Haldor Byrkeflot and Karsten Vrangbaek
The debate on accountability within the public sector has been lively in the past decade. Significant progress has been made in developing conceptual frameworks and typologies for characterizing different features and functions of accountability. However, there is a lack of sector specific adjustment of such frameworks. In this chapter we present a framework for analyzing accountability within health care. The chapter makes use of the concept of “accountability regime” to signify the combination of different accountability forms, directions and functions at any given point in time. We show that reforms can introduce new forms of accountability, change existing accountability relations or change the relative importance of different accountability forms. They may also change the dominant direction and shift the balance between different functions of accountability. The chapter further suggests that developments in accountability regimes are best analyzed with a combination of top-down and bottom up perspectives and that there is a need to develop research strategies to support this aim.
Vocational education and training has emerged from traditional industry and technical training into a vigorous post-compulsory education sector focused on satisfying the ever-changing demands of today’s employers. This chapter considers issues around the accreditation and regulation of providers and the assessment and certification of outcomes. Quality and comparability of outcomes has been a common concern for regulatory regimes. The front-end emphasis of training assessors and the requirement for workplace assessment contexts is designed to align with employer needs. However there are legitimate concerns about the consistency of judgments. Competency based assessment (CBA) has been the dominant assessment model and contrasts with the traditional assessment approach in general education. However the more recent standards-referenced assessment movement in the latter sector suggests ways in which assessment approaches are converging. Employability and 21st century skills reinforce the interest in developing generic skills in all sectors of education.
The focus of this article is upon producing actionable knowledge. Propositions that are actionable are those that actors can use to implement effectively their intentions. Actionable knowledge requires propositions that make explicit the causal processes required to produce action. Causality is the key in implementation. One of the most powerful inhibitors of effective action is inner contradictions. Inner contradictions exist when the propositions to act are implemented correctly. One cause of inner contradiction is the methodologies used by most normal social scientists to discover problems and to invent solutions. These features cause the degree of seamlessness and the validity of the implementation to be reduced. The focus on describing reality in ways that satisfies the requirements of internal and external validity makes it less likely that attention is paid to the implementable validity of the propositions. This, in turn, leads to propositions that are abstract and disconnected from implementable action.
This chapter highlights the most significant ways in which research from across Internet Studies combines thematically to offer a picture of the challenges facing freedom of expression in the twenty-first century, as well as the need for broader theoretical frameworks. It suggests that a broader theoretical framework is required to catch the full range of law and policies shaping expression online, and to develop responses for policy and practice. The Internet presents just as many opportunities for digital surveillance or censorship as it does for free expression. The most helpful contribution of Internet Studies has been to expose and illuminate the many different forces that restrict or expand the opportunities to speak and communicate. The Internet has become central to communication and it plays a role in helping multiple actors to obtain their various goals.
Terri L. Griffith, Gregory B. Northcraft, and Mark A. Fuller
Data warehousing and the development of the World Wide Web both augment information gathering (search) processes in individual decision making by increasing the availability of required information. Imagine, for example, that one wanted to buy new golf clubs. Thirty years ago, the cost of information gathering would likely have limited an individual's search process to geographically proximal vendors and the golf clubs they stocked. Today, a prospective purchaser can log onto the World Wide Web to find out what types of golf clubs are available anywhere; consult databases, chat rooms, and bulletin boards (e.g., epinions.com) to gather product information and user opinions; and compare prices across vendors around the world.
Changing the Story Surrounding Enterprise Systems to Improve our Understanding of What Makes ERP Work in Organizations
Erica Wagner and Sue Newell
This article turns our attention to enterprise systems (ES). It shows that this competitiveness can be gained through enabling leaner production as a result of streamlining work flow with a view to increase productivity, reducing costs, and improving decision quality and resource control. It notes that this perceived ability to streamline and integrate business operations lead to enterprise systems becoming the most popular business software of the twentieth century. This article sees an ES in terms of an iterative experience life cycle where phases of configuration/customization and implementation/use will alternate cyclically, gradually helping to exploit the functionality of the software. The practical implications of rethinking analysis are discussed. The findings indicate that customization to a system is sometimes necessary to achieving a working information system.
Rhett A. Brymer, Michael A. Hitt, and Mario Schijven
This article focuses on managerial, operative, and corporate cognition. It argues that ‘the transformation of knowledge into practice is mediated by the cognition of the firm's human capital (HC)’. The article posits a mutually constituting reciprocal relationship between knowledge and behaviour, the exchange being governed by cognition. It argues that managers are able to influence the firm's cognitive states even when these are path dependent and contextualized. Managers set the strategic balance between ‘learning’ and ‘using’, between ‘exploration’ and ‘exploitation’, creating effective alignment between the environment and internal activity systems through adjustments to cognition. The article cites empirical research showing a strong relationship between HC, as measured by education and experience, and firm performance. It also presumes that HC can arise at both individual and collective levels, enabling it to explore the relationship between individual and collective cognition and the value of the firm's HC.
This article attempts to map the depth and importance of the problems at issue: first, through a review of digital divide debates at a time (2005) when in policy circles they are no longer in fashion; secondly by linking this to recent debates in political sociology and media sociology about, respectively, the declining prospects for political engagement, and the public uses of people's media consumption; and finally by reviewing competing theoretical formulations of the communicative preconditions of democracy. It suggests that all citizens require a share of a society's communicative resources if they are to participate effectively in the democratic process, and considers what form such resources should take. Arguing that ‘digital divide’ debates have pushed this issue to the centre of policy discussions the article assesses what policies might be needed to achieve improved distributive equity with respect to these resources. It provides an insight into how the communicative preconditions of democracy might be understood in the light of the growing use of ICTs.
This article presents an overview of the usage of critical theory in contemporary information system (IS) research and practice. It reviews the growing body of work on critical social information systems research (CSISR) to offer an in-depth understanding of the meaning and history of this tradition. The overview of characteristics and definitions of CSISR is supplemented by a discussion of dominant topics, questions of methodology, and theory. CSISR is characterized by the intention to change social reality and promote emancipation, which is a departure from other research approaches and traditions. The CSISR discourse is influenced by the philosophical writings of Habermas, particularly in the light of the ethical dimension of his work. It discusses problems of the approach and finishes with a critical reflection CSISR in general.
Gustavo Cardozo, Guo Liang, and Tiago Lapa
This chapter reviews the diffusion, uses, and impacts of the Internet worldwide and over time. The World Internet Project has been intended to become the vehicle for tracking what happens as households and nations adopt and use the Internet. The study of the connection between the Internet and society presents a window onto contemporary societies. The Internet mediates social changes and social relations. The age of users, the institutional context, and media culture determine the Internet use in a given country. The Internet has been more of a complement to the traditional media than a competitor, and displacement effects are hard to find and are not general or universal across countries. It is important to keep a vital perspective in comparative approaches, being mindful of the theory that differences verified between countries or continenta can lose much of their analytical relevance.