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Implementing information systems in local government: A case study of the People's Republic of China.

Huang, Minyi (2006) Implementing information systems in local government: A case study of the People's Republic of China. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Despite the considerable potential and significant efforts to use information systems to improve public administration, their implementation remains a challenging task, especially in developing countries. This research addresses the difficulties of implementating information systems at the local government level to achieve administrative reform within the People's Republic of China. Giddens's structuration theory is used to provide a conceptual framework to understand the interaction between the administrative reform policies at the central government level and the rich social contexts at the local level. In the Chinese context, the reform objectives include: changing from an all-round government to a service government; from respect for authority to respect for law; and from extreme egalitarianism to a performance-based reward system. The framework is used to analyse a case study of the implementation of a computerised personnel and salary management system in Foshan, a middle-sized city. This Chinese central government initiative was aimed at solving the "ghost worker" problem and improving transparency and efficiency in personnel and public finance management by the use of information technology. The study shows the difficulties of inter-organisational co-operation between local government stakeholders during system development. In the existing literature, national policy is often seen as a factor independent of the local context or as less important than local social factors. Our study suggests a strong link between administrative reform policies and local information systems implementation. It shows the need to understand such reform policies and their impacts on local stakeholders. It also shows that conflicts involving local stakeholders reflect national problems of administrative reform. The implications of the findings for local and central government in China, and for governments of similar transitional economies, are discussed. The contributions and limitations of structuration theory for understanding the interaction between national and local contexts are also discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Political Science, Public Administration
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses

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