Can ICT Reform Public Agencies?
This study examines the reorganisation of the administration of admission to higher education in Norway, which has also included the development of a nationwide, ICT-based case handling system. This reform process was initiated out of the need to provide politicians with information for control and regulatory purposes, and the reform resulted in a centralised management information system. This system, however, has evolved into a coordinated but also partly locally delegated decision-making instrument which processes most of the applications for admission to higher education in Norway.
Our analysis aims at identifying the driving forces and mechanisms that have motivated this long-term and complex development process. We ask to what extent we may claim that management interests have been the key factor in these reform processes? Or, has the development been impelled instead by advances in new information and communication technologies?
Our conclusion is that neither of these hypotheses can fully explain these processes. It is indisputable that political and central management priorities have been crucially important in this reform. At the same time, we cannot neglect the dynamics related to the visions that technological developments have created. Such visions, implemented through collaborative processes and including a central project team and support staff in the various local institutions, seem to have created an environment for innovative technical and administrative solutions.
KeywordsAdministrative reform legislative reform automated decision making organizational changes ICT
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