Government Support to Information Systems Innovation in Small and Medium Enterprises
Small and medium enterprises need external assistance to accomplish their information systems initiatives. Governments have been addressing this by funding numerous programmes. The aim of the chapter is to understand these programmes. Doing so, the analysis focused on the discretion in programme worker activities and the contexts that influence workers’ choices. The findings indicate that programme workers tend to exert considerable discretion. This discretion appears to be the result of inadequate evaluation and auditing mechanisms, a probable collaboration of policy administrators, as well as broad and ambiguous policies. Apart from this, programmes tend to operate within problematic contexts. These contexts are composed of poor evaluation mechanisms, power of programmes over SMEs, scarcity of resources, low demand for programme services and alienation of workers. A relevant implication is that the improvement of contexts could also reduce discretion. However, the actors that could do this are located at diverse parts of the system. Therefore, the reform of programmes is a difficult task given the priorities and power of the participants. Finally, the chapter suggests that SME associations may represent a counteractive force to these policy influences in order to materialise policy reforms.
KeywordsInformation systems Public policies Discretion Programme contexts SME associations
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