State if you agree or disagree with the statement made and why?
Lesson #1 – Discussion Forum – Linkage between Public Administration and Information Technology
The article “Computing and Public Organizations” by Kraemer and King is an interesting look back at the prevailing questions and concerns thirty years ago about the potential impact of the use of computers in public organizations. The main point of the authors’ discussion is whether a wide-spread organizational use of computers would affect the centralized or decentralized nature of an organization. While the authors conclude that any move, either way, would involve more factors than just the use of computers, they do seem to come down on the side of computer use increasing the centralization of organizational decision making. When considering the impact of computer use on the centralization of decision making in public organizations as it stands today, thirty years after the article was written, it is still difficult to make a definitive statement on whether organizations have become more or less centralized due to the use of information technology. In some cases, data gathering both with and without IT is so decentralized throughout an agency that a desired level of centralization is never achieved. A case in point is the Veterans Administration, where data from field offices were either inefficiently or never sent to regional offices that could make service-related decisions, an outcome of decentralization that had very negative consequences for the veterans that are supposed to be the focus of the agency. Other government agencies also suffer from having so many points of entry to a centralized system that the public is uncertain how to access the information they need. An example would be the military’s health insurance program, which has three or four portals that each accomplish a different task within the overall program.
A strong and well-organized linkage between public agencies and information technology is a deciding factor in how beneficial the use of technology is to public organizations.