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When local routines meet global technology: a case study on the role of context in application development in Kampala

Koskinen, Kari (2017) When local routines meet global technology: a case study on the role of context in application development in Kampala. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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Identification Number: 10.21953/lse.kai1s3ipgwii


The growth in mobile ownership and increase in Internet connectivity has led many developing countries to actively pursue the creation of application development sectors within their economies. Application development appears as a feasible option to even the less developed regions, as most of the technological resources needed in application development can be accessed with relative ease and low cost, no matter the location. What is more, in addition to economic benefits the applications can also have a role in solving societal challenges. Although technologically application development seems relatively straightforward, what remains less well understood is how contextual factors, such as norms and cultures, impact the application development process within these countries. This thesis approaches the research area through the concept of societal routines. Societal routines are seen as proxies to local context, and the aim of this research is to analyse how these routines affect application development throughout the application development process. The research takes the form of a case study and studies the topic from the perspective of application development that occurs in Kampala, Uganda. Although the local developers and start-ups are generally comfortable with the technological affordances provided by the technological resources, the local context poses certain conditions, which not only impact how applications are built, but also what kinds of application are developed. The results show how existing societal routines form the basis for the applications, and how technology that originates from outside carries meanings and structures that may or may not fit with local realities. Overall, the research proposes a framework for understanding context and its impact on application development. With this, it aims to contribute to our understanding on local technology production, technology implementation and digital divide in developing countries. Furthermore, it also questions the role often given to technology in addressing societal challenges.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2017 Kari Matti Koskinen
Library of Congress subject classification: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Sets: Departments > Management
Supervisor: Madon, Shirin

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