Enactment of standardised pan-governmental enterprise system : a Bahraini case study

Alkoureiti, Ghassan and Hayes, Niall and Introna, Lucas (2018) Enactment of standardised pan-governmental enterprise system : a Bahraini case study. PhD thesis, Lancaster University.

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There is an ongoing drive among governments globally to modernise their public service delivery by means of ICT. Bahrain’s government was no different when it implemented a national enterprise system to standardise work across the public sector. The purpose of this research is to investigate the work practices of public officials in Bahrain’s government departments as they appropriated this standardised technology in their everyday work. The aim is to understand how a nationally imposed standardised technology can be worked out in practice despite that it could be argued that the conditions for its accomplishment do not actually fully exist. This study draws on an agential realist approach to sociomateriality (Barad, 2007; Orlikowski & Scott, 2008) in combination with Goffman’s dramaturgical analysis (1959) to analyse the dynamic interactions that accomplish the ‘standardisation’ of the technology. The research follows an interpretive case study approach embedded within a qualitative research paradigm. The fieldwork was conducted on the premises of the public organisation that houses and manages the national enterprise system, as well as two government departments that constitute some of its user groups. The research methods involved a total of 64 unstructured interviews, many hours of participant observation sessions, and the reviewing of secondary documents— all conducted during three intermittent fieldwork phases. This thesis demonstrates that the standardised technology is accomplished through particular sociomaterial dramaturgical performances. These emergent performances can have performative implications for the sociomaterial participants involved, including the standardised technology itself. Thus, rather than being a passive technology artefact, the standardised technology occupies various dramaturgical roles in the provision of egovernment services. Moreover, this research shows and argues that rather than displacing the indigenous pre-modern practices of public administration in ministries, the standardised technology reconfigured these long-established local practices to be necessary for achieving egovernment services in Bahrain. Situated within the Information Systems literature, this research provides novel ways in re-conceptualising technologies of standardisation. For practitioners, this research presents insights into the nuanced practices of the implementation of standardised technology across public organisations in Bahrain, and similar environments.

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Thesis (PhD)
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02 May 2018 11:34
Last Modified:
06 Jun 2024 23:47