that wants to use ICTs to promote women's development. What advice would you give?
  4. Can you draw any lessons from the paper about globalisation?
  5. Given that government is strongly shaped by the prevailing socio-cultural context, can it really be any better than the market/private sector at addressing gender relations?
  6. Are there any ways in which men may be more disadvantaged than women by ICTs?

Go to DI Paper No. 20; Back to the top of this page

DI 21: A Profile of Nigeria's Software Industry

H. Abimbola Soriyan and R. Heeks

Synopsis

  1. Summarise the profile of the Nigerian software industry [parts A-C]
  2. Which strategic position does the Nigerian software industry occupy on the quadrant model? [part D]

Development

  1. Should Nigeria give priority to its software sector, or to other sectors?
  2. Can Nigeria become another "India" in software terms?
  3. If you were head of a software company in Nigeria, what strategic direction would you take, and why?
  4. If you were the Nigerian government minister with responsibility for software, what policy actions would you adopt, and why?
  5. What lessons can be drawn from the Nigerian experience for other developing countries?

Go to DI Paper No. 21; Back to the top of this page

DI 22: The Impact of eReadiness on eCommerce Success in Developing Countries: Firm-Level Evidence

Alemayehu Molla

Synopsis

  1. What are the dominant beliefs about the role of e-commerce in developing countries? [Introduction]
  2. Identify and discuss the main theories that underlie e-commerce benefits in general and in developing countries in particular. Identify any assumptions embedded in the theories. [Part A]
  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of perception-based measures in assessing e-commerce benefits? How valid are such measures? [Part B]
  4. Critically analyse and discuss the findings of this study. What lessons can you draw? [Part C]
  5. What must businesses in developing countries do to benefit more from e-commerce? [Part D]

Development

  1. Is the notion of e-commerce for development just technology-driven hype or does it have real value for developing countries?
  2. Do you believe that lack of e-commerce use by businesses in developing countries affects the nature and structure of their relationship to global commodity chains?
  3. eCommerce can shift the power from sellers to buyers. Do you agree with this assumption? What are the implications of this assumption for encouraging more use of e-commerce by producing and exporting organisations in developing countries?
  4. Discuss the negative consequences of disintermediation to businesses in developing countries.
  5. Identify a real-world organisation that has implemented e-commerce. Analyse it to draw out the benefits that the organisation obtained from using e-commerce and compare your findings with the findings in the paper. Are they comparable?
  6. How specific to, or generalisable from, South Africa do you think the findings presented here are?

Go to DI Paper No. 22; Back to the top of this page

DI 23: Human Resource Development Policy in the Context of Software Exports: Case Evidence from Costa Rica

Brian Nicholson & Sundeep Sahay

Synopsis Questions

  1. What elements of national policy for software exports are particularly important? [Introduction]
  2. What HR strategies have leading software exporting nations adopted? [Part A]
  3. Describe the research approach used in this study. [Part B]
  4. What are the main HR issues facing Costa Rica's software industry? [Part C]
  5. What must Costa Rica do to strengthen human resources in order to become a successful software-exporting nation? [Part D]

Development Questions

  1. Does government policy on HR for software industry development really matter, or can this all be left to the private sector?
  2. What impact might a software sector - particularly software exports - have on Costa Rican development?
  3. Do you think Costa Rica's software industry should focus on English language skills and on the US market? Are there alternatives?
  4. Consider the suggestion that Costa Rica policy should focus on developing high spectrum skills. What feasible alternatives might there be?
  5. What are the implications of the Costa Rican case for other developing/transitional economies?

Go to DI Paper No. 23; Back to the top of this page

DI 24: Success and Failure of ERP Technology Transfer: A Framework for Analysing Congruence of Host and System Cultures

Alemayehu Molla and Ioannis Loukis

Synopsis Questions

  1. Summarise the importance of culture in the global diffusion of information technology. [Introduction]
  2. Summarise the hard, soft and socio-technical conception of information systems generally and ERP systems specifically. [Parts A & B]
  3. What dimensions should be used for cultural analysis of ERP systems and their host organisations? [Part C]
  4. How can we measure ERP success and failure? [Part D]
  5. Summarise the system-host cultural congruence of the case study ERP system, and the impact of that congruence. [Part E]
  6. What must organisations in developing countries that are considering ERP implementation do to draw better value from their investment? [Part F]

Development Questions

  1. Evaluate the influence of culture on IT and IT's contribution to development.
  2. Critically evaluate the framework suggested in Figure 1. What are its strengths and weaknesses? How can it be improved?
  3. Identify a real world case organisation that has implemented ERP. Using the framework suggested in this paper, analyse the case to draw out the cultural dimensions and their impact on the process and outcome of ERP. Compare your findings with the example discussed in the paper.
  4. What factors other than culture contribute to ERP success and failure?
  5. What are the broader implications if the failure rate of ERP implementations in developing countries is higher than the failure rate in industrialised countries?

Go to DI Paper No. 24; Back to the top of this page

DI 25: Analysing the Software Sector in Developing Countries Using Competitive Advantage Theory

Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. Summarise why the software sector may be seen as important to developing countries. [Part A]
  2. Summarise Porter's theory of competitive advantage. [Part B]
  3. Does India's software industry demonstrate a competitive advantage?  If so, why?  If not, why not? [Part C]
  4. What is good and bad about using Porter's theory of competitive advantage to research development informatics issues? [Part D]

Development Questions

  1. Find further evidence to address the question of whether ICT production or ICT consumption are more important in development.  Draw your own conclusions.
  2. Identify two other theories of competition and/or competitiveness that could be applied to issues of software sector development.
  3. With such a small share of the world market, can India's software industry truly be described as "globally competitive"?
  4. Can apparently simple models like Porter's diamond properly reflect real life?
  5. Can Porter's model really be called a "theory" or is it something else?
  6. Porter's model was formulated during the 1980s.  Is there a sense in which it is now "past its sell-by date"?
  7. Identify at least three other development informatics research questions to which Porter's theory could usefully be applied.

Go to DI Paper No. 25; Back to the top of this page

DI 26: SMEs and E-commerce in Developing Countries: Frameworks for Assessing the Role of Change Agents

Richard Duncombe and Alemayehu Molla

Synopsis Questions

  1. What are the limitations of past research on e-commerce in developing countries? [Part A]
  2. Discuss the main features of change agent and motivation ability theory. [Part B]
  3. Why are motivational factors seen to be of equal or greater importance for e-commerce development than organisational factors? [Part B]
  4. On what research base is the paper founded? [Part C]
  5. What frameworks can be used for understanding SMEs, e-commerce and change agents in developing countries? [Part D]
  6. Summarise the key contribution of the new frameworks to understanding of SMEs, e-commerce and change agents in developing countries. [Part E]

Development Questions

  1. Explain the potential of e-commerce for SMEs in developing countries and discuss the constraints to realising the benefits.
  2. E-commerce is likely to advantage developed countries and disadvantage developing countries: discuss.
  3. What are the strengths and weaknesses of using the change agent and motivation ability theories in the context of e-commerce in SMEs?
  4. Identify methodological weaknesses of the paper and suggest ways for improvement.
  5. Suggest realistic recommendations to help SMEs in developing countries benefit from e-commerce.
  6. Critically evaluate and discuss the three frameworks presented in this study.  How can these frameworks be improved?

Go to DI Paper No. 26; Back to the top of this page

DI 27: Analysing ICTs for Poverty Reduction Using Livelihoods Framework

Richard Duncombe

Synopsis Questions

  1. Why is rural micro-enterprise important in developing countries?  [part B]
  2. Outline what is meant by the "livelihoods framework".  [part C]
  3. What roles are there for information and communication within the livelihoods framework?  [part D]
  4. Use a livelihoods framework approach to summarise the potential for information and for ICTs in poverty reduction through micro-enterprise in Botswana.  [part E]
  5. To what extent does the livelihoods framework represent a useful tool for understanding ICT and poverty?  [part F]

Development Questions

  1. The application of the livelihoods framework suggests a limited role for ICT as a tool for poverty reduction through micro-enterprise.  Suggest the reasons why this is the case.
  2. Why is it important to consider information resources ahead of ICT resources when analysing poverty reduction through micro-enterprise?
  3. It is suggested that we differentiate our approach to understanding ICT and poverty reduction according to the different 'income generating portfolios, vulnerabilities and capabilities' of those in poverty.  Why is a differentiated approach important?
  4. To what extent should ICTs be prioritised as tools for poverty reduction within micro-enterprise development programmes?  
  5. What other ICTs-for-development research questions could the livelihoods framework be applied to?
  6. What other frameworks could be utilised to evaluate the impact of ICTs for poverty reduction?

Go to DI Paper No. 27; Back to the top of this page

DI 28: Organisational Risk and Change in Nearshoring CMM Certification - Questions

Martha Macias-Garza & Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. Give a cost/benefit analysis of CMM appraisal for a developing country software exporter. [Part A]
  2. Explain the model used to analyse risk and change. [Part B]
  3. What were the main initial sources of risk for CMM appraisal in Softtek? [Part C1]
  4. What organisational changes were undertaken to support CMM appraisal? [Part C2]
  5. What overall messages does the paper give about CMM appraisal and about the design-reality gap model? [Part D]

Development Questions

  1. Overall, if you were advising a different offshoring or nearshoring firm in a developing country, would you recommend attempting CMM appraisal?
  2. What are the dangers of undertaking change initiatives in a software firm that are propelled by overseas, external drivers rather than by internal drivers?
  3. There are few, if any, signs within the case study of "traditional" developing country issues. Why is that?
  4. What specific issues face nearshoring and offshoring software firms in relation to software process improvement appraisal?
  5. Look at one of the cited papers that takes a factor-based approach to understanding software process improvement as an organisational change (Stelzer & Mellis 1998, Dyba 2000, Jakobsen et al 2003). Is this type of approach to analysing change better or worse than the design-reality gap approach?
  6. Find a different but detailed individual case study of software process improvement and apply the design-reality gap model to it.

Go to DI Paper No. 28; Back to the top of this page

DI 29: Mobile Telephony and Developing Country Micro-Enterprise: A Nigerian Case Study - Questions

Abi Jagun, Richard Heeks & Jason Whalley

Synopsis Questions

  1. What are the main informational and related characteristics of developing country micro-enterprise supply chains?  [Part A]
  2. How might mobile phones impact developing country micro-enterprise supply chains?  [Part A]
  3. In what ways is the aso oke sector similar to or different from the typical informational, process and structural characteristics of developing country micro-enterprise?  [Part B]
  4. In what ways do stakeholders access mobile phones?  [Part C]
  5. What has been the impact of mobile telephony on the process and structure of commerce in this particular micro-enterprise sector?  [Part C]

Development Questions

  1. What would be the impact if the stakeholders in this case had reliable access to Internet-connected PCs in addition to mobile phones?
  2. Technology has always been associated with inequality.  What sort of inequality are mobile phones causing in this case study – absolute inequality ("the rich get rich and the poor get poorer") or relative inequality ("everyone gets richer but the rich get even richer")?
  3. What are the pros and cons of using an in-depth interview and observational approach, as opposed to a large-scale survey, in gathering data on the impact of mobile telephony in developing countries?
  4. Why are mobile phones having so much greater an impact, so much more quickly, than fixed-line phones?
  5. As mobile phone penetration spreads, how do you think the impact picture will look in, say, ten years' time?
  6. What recommendations, if any, would you make to the following people on the basis of what you have read: a) an aso oke weaver; b) a manager in a mobile operator company; c) an official in the office of the telecommunications regulator?

Go to DI Paper No. 29; Back to the top of this page

DI 30: Researching ICT-Based Enterprise in Developing Countries: Analytical Tools and Models

Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. In what ways can we classify ICT-based enterprses in developing countries? [Parts A & B]
  2. How can we understand competition between developing country IBEs? [Part C]
  3. Compare the different ways in which impact of developing country ICT-based enterprises can be assessed. [Part D]
  4. How could you research the context of developing country IBEs? [Part E]
  5. What is the "enterprise lifecycle" and how can it be studied in the case of ICT-based enterprses in developing countries? [Part F]
  6. What other tools can be used to research developing country IBEs? [Part G]

Development Questions

  1. What is missing from this paper: what other analytical frameworks could be used to research ICT-based enterprise in developing countries?
  2. Many of the ideas and models are drawn from generic enterprise research, including generic research from industrialised countries. Does this present any problems for research specifically about IBEs in developing countries?
  3. Use one (or more) of the analytical frameworks to produce a short proposal for new research on IBEs in developing countries.
  4. Identify an example of research on developing country IBEs. Which, if any, of the listed analytical frameworks does it use?
  5. The paper says nothing about underlying ontology and epistemology. Does it at least provide a consistent implicit perspective on these?

Go to DI Paper No. 30; Back to the top of this page

DI 31: Deconstructing Community Participation in Telecentre Projects

Savita Bailur

Synopsis Questions

  1. What are the main perspectives on the impact of telecentres? [Part A]
  2. What are the complexities/challenges underlying key concepts such as "community" [Part B], " evaluation" [Part C], "stakeholder" [Part D], "participation" [Part E] [plus Part F for all]

Development Questions

  1. How would you define participation in telecentre projects?
  2. Do you think community participation leads to telecentre success? Can you find any examples to support your argument?
  3. Is participation a paradoxical notion? That is, participation implies someone else “owns” the project. Should we be talking about ownership instead of participation? Or is participation a worthwhile and more realistic notion, given that telecentre implementers are likely to have more technical and managerial expertise than community members?
  4. Imagine you are in charge of a proposed telecentre project. How would you try to ensure its success?

Go to DI Paper No. 31; Back to the top of this page

DI 32: Current Analysis and Future Research Agenda on "Gold Farming": Real-World Production in Developing Countries for the Virtual Economies of Online Games

Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. On the basis of key estimates, give an outline of the history and nature of gold farming at sectoral, enterprise and individual levels. [Part A]
  2. Outline some of the key economic features of gold farming. What economic frameworks could we use to analyse and further research gold farming? [Part B]
  3. Outline some of the key features of gold farming exposed by industrial sociology. What industrial sociology frameworks could we use to analyse and further research gold farming? [Part C]
  4. Outline some of the key features of gold farming exposed by enterprise schema.What enterprise frameworks could we use to analyse and further research gold farming? [Part D]
  5. What do we know about the developmental impact of gold farming, and how might we analyse it further? [Part E]
  6. What can we learn about gold farming from the viewpoint of perception and discourse? What can gold farming tell us about relations between the virtual and the real? [Part F]
  7. What key elements might we identify for a future research agenda on gold farming? [Part G]

Development Questions

  1. Could gold farming be a chimera; a figment of the imagination or, at least, far smaller in reality than its online appearance?
  2. What other examples of "cyber-work" can you identify that could be done in developing countries: i.e. work done online? What other examples of "liminal ICT work" can you identify in developing countries; i.e. ICT-based work that is around or below the threshold of what is socially-acceptable and/or legally-permitted.
  3. Which of the analytical "lenses" offered would you use for gold farming research, and why?
  4. Undertake content, traffic and ownership analysis of a set of gold farming web sites. What do you conclude?

Go to DI Paper No. 32; Back to the top of this page

DI33: Nation States, Networks of Flows and ICT-Enabled Development: Learning from Jordan

Chris Westrup & Saheer Al-Jaghoub

Synopsis Questions

  1. What roles for the nation state are proposed in the literature?  [Part A].
  2. What research methods were used here, and why are they particularly appropriate for study of national ICT policies and initiatives?  [Part B].
  3. What key features have shaped the Jordanian polity in the late 20th and early 21st centuries?  [Part C].
  4. What are the key features of Jordan's REACH initiative?  [Part D].
  5. What key issues are raised in analysing Jordan's attempts at ICT-enabled development?  [Parts E & F].

Development Questions

  1. If you were the government minister in charge of a small developing state's ICT-enabled development policy, what lessons would you draw?
  2. Would you advise Jordan to have kept on with REACH or to have abandoned it and looked for non-ICT-based development priorities?
  3. Would there be either a possibility or a benefit of a more "autarchic" ICT-enabled development path that sought to focus on local actors, and to break away from global flows and global actors?
  4. How can you create ICT-related state institutions with "embedded autonomy"?
  5. Analyse the role of the US and US organisations in the outcomes of REACH.  What conclusions would you draw for other developing countries?

Go to DI Paper No. 33; Back to the top of this page

DI34: Conceptualising Information Culture in Developing Countries

Yingqin Zheng & Richard Heeks

Synopsis Questions

  1. How might writings on information systems/society and developing countries be characterised … and criticised?  [Part A]
  2. How can structuration theory be applied to create a model of information culture? [Part B]
  3. Describe the three components of information culture – literacy, openness, and norms – in China.  [Part C]
  4. What conclusions can we draw about information culture and developing countries?  [Part D]

Development Questions

  1. Does the addition of ideas from a "heavyweight" theory like structuration theory really add anything to the argument of the paper?
  2. Is there really such a thing as "information culture"?  What forces of information culture, if any, impact your behaviour?
  3. What does the paper seek to extrapolate from the China fieldwork to other developing countries?  How legitimate is such extrapolation?
  4. Imagine you are project manager of a forthcoming ICT4D project.  What priorities and actions might the notion of "information culture" suggest to you?

Go to DI Paper No. 34; Back to the top of this page

DI35: Analyzing Telecentres Using Postcolonial Theory

Savita Bailur

Synopsis Questions

  1. What are the key concepts of postcolonial theory as described by this paper?  [Part A].
  2. What main messages emerge in applying postcolonial theory concepts to analysis of telecentres?  [Part B].
  3. What are the limitations of applying the theory to the concept of telecentres?  [Part C].

Development Questions

  1. Could postcolonial theory be applied to other ICT for development initiatives and if so, how?
  2. Identify some examples (either from your own experience or from telecentre literature) to illustrate Bhabha's notion of hybridity and palimpsests applied to telecentres.
  3. What practical recommendations for ICT policy or for telecentre implementation might emerge from postcolonial theory?
  4. Will application of this academic theory tell us anything we could not find out without the use of theory?
  5. How would you design telecentre evaluation research that did "let the subaltern speak"?

Go to DI Paper No. 35; Back to the top of this page

DI36: Impact Assessment of ICT-for-Development Projects: A Compendium of Approaches

Richard Heeks & Alemayehu Molla

Synopsis Questions

  1. What are the key questions and models and impact outcomes that guide ICT4D impact assessment?  [Overview Part 1].
  2. How can we classify different approaches to ICT4D impact assessment?  [Overview Part 2].
  3. Select and summarise one of the impact assessment frameworks  [Frameworks section].

Development Questions

  1. Select an item of ICT4D literature (not summarised in the Compendium).  Can you analyse which elements of the ICT4D value chain apply to this literature item?
  2. If you were going to choose a framework to assess the impact of ICT4D, what selection criteria would you adopt?
  3. Identify at least one missing framework, not presented in the Compendium, which could be used for ICT4D impact assessment.
  4. Identify an ICT4D impact assessment (not summarised in the Compendium).  Summarise it using the "Examples of Use" single-page format.
  5. The frameworks are presented for ICT4D project impact assessment.  Which, if any, might be used for ICT4D policy impact assessment?
  6. Does anyone ever really take notice of ICT4D impact assessment findings?  What are the implications of your answer?

Go to DI Paper No. 36; Back to the top of this page

DI37: Mobile Phones and Financial Services in Developing Countries: A Review of Concepts, Methods, Issues, Evidence and Future Research Directions

Richard Duncombe & Richard Boateng

Synopsis Questions

  1. Why is m-finance research worth investigating? [Section A].
  2. What categorisation frameworks can we use when overviewing m-finance research? [Section B]
  3. Describe the way in which past m-finance research was selected and analysed in the review. [Section C].
  4. Summarise the focus and issues found in past m-finance research. [Section D].
  5. How are conceptual approaches categorised in the review? ;How does the review differentiate the ‘depth of theorising’ of the conceptual approaches identified? What are the different research methods represented in m-finance research? [Section E].
  6. What are the key research gaps identified in m-finance research? What are some of the recommendations for future research directions in m-finance research? [Section F].

Development Questions

  1. In what other ways could m-finance research be approached?
  2. What is your own viewpoint on the use of mobile phones for the delivery of financial services in developing countries? How might your viewpoint affect any research you do on the subject?
  3. Why do you think, at this stage, this area of research is skewed towards design and adoption issues, rather than needs and impact?
  4. From amongst the theoretical approaches discussed in the paper, which can make the most useful contribution to: a) m-finance research? b) m-finance practice?
  5. How would you assess the methodological approaches of the studies surveyed?
  6. Should academic research drive the approaches of practitioners or should practitioners drive the research agenda?
  7. What topics/research questions do you think should be prioritised for m-finance research over the next five years?

Go to DI Paper No. 37; Back to the top of this page

DI38: Remoteness, Exclusion and Telecentres in Mountain Regions: Analysing ICT-Based "Information Chains" in Pazos, Peru

Richard Heeks & Laura León Kanashiro

Synopsis Questions

  1. Why are mountain areas important, and what challenges do they face?  What models can we use to understand the relation between ICTs and mountain communities?  [Part A].
  2. Describe the research location, Pazos, and the ERTIC project that it was a part of.  [Part B].
  3. In what ways was the Pazos telecentre used and not used; and by whom?  [Part C].
  4. What support does the research offer for the resource movement and information chain models?  What impact did ICTs have on remoteness and exclusion in this project?  What recommendations for practice are made?  [Part D].

Development Questions

  1. Is there actually anything special about studying ICTs in mountain areas as compared to ICTs in rural areas in general?
  2. Are there other ways of characterising mountain communities that would help explain the role of ICTs in those communities?
  3. If you were to undertake an impact study of a mountain-area telecentre, what research methods would you use, and why?
  4. Would the impact on the mountain community be better or worse if a) no charge was made for telecentre usage; b) no controls were placed on how the telecentre was used?
  5. Find some other case evidence on ICTs in mountain areas.  Can you use the resource movement and/or the information chain models to analyse these cases?
  6. Find some other case evidence on ICTs in mountain areas.  Putting this together with the Pazos study, what is your conclusion: are ICTs a "good thing" or a "bad thing" for mountain areas?

Go to DI Paper No. 38; Back to the top of this page

DI39: Impact Assessment of Mobile Phones on Development: Concepts, Methods and Lessons for Practice

Richard Duncombe

Synopsis Questions

  1. Why is impact assessment (IA) of m-development currently relevant?  [Part A].
  2. Why, for whom, and how, is impact assessment conventionally undertaken?  [Part B1/B2].
  3. What type of impact and what level of assessment did the reviewed IA studies focus on?  [Part B3/B4].
  4. What are the different IA research methods represented in m-development studies?  [Part C].
  5. What are the key gaps in methodological approach?  [Part C].
  6. What key "building block" choices to m-development IA researchers face?  [Part D]

Development Questions

  1. In what other ways could m-development IA be approached?
  2. What is your own viewpoint on the relative merits of mixed method IA and purely participatory methods for assessing m-development interventions?  How might your viewpoint affect any assessment you carry out?
  3. Why do you think, at this stage, this area of study is skewed towards information economics on the one hand, and assessment of social capital indicators on the other?
  4. From amongst the methodological approaches discussed in the paper, which can make the most useful contribution to: a) project level IA b) programme level IA; c) policy level IA?
  5. To what extent can academic research inform the requirements of practitioners for IA in m-development?
  6. What topics/approaches should be prioritised for m-development IA over the next five years?

Go to DI Paper No. 39; Back to the top of this page

DI40: Analysing the Mobile Telecommunications Market in a Developing Country: A Socio-Technical Perspective on Pakistan

Ping Gao & Adnan Rafiq

Synopsis Questions

  1. Why research the telecommunications market in a developing country?  [Introduction].
  2. What model is suggested for analysing the telecommunications market?  [Part A].
  3. Summarise the development of the mobile telecommunications sector in Pakistan between 1990 and 2007.  [Part B].
  4. What factors contributed to the development of the mobile telecommunications sector in Pakistan between 1990 and 2007?  [Part C1].
  5. What conclusions can be drawn from comparing Pakistan's experience to that of other developing countries?  [Part C2].

Development Questions

  1. What factors might the analysis framework described in Part A be missing?
  2. Out of the four factors identified in the analytical framework, which one would you argue is most important?
  3. If advising mobiles telecommunications policy makers in another developing country, what key recommendations would you make on the basis of this paper?

Go to DI Paper No. 40; Back to the top of this page

DI41: Assessing the Potential for Mobile Payments in Africa: Approaches and Evidence from Uganda

Richard Duncombe

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is the evidence from the current literature of uptake of m-payments services in Africa: give some examples  [Section B].
  2. Why is an understanding of the way in which markets operate essential for the analysis of m-payments potential?  [Section B].
  3. For the analysis of m-payments potential in Uganda, how does the article distinguish between: a) market-push and market-pull factors; and, b) drivers and constraints for change?  [Sections B & C & D].
  4. The paper outlines four key constraints to change (Fig 2).  Which might be: a) the most difficult; b) the least difficult to overcome? Explain why.  [Sections E & F].
  5. What are the key factor(s) that determine potential for m-payments?  [Section F].

Development Questions

  1. What are the factors that limit the market as a mechanism for delivering m-payment services?
  2. What is your own viewpoint on the use of mobile phones for conducting payments in Africa? How might your viewpoint affect any research you do on the subject?
  3. In what ways might the growth of m-payment services in Africa benefit or  dis-benefit the poor?
  4. What topics/research questions do you think should be prioritised for m-payments research over the next five years?
  5. In what other ways could assessment of the potential for m-payments be approached?

Go to DI Paper No. 41; Back to the top of this page

DI42: The ICT4D 2.0 Manifesto: Where Next for ICTs and International Development?

Richard Duncombe

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is the justification for ICT4D?  [Part A]
  2. Describe the identified chronology from ICT4D 0.0 to ICT4D 2.0.  [Part B]
  3. What are the identified technological priorities for ICT4D 2.0?  [Part C]
  4. What are the identified innovation models for ICT4D 2.0?  [Part D]
  5. What changes to implementation will and should be made during ICT4D 2.0?  [Part E]
  6. What are the identified worldviews impinging on ICT4D, and how should they be handled in ICT4D 2.0?  [Part F]
  7. How is ICT4D 2.0 different from ICT4D 1.0?  [Part G]

Development Questions

  1. Are we so busy trying to look forwards to the "next big thing" that we fail to notice what is actually around at present in ICT4D?
  2. Is the idea of ICT4D phases credible or not?
  3. What priorities would you identify for the future of ICT4D?
  4. Is the future for ICT4D mobiles or telecentres, mobiles and telecentres, or something else?
  5. Identify some ICT4D projects – do they represent pro-, para- or per-poor innovation?
  6. Where is your, or your group's, own disciplinary strength – computer science, information systems or development studies?  What actions might you require in order to develop a more integrated perspective?
  7. What, if anything, might constitute "ICT4D 3.0"?  Can we gain anything by trying to look so far ahead on the curve?

Go to DI Paper No. 42; Back to the top of this page

DI43: Internet Usage Under Authoritarian Regimes: Conviviality, Community, Blogging and Online Campaigning in Iran

Aghil Ameripour, Brian Nicholson & Michael Newman

Synopsis Questions

  1. How might writings on information systems/society and developing countries be characterised?  [Part A]
  2. Describe the components of Ivan Illich’s view of conviviality.  [Part B]
  3. Explain the background to the research.  [Part C]
  4. What role was played by Internet usage in the two case studies?  [Part D]
  5. From the case studies and critique, what conclusions can we draw about Internet-based social networks, conviviality and developing countries?  [Part E]

Development Questions

  1. Does the addition of ideas from Ivan Illich add anything to the argument of the paper?
  2. The case studies show that Internet-based social networks had some impact – what was this? What were the limitations of the capacity of the networks to inculcate change? What constrained the effects?
  3. Does the paper seek to extrapolate from the Iran fieldwork to other developing countries?  How legitimate would such extrapolation be?
  4. Imagine you are involved in Internet policymaking in a developing country.  What priorities and actions might the notion of conviviality suggest to you?

Go to DI Paper No. 43; Back to the top of this page

DI44: A New ICT Maturity Model for Education Institutions in Developing Countries

Julian M. Bass

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is action research? How was the methodology used to develop and test the Maturity Model?  [Part A]
  2. What is a maturity model? Describe the main features and levels of the Maturity Model presented in the paper?  [Part B]
  3. What lessons can be learned from applying the Maturity Model in practice?  [Part C]

Development Questions

  1. What limitations might have occurred due to use of an action research methodology?
  2. How could you evaluate and test the limits of applicability of a Maturity Model?
  3. How could you use the Maturity Model to develop an ICT strategy for an education institution?
  4. How broad and credible is the base of evidence used to develop the Maturity Model?

Go to DI Paper No. 44; Back to the top of this page

DI45: Explaining ERP Failure in Developing Countries: A Jordanian Case Study

Ala'a Hawari & Richard Heeks.

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is ERP and what are its overall pros and cons?  [Part A]
  2. What models can be used to assess and explain the success or failure of ERP systems, and how do they build on earlier ideas?  What research methods were used here?  [Part B]
  3. Was this ERP system a success or failure: justify your response?  [Part C]
  4. What were the design—reality gaps before and after implementation, and how do these help to explain the system outcome?  [Part D]
  5. What practical recommendations can be made for Beta as a result of this design—reality gap analysis, and what might constrain their achievement?  [Part E]
  6. How does the design—reality gap model move beyond previous work, and what are its practical implications?  [Part F]

Development Questions

  1. Is ERP implementation still a current issue in developing countries, or has the focus of attention moved on to other systems?
  2. Is the design—reality gap model only relevant for analysis of IS in developing countries, or can it be used with industrialised country cases as well?
  3. The design—reality gap model is used here post hoc as an analytical tool.  How could it be used during an IS project as a risk identification and mitigation tool?
  4. Do models like the one shown here have any real-world value, or are they just used by academics to try to boost their own profile?
  5. If you were an independent consultant advising a developing country firm, would you advise them to adopt ERP or not?

Go to DI Paper No. 45; Back to the top of this page

DI46: ICTs and Informal Learning in Developing Countries

Christopher Foster.

Synopsis Questions

  1. Describe the types of informal learning taking place in the ICT4D examples given, and compare and contrast the different project actions and outcomes that occur in these projects.  [Parts A, B & E]
  2. How would you critique the notion that development equates to empowerment? How does Sen's framework extend beyond empowerment?  [Part B]
  3. What is pedagogy? How is it used to analyse informal learning?  [Part B]
  4. In the two case studies, what are the forms and practices which encourage or discourage informal learning?  [Part C]
  5. For each informal learning approach, what are the two key elements of practitioner advice you would highlight?  [Part D]
  6. What do we mean by ICT4D2.0? How well do informal learning approaches fit with this notion?  [Part E]

Development Questions

  1. Taking an ICT4D project that you know or have details of, analyse it using some of the notions of informal learning outlined in this paper.  How would you change this project drawing upon informal learning ideas?
  2. Drawing on the paper, describe how you would go about researching how informal learning is occurring in an ICT4D project.
  3. Discuss why a project evaluation drawing on informal learning may not be accepted in the present development environment.
  4. Do you think that informal learning can be 'planned' or 'shaped' as suggested in this paper, or is it something that just happens based upon the culture, politics and other contextual factors of a project and its stakeholders?.

Go to DI Paper No. 46; Back to the top of this page

DI47: Can a Process Approach Improve ICT4D Project Success?

Matthew Walton & Richard Heeks.

Synopsis Questions

  1. What does the paper argue to be the root causes of ICT4D project failure?  [Part A1].
  2. What is a process approach to development?  [Part A2].
  3. In what way could the four case projects be deemed successful?  [Part B2].
  4. In what way to do the four case projects demonstrate aspects of a process approach?  [Part B3].
  5. What is success and failure in a process approach, and how does the process approach contribute to these outcomes?  [Part C1].
  6. What practical recommendations for ICT4D project managers flow from a process approach perspective?  [Part C2].

Development Questions

  1. Can you find evidence from other sources of a connection between a process approach and project success rates?  (And how is 'success' defined in these cases?)
  2. Is there some circularity in the research's deductive approach – defining the characteristics that are sought, and then "finding" them within the cases?  How would an inductive research approach be different?
  3. Can you develop the ICT4D-project-as-wheel analogy further – finding elements that either support or undermine the analogy?
  4. What barriers would you likely face if you tried to introduce the process approach in an ICT4D project?

Go to DI Paper No. 47; Back to the top of this page

DI48: Understanding Mobile Phone Impact on Livelihoods in Developing Countries: A New Research Framework

Richard Duncombe.

Synopsis Questions

  1. Why are mobile phones of growing importance to livelihoods in developing countries?  [Parts A+C].
  2. By what means do mobile phones directly impact upon the assets of the poor?  [Part A].
  3. Intermediation of assets can be both "passive" and "active".  How are each of these terms defined in the paper?  [Part B].
  4. Outline the livelihood strategies that mobiles can support.  [Part C].
  5. What are some of the weaknesses in the traditional livelihoods framework for carrying out analysis of the use and impact of mobile phones?  [Part D].

Development Questions

  1. Current research suggests both positive and negative impacts of mobile phone use on asset status.  Suggest what some of these impacts are.
  2. The paper suggests that "information is the primary resource upon which mobile phones act".  Why is it important to understand the role of information within livelihoods prior to specifying a role for mobile phones?
  3. Why is the term "passive diffusion" inadequate for understanding innovation processes that involve mobile phones?
  4. Mobile phone networks create new opportunities for livelihood diversification, as well as placing new demands on users.  How is this changing our conception of "capitals" within the livelihoods framework?
  5. Adoption and use of mobile phones is market driven, which gives rise to significant inequalities of access.  How is active innovation being used to overcome inequalities?
  6. What other new opportunities are being opened up for the poor through use of mobile phones, and what do you think are some of the dangers of mobile phone use in this context?

Go to DI Paper No. 48; Back to the top of this page

DI49: Women’s ICT Sector Employment in Developing Countries: Dualism of Rhetoric vs. Reality in the Case of Sri Lanka

Sharon Morgan.

Synopsis Questions

  1. What are the typical gender skews seen in the ICT professions, and why are they seen to arise?  [Part B].
  2. What are the key gender dimensions of the Sri Lankan ICT sector?  [Part C].
  3. What are the gendered pratices at work in the Sri Lankan ICT sector?  [Part D].
  4. What are the institutional dualisms that shape the employment of women in the Sri Lankan ICT sector?  [Part E].
  5. What is the way forward for ICT sector organisations?  [Part F].

Development Questions

  1. Looked at overall, do you think the ICT sector presents more of a threat or more of an opportunity for women in developing countries?
  2. Imagine you are the CEO of an ICT company in Sri Lanka.  What steps would you take to ensure greater participation of women in your workforce?
  3. Imagine you are a senior ICT policy-maker in Sri Lanka.  What steps would you take to ensure greater participation of women in the ICT sector?
  4. Are there other examples you can identify of institutional dualism in the ICT sector – a tension between the traditional and the new, which create dualistic behaviours and impacts of inequality?

Go to DI Paper No. 49; Back to the top of this page

DI50: Mobile Phones for Agricultural and Rural Development: A Literature Review and Future Research Directions

Richard Duncombe.

Synopsis Questions

  1. Why are mobile phones growing in importance for the delivery of agricultural and rural services in developing countries?  [Section A]
  2. How does the temporal lifecycle model help to categorise the research, and what other categorisation frameworks are used in the review?  [Section B]
  3. What does the mapping of the articles in Fig 1 suggest about the make-up of the research area?  [Sections C & E1]
  4. How are conceptual approaches categorised in the review?  How does the review differentiate approaches to theorising?  What are the different research methods represented in M4ARD research?  [Sections D & E2]
  5. What are the key research gaps identified in M4ARD research?  What are the recommendations for future research directions? [Section E]

Development Questions

  1. What is your own viewpoint on the use of mobile phones in agricultural and rural development in developing countries?  How might your viewpoint affect any research you do on the subject?
  2. Why do you think, at this stage, this area of research is skewed towards assessing outputs and impacts rather than assessing needs?
  3. From amongst the theoretical approaches discussed in the paper, which can make the most useful contribution to: a) M4ARD research? b) M4ARD practice?
  4. How would you compare the contribution of the quantitative and qualitative methodological approaches of the studies surveyed?
  5. What topics/research questions do you think should be prioritised for M4ARD research over the next five years?
  6. In what other ways could M4ARD research be approached?

Go to DI Paper No. 50; Back to the top of this page

DI51: ICTs and Social Movements under Authoritarian Regimes: An Actor-Network Perspective

Richard Heeks & Ryoung Seo-Zindy.

Synopsis Questions

  1. What are social movements?  [Section A]
  2. How can we characterise and critique the literature to date on ICTs and social movements?  [Section B]
  3. How might actor-network theory offer a different perspective on ICTs and social movements?  [Section B]
  4. What were the constituents and overall trajectory of the Iranian Green Movement actor-network?  [Section D]
  5. From an actor-network perspective, what role do ICTs play in the development of a social movement network?  [Section E]

Development Questions

  1. What is your own viewpoint about the role of ICTs in social movements?  Can you find evidence to support that viewpoint?
  2. Find some additional items of literature on ICTs and social movements.  Can you classify them on the basis of Figure 1?  (If not, why not?)
  3. Identify a different and detailed social movement case study in which ICTs played a role.  Can you identify moments of translation during the development of that social movement?
  4. Can ANT really offer some new insights on ICTs and social movements, or is it just a way of describing how a social movement forms and/or fades?
  5. Why would it be preferable to undertake a case study of ICTs and social movements using longitudinal methods and primary data?
  6. Taking a broad perspective on the future, are ICTs likely to make authoritarian regimes weaker or stronger?

Go to DI Paper No. 51; Back to the top of this page

DI52: Understanding e-Waste Management in Developing Countries: Building Sustainability in the Indian ICT Sector

Richard Heeks, Logakanthi Subramanian & Carys Jones

Synopsis Questions

  1. What is e-waste and why is it seen as a problem for developing countries?  [Section A]
  2. How can we characterise e-waste strategies and e-waste strategy determinants?  [Section B]
  3. In what ways do e-waste strategies differ between very large organisations and SMEs in the Indian ICT services sector?  [Section D]
  4. In what ways do e-waste strategy determinants differ between very large organisations and SMEs in the Indian ICT services sector?  [Section D]
  5. Why do very large organisations and SMEs in the Indian ICT services sector differ in their e-waste strategies?  [Section E]
  6. What should be done to improve e-waste management in the Indian ICT services sector?  [Section E]

Development Questions

  1. Why has the narrative on e-waste in developing countries been dominated by stories about international trade in e-waste, and about informal sector processing of e-waste?
  2. Is the environmental management literature an appropriate starting point for conceptualising e-waste management?  Are there other literatures that could or should be used instead?
  3. What other research methods could have been used to investigate e-waste management in developing countries?
  4. Do the findings described here depend too heavily on believing that what interviewees say about e-waste is true?
  5. If you were running an environmental NGO in India that was concerned about e-waste, how would you use the findings from this paper to inform your actions?
  6. What other key questions do we need answered about e-waste in developing countries?

Go to DI Paper No. 52; Back to the top of this page

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