Abstract - The Information Society 20(1)

Conceptualising the ICT Artefact: Towards Understanding the Role of ICT in National Development

Maung K. Sein & G. Harindranath

In development literature, information and communications technology (ICT) has been characterised as having the potential to enable national development. However, ICT has been conceptualised mostly as a monolithic and homogeneous entity. To a great extent, the ambiguous findings and diverse opinions on the role of ICT in national development can be attributed to this limited focus. In order to better understand the role ICT can play in national development, we believe that the ICT artefact needs to be examined in finer detail. We propose that ICT needs to be conceptualised in its many facets, perceptions and in its manifold impact in societies. We use recent concepts from the IT literature to propose an integrative framework to study the role of ICT in development. Policy makers and donor agencies may find this framework useful in evaluating the potential impact of development interventions using ICT.

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