Advertisement

Reconfiguration of Information Flows by Public Sector IT Systems: The Question of Fairness and Ethics

  • Dubravka Cecez-Kecmanovic
  • Olivera Marjanovic
Chapter
Part of the Technology, Work and Globalization book series (TWG)

Abstract

The deployment of information technology (IT) systems in the public sector is radically transforming information flows between government agencies, public sector organizations and citizens. We focus on IT systems introduced to increase accountability and transparency in the public sector by providing open performance-related data and services to citizens. These IT systems thus introduce new information flows that produce both intended positive and unintended negative consequences for citizens, organizations and segments of community. We draw attention to the fairness and ethics of these information flows that remain hidden in the rhetoric of efficiency, accountability and transparency. By drawing from a longitudinal empirical study we explore the question of fairness and ethics of public sector IT-enabled information flows as part of a discourse on transparency and accountability.

Keywords

Information flows Information flows as intermediaries Information flows as mediators Ethics of information flows Fairness of information flows Open performance data Public sector IT systems serving citizens Public sector accountability Public sector transparency School league tables 

References

  1. Blum J. (2014). Next steps in Medicare data transparency. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Retrieved December 1, 2016, from http://blog.cms.gov/2014/04/02/next-steps-in-medicare-data-transparency/
  2. Bonnor, C., & Shepherd, B. (2016). School daze: What My School really says about our schools. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://saveourschools.com.au
  3. Callon, M. (1991). Techno-economic networks and irreversibility. In J. Law (Ed.), A sociology of monsters: Essays on power, technology and domination (pp. 132–161). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  4. Corydon, B., Ganesan, V., & Lundquist, M. (2016). Transforming government through digitization. McKinsey & Company, Article November 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from http://www.mckinsey.com/industries/public-sector/our-insights/transforming-government-through-digitization?cid=other-eml-alt-mip-mck-oth-1611
  5. Crotty, M. (1998). The foundations of social research—Meaning and perspective in the research process. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  6. Davison, R., Martinsons, M., Ou, C., Murata, K., Drummond, D., Li, Y., et al. (2009). The ethics of IT professions in Japan and China. Journal of Association of Information Systems, 10(11), 834–859.Google Scholar
  7. Denziger, J. N., & Andersen, K. V. (2002). The impacts of information technology on public administration: An analysis of empirical research from the ‘golden age’ of transformation. International Journal of Public Administration, 25, 591–627.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Dunleavy, P., Margetts, H., Bastow, S., & Tinkler, J. (2006). Digital era governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Earl, L. M., & Katz, S. (2006). Leading schools in a Data-rich world: Harnessing Data for school improvement. Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.Google Scholar
  10. Fichman, R., Gopal, R., Gupta, A. & Ransbotham, S. (2015). Call for papers: Special issue on ubiquitous IT and digital vulnerabilities. Information Systems Research. Retrieved August 3, 2016, from http://pubsonline.informs.org/page/isre/calls-for-papers
  11. Fox, J. (2010). The uncertain relationship between transparency and accountability. In A. Cornwall & D. Eade (Eds.), Deconstructing development discourse: Buzzwords and Fuzzwords (pp. 245–256). Oxford: Oxfam GB Practice Action Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gadamer, H. (1960). Truth and method. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  13. Helbig, N., Cresswell, A. M., Burke, G. B., & Luna-Reyes, L. (2012). The dynamics of opening government data—A white paper. Center for Technology in Government, The Research Foundation of State University of New York. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from https://www.ctg.albany.edu/publications/reports/opendata/opendata.pdf
  14. Henriksen, H. Z., Andersen, K. N., & Medaglia, R. (2011). Public sector IS maturity models: Legal pluralism invades public schools. Electronic Government: Lecture Notes in Computer Science (Vol. 6846, pp. 100–111). Heidelberg: Springer.Google Scholar
  15. Introna, L. D. (2007). Maintaining the reversibility of Foldings: Making the ethics (politics) of information technology visible. Ethics and Information Technology, 9, 11–25.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Jacob, B. A., & Levitt, S. D. (2003). Rotten apples: An investigation of the prevalence and predictors of teacher cheating. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 118(3), 843–877.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Janssen, M., Charalabidis, Y., & Zuiderwijk, A. (2012). Benefits, adoption barriers and myths of open data and open government. Information Systems Management, 29(4), 258–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Kappos, A., Rivard S., & Lapointe, L. (2005). Explaining contradictory reactions to Information Technology implementation. HEC Montréal, Cahier de Recherche No. 05-02.Google Scholar
  19. Keevers, L., Treleaven, L., Sykes, C., & Darcy, M. (2012). Made to measure: Taming practices with results-based accountability. Organization Studies, 33(1), 97–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Klein, H., & Myers, M. (1999). A set of principles for conducting and evaluating interpretive field studies in information systems. MIS Quarterly, 23(1), 67–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Latour, B. (1992). Where are the missing masses? The sociology of a few mundane artifacts. In W. E. Bijker & J. Law (Eds.), Shaping technology/building society: Studies in sociotechnical change (pp. 225–258). Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  22. Latour, B. (2005). Reassembling the social: An introduction to actor-network theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Lingard, B., Thompson, G., & Seller, S. (2016). National testing from an Australian perspective. In B. Lingard, G. Thompson, & S. Seller (Eds.), National testing in schools—An Australian assessment, local/global issues in education (pp. 1–18). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  24. Magalhaes, G., Roseira, C., & Strover, S. (2013). Open government data intermediaries: A terminology framework. In T. Janowski, J. Holm, & E. Estevez (Eds.), Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Theory and Practice of Electronic Governance (ICEGOV ‘13) (pp. 330–333). New York, NY: ACM. Retrieved from  https://doi.org/10.1145/2591888.2591947 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mason, R. (1995). Applying ethics to information technology issues. Communication of the ACM, 38(12), 55–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Mingers, J., & Walsham, G. (2010). Toward ethical information systems: The contribution of discourse ethics. MIS Quarterly, 34(4), 833–854.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mocker, N. (2013). Reporting on the ‘Education Revolution’ MySchool.edu.au in the Print Media. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 34, 1–16.Google Scholar
  28. Overby, E., Slaughter, S., & Konsynski, B. (2010). The design, use, and consequences of virtual processes. Information Systems Research, 21(4), 700–710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. PITAC. (1999). Information technology research: Investing in our future. President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee, Report to the President. Feb 1999 Arlington, VA: National Coordination Office for Computing, Information and Communications. Retrieved November 23, 2016, from https://www.nitrd.gov/pitac/report/pitac_report.pdf
  30. Polesel, J., Dulfer, N., & Turnbull, M. (2012). The experience of education: The impacts of high stake testing on school students and their families—Literature review. Sydney: Whitlam Institute, University of Western Sydney.Google Scholar
  31. Roberts-Holmes, G. (2015). The ‘datafication’ of early years pedagogy: ‘If teaching is good, the data should be good and if there’s bad teaching, there is bad data’. Journal of Educational Policy, 30(3), 302–315.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rondinelli, D. A. (2007). Public administration and democratic governance: Governments serving citizens. New York: United Nations.Google Scholar
  33. Salzberg, S. (2014). New Medicare data reveal startling $496 million wasted on chiropractors. Forbes, April 20.Google Scholar
  34. Smith, P. (1995). On unintended consequences of publishing performance data in the public sector. International Journal of Public Administration, 18(2&3), 277–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Stahl, B. (2008). The ethical nature of critical research in information systems. Ethics and Information Systems, 10, 97–108.Google Scholar
  36. Stahl, B. C. (2012). Editorial: Responsible research and innovation in information systems. European Journal of Information Systems, 21(3), 207–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Tarafdar, M., Gupta, A., & Turel, O. (2015). Editorial: Special issue on ‘the dark side of information technology use’—An introduction and a framework for research. Information Systems Journal, 25, 161–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Tarafdar, M., Pullins, E., & Ragu-Nathan, T. S. (2015). Technostress: Negative effect on performance and possible mitigations. Information Systems Journal, 25, 103–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Thomson, G., & Cook, I. (2013). Manipulating the data: Teaching and NAPLAN in the control society. Discourse: Studies in the Cultural Politics of Education, 35(1), 129–142.Google Scholar
  40. van der Hoven, J., & Wickert, J. (Eds.). (2008). Information technology and moral philosophy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Vanderlinde, R., Hermans, R., & van Braak, J. (2010). ICT research and school performance feedback: A perfect marriage? Educational Studies, 36(3), 341–344.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Visscher, A. J., & Coe, R. (2003). School performance feedback systems: Conceptualisation, analysis, and reflection. School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 14(3), 321–349.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Wu, M. (2016). What national testing data can tell us. In B. Lingard, C. Thompson, & S. Seller (Eds.), National testing in schools—An Australian assessment. Local/Global issues in education (pp. 18–30). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  44. Wyn, J., Turnbull, M., & Grimshaw, L. (2014). The experience of education: The impacts of high stakes testing on school students and their families—A qualitative study. Sydney: The Whitlam Institute, University of Western Sydney.Google Scholar
  45. Zuboff, S. (2015). Big other: Surveillance capitalism and the prospects of an information civilization. Journal of Information Technology, 30(1), 75–89.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Appendix: Selected Sources—Websites, Documents, News Articles, Reports

  1. ACARA. (2010). Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority: My School. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.myschool.edu.au
  2. ACARA. (2014). CEO Report. My School, May 2014.Google Scholar
  3. ACARA. (2016). My School portal. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from http://myschool.edu.au/
  4. Anderson, B. (2010). Struggling students “exempt” from test. ABC News, 11 May 2010. Retrieved from http://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-05-11/
  5. APPA. (2014). Australian Primary Principal Association: My School. NAPLAN discussion paper, September 8, 2014.Google Scholar
  6. ASPA. (2010). The Australian Secondary Principals’ Association (ASPA). My School Survey Results, March 2010, J.K. See Consulting.Google Scholar
  7. Australian Government. (2011). Australian Government Response to the Senate Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Reference Committee: Report on the Administration and Reporting of NAPLAN Testing, August 2011.Google Scholar
  8. Bita, N. (2015). Room for Improvement in NAPLAN Report Card. The Australian, 5 August 2015.Google Scholar
  9. Cook, G., (2014). Review of My School Web Site. Australian Department of Education. Retrieved November 26, 2016, from https://docs.education.gov.au/system/files/doc/other/reviewofmyschoolwebsite.pdf
  10. Editorial. (2010a). Informative Comparison of Schools, 23 January 2010, The Advertiser, 70.Google Scholar
  11. Editorial. (2010b). Accountability is Essential to improve all our Schools. The Australian, 30 January 2010, 15.Google Scholar
  12. Ferrari, J. (2014). Busting the NAPLAN Myths. The Australian, 12 May 2014.Google Scholar
  13. Knott, M (2014). Strip results from MySchool website, say school principals. The Sydney Morning Harold National, 11 September 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/strip-results-from-my-school-website-say-school-principals-20140911-10fncc.html
  14. Lam, M. (2010). My School launch leads to parent frenzy. News.Com. Australia, 31 January. Retrieved November 29, 2016, from http://www.news.com.au/national/my-school-launch-leads-to-parent-freny/story-e6frfkw9-1225825079749
  15. McDougall, B. (2015). Published NAPLAN Score Here to Stay Despite Objections. The Daily Telegraph, 4 March 2015.Google Scholar
  16. NSW PPA. (2010). NSW PPA Survey—‘My School’ Website. NSW Primary Principles Association, 1–5. Retrieved November 27, 2016, from http://www.nswppa.org.au
  17. Smith, A. (2014). MySchool Should be Scrapped, Says Piccoli. The Sydney Morning Heard National, 6 March 2014. Retrieved November 28, 2016, from http://www.smh.com.au/national/education/my-school-should-be-scrapped-says-piccoli-20140306-34adf.html
  18. Smith, A. (2015). NAPLAN 2015: Education Chiefs Warn Students are not Improving. Sydney Morning Herald—National Edition, 5 August 2015.Google Scholar
  19. Sydney Morning Herald Editorial. (2010). Why we are publishing a league table. Sydney Morning Herald, 29 January 2010, 14.Google Scholar
  20. The Advertiser Editorial. (2009). Students will benefit from School scrutiny. The Advertiser, 15 December 2009, 18.Google Scholar
  21. The Australian Editorial. (2010). Accountability is essential to improve all our schools. The Australian, 1 May 2010, 15.Google Scholar
  22. The Senate. (2010). Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Reference Committee administration and reporting of NAPLAN testing. Commonwealth of Australia, November 2010.Google Scholar
  23. The Senate. (2014). Education and Employment Reference Group: Effectiveness of the National Assessment Program—Literacy and numeracy. Commonwealth of Australia, Final Report, March 2014.Google Scholar
  24. Wiltshire, K., (2016). Rigid curriculum fails students with special needs. The Australian, 18 March, 1–2.Google Scholar
  25. Your School. (2016). The Australian. Retrieved December 2, 2016, from http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/in-depth/schools/interactive#search
  26. Ziino, R., & Matheson, P. (2015). ACARA. Perspectives on the My School website. ACARA’s Commissioned Report by Colemar Brunton. Retrieved November 20, 2016, from http://www.colmarbrunton.com.au

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dubravka Cecez-Kecmanovic
    • 1
  • Olivera Marjanovic
    • 2
  1. 1.UNSW Business SchoolSydneyAustralia
  2. 2.The University of Sydney Business SchoolDarlingtonAustralia

Personalised recommendations