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Title :The interplay of ICT innovation with state administrative tradition: evidence from the Greek taxation information system (TAXIS)
Creator :Prasopoulou, Elpida
Contributor :Pouloudi, Nancy (Επιβλέπων καθηγητής)
Poulymenakou, Angeliki (Επιβλέπων καθηγητής)
Athens University of Economics and Business, Department of Management Science and Technology (Degree granting institution)
Type :Text
Extent :193p.
Language :en
Abstract :This thesis examines the joint articulation of ICT innovation and state modernization in the public sector of late-development countries. These countries embark on ICT innovation projects in an effort to keep pace with the advances in early developers and improve their position on the development spectrum. The deployment of ICTs, as a trigger for deep changes in the institutional fabric of the government apparatus, places emphasis on the role of socio-economic context during the unraveling of ICT innovation. Moreover, it invites the examination of ICT innovation as a socio-technical phenomenon spanning multiple social orders. This approach has been used in the study of TAXIS, the first large-scale information system to be fully operational in the Greek public administration. TAXIS‟ implementation coincides with, eksynchronismos (i.e. modernization), an historical circumstance conducive of state reform and modernization. Thus, it provides an interesting juncture of ICT innovation, state modernization and socio-political transformations redirecting the development path of Greece. The specific socio-historical circumstances in tandem with the detours, negotiations and mechanisms deployed by political parties, as macro-actors, irreversibly shaped the way ICT innovation is perceived in the Greek administrative tradition. TAXIS became aligned with the modernization rhetoric to attract the necessary support for its successful implementation. At the same time, the government enrolled TAXIS, and subsequently ICT innovation, to its eksynchronismos project to stress its willingness to introduce change within the state apparatus . The alignment of TAXIS with the gist of modernization ensured the necessary political support for its successful implementation. TAXIS‟s roll out has been inextricably linked to the country's effort to meet the Maastricht criteria and join the European Monetary Union. This new understanding of ICT innovation attracted the interest of political parties, as dominant macro-actors in the Greek administrative tradition. Political parties rhetorically endorsed ICT innovation as a vehicle for tax reform. In parallel, however, they worked towards the preservation of their dominant role which could be potentially harmed by the new material practices and assumptions carried by ICT innovation. A close observation of parliamentary discussions shows that political parties never tackled the precise way tax policy would be formulated in the aftermath of ICT innovation. Following the separation of administrative and legal reform in the Napoleonic tradition, political parties perceived these issues as technical ones tackled at the project level. Moreover, political parties considered that their role, as dominant collective actors, in the process of ICT innovation, was to monitor the system's progress and ensure the necessary resources for its implementation. Upon system delivery, and once financial data would be available in digital format, the Ministry would have a clear and concise picture of state finances to proceed with changes at the legal framework. This process precluded the possibility for a new approach on the matter. The outcome was a concoction of novel practices and old visions which led to the equaling of ICT innovation with pre-existing legal concerns. Thus, TAXIS success was a micro-event. Its implementation managed to impose order over obsolete administrative operations. Nevertheless, the reduction of the administrative burden and the imposition of operational order were not the final objectives of TAXIS‟ implementation. Rationalization of state finances, through ICT innovation, was seen as the preamble for tax reform which ought to emanate out of the new, modern and technologically advanced processes of TAXIS. The Greek administrative tradition perceived state modernization as a two-stage project entailing, first, rationalization of administrative practices and, then, reform which remained a legal exercise. ICT innovation, in this sense, was perceived as the vehicle to pave the way for legal reform. These insights showcase the composite nature of ICT innovation, as well as the existence of dominant institutional actors that may neutralize ICT innovation by engulfing it in the maze of material practices that constitute the government apparatus. Thus, this thesis advocates for a layered view of ICT innovation which brings to the fore the reflexive nature of IT implementation as the negotiation space for local and imported practices and imageries.The thesis contributes to the study of ICT innovation by establishing a theoretical perspective that bridges micro-actions with macro-phenomena during ICT innovation. The concept of administrative tradition is introduced, as a theoretical framework, allowing for the joint articulation of the micro and macro levels of analysis and the identification of macro actors implicated in the clash of new and local institutions during ICT innovation. The thesis also proposes a critical examination of the constituent parts of ICT innovation. Late-developing countries, by whole-heartedly accepting ICT innovation, also accept a specific developmental path. Therefore, absence of critical discussion on ICT innovation essentially signifies uncritical acceptance of developmental choices that may not be appropriate for a country's specific needs.
Subject :Information and Communications Technology (ICT)
Taxation Information System (Taxis)
Public sector
Date :2009
Licence :

File: Prasopoulou_2009.pdf

Type: application/pdf