An empirical examination of the impact of ICT on the functioning of the Lebanese Ministry of Finance
his study attempts to obtain a holistic view of ICT application and its impact in the context of a developing economy taking the Lebanese Ministry of Finance as a case study. It draws on the works of Heeks and Stanforth (2007) and Tseng (2008) for the pre-deployment phase of the e-Gov application and the post-implementation phase respectively. Heeks and Stanforth used actor network theory to study the trajectory taken by the Sri Lankan e-Gov project, while Tseng used a form of Structuration theory known as Orlikowski’s Model of Technology to gauge the impact of an Electronic Government Information System (EGIS) on the Taiwanese Ministry employees. To the knowledge of the researcher the chosen research site has never been investigated before. This necessitated that the design phase of the study needed to be assessed first in order to get in-depth information about the contingent and local contextual factors and to ascertain the level of progress in the design and deployment of the ICT tools and techniques. For the post- implementation phase, this longitudinal study assessed the perceived effectiveness of the ICT impact on the end users - the employees. In addition, secondary data collected from the Ministry and the International Monetary Fund was used to corroborate the research. The study found that the use of ‘trajectory mapping’ was a crucial tool for investigating the initial ICT adoption process. This is due to its strength in exposing contextual factors, its ability to identify social and technical determinism at different stages of the investigation and its suitability in revealing political wrangling and identifying the dynamism of power in a public institution. The study’s findings also reveal the presence of both technical determinism and social determinism throughout the project, restructuring of the organisation due to the introduction of an ICT unit and job redesign in the whole MoF. The study also found out that ICT resulted in a power shift within the organisation by having the IT unit gain power due to its ICT knowledge. The investigation, however, could not find a direct relationship between the ‘degree of success’ end point suggested by Heeks and Stanforth (2007) and the sought benefits from the ICT impact. In other words, the proposed ‘degree of success’ may only explain the design aspect of the EGIS, however, this study found that success or demise depends also on the implementation process and the preparedness of citizens to receive such IT services. Furthermore, the study was able to empirically investigate the applicability of the three layered model suggested by Omoteso et al. (2007) and found out that considering contingency as dynamic is more applicable than the static contingency proposed in the model. The study realised that there is a great need for a continuous, contemporary training process in the ever-changing ICT environment in order to achieve uninterrupted positive results. Finally, the study indicates that lack of vertical communication, as observed in the Lebanese public institution, between users, ICT designers, and decision makers weaken the whole change process. Therefore, it suggests a form of knowledge management application using ICT as the main venue, a transition from the current mechanistic (bureaucratic) structure to an organic (flat) structure.
- PhD