Vol 20 (2005)

Volume 20 contains a special issue of five papers organised around the theme: Information Systems Perspectives and Challenges in the Context of Globalisation. The special issue is guest edited by incoming Senior Editor of the journal, Gamila Shoib, from the University of Bath, UK.

Introduction: Globalisation as a Trigger for Local Community Development
Since its inception the term 'globalisation' has come to be associated with a view of the world where, although there is an increased consciousness of the world becoming one, a new world order appears to have come into existence where the economically more developed countries are expanding their economies, exploiting the less developed countries’ lower-cost skills and resource offerings and capitalism is becoming the norm. This special issue, however, tells a refreshingly different story. It is a story of globalisation providing, intentionally or otherwise, a trigger for local community development. The case studies come from all corners of the world. They give us a different perspective on the globalisation beast, one which paints a less bleak picture for less developed economies. This image emerged rather spontaneously as the overarching theme for the issue was a rather general one, namely "The Challenges and Opportunities afforded by Globalisation". The papers share a number of themes and characteristics which are noteworthy in that they contribute to this balancing of global power relations:
  • They show a great deal of respect for and understanding of the local context and avoid any a priori assumptions about the value or danger of globalisation.

  • They care about the well-being of the people of the communities that they have studied beyond looking at economic benefit and gain. As such "success" is not evaluated purely in terms of financial or economic considerations.

  • They adopt multiple perspectives in describing and analysing their cases.

  • They do not conceive of local culture a priori as an impediment to progress and success.

  • They engage with the subjects of their inquiry and offer a wealth of detail and description in their presentation of the material.

Abbott presents two cases from the non-industrialised context of Barbados and Jamaica where the globalisation of the software export industry is providing new opportunities and challenges for creating competitive advantage. She focuses on software export strategies available in such atypical contexts which lack some of the basic resources considered essential for success in that domain. She discovers that attention and sensitivity to the local context, for example the involvement of local government and integration into the local community both financially and socially, are key ingredients for success.

Chilundo & Aanestad investigate the integration of vertical health programme?s, namely tuberculosis, malaria and HIV/AIDS, in the Mozambican health sector. Adopting the lens of multiple rationalities they offer a rich detailed analysis which covers the broad network of stakeholders involved in such efforts and demonstrates the on-going battles between a multiplicity of rationalities – some local, some global, some glocal, some at the top, some on the ground etc. – and the importance of understanding each perspective and each rationality in its own right.

Standing et al.’s paper reminds us that less developed economies are not exclusive to “developing countries” but that they are ubiquitous in urban communities where resources can be scarce. Investigating the adoption by the Australian government of the idea of e-marketplaces to improve the participation of SMEs, particularly in rural areas, in the economy, their research emphasises the often-neglected community development motivation of such efforts.

Thompson applies critical discourse analysis to a recent speech on ICT by the president of the World Bank Group in order to demonstrate how deeply implicated ICT have become in the global discourse and practice of socio-economic development for less developed economies.

Madon uses Sen’s notion of capabilities to evaluate e-governance initiatives in India’s Southern state of Kerala. This perspective shifts the focus to the community development aspects of such endeavours.

As such this special issue casts doubt on many of the arguments that we have grown accustomed to in the literature on globalisation. The papers also demonstrate that methodological approaches and research lenses can, to a great extent, liberate us from being stuck within particular perspectives and help us to challenge dominant views and associated power relations. In terms of findings, they emphasise the importance of working with available resources and investment in further developing them in order to sustain development projects over the long term in less developed economy contexts. Human beings the world over are very resourceful and reflexive creatures, whatever their circumstances they will make the most of their conditions and resources in order to cope with the problems and issues that they are faced with. Globalisation is one new “variable” that has appeared within local contexts. It can play a multiplicity of roles which will get appropriated and shaped by the local contingencies.


Gamila Shoib, Bath, January, 2005

Table of Contents


In this Volume, the downloads# is the number of downloads since April 2005. The total number of downloads, i.e. since the original publication date, is not available.

Research Papers

Software Export Strategies for Developing Countries: A Caribbean Perspective PDF
Pamela Y. Abbott # of downloads: 6111

Negotiating Multiple Rationalities in the Process of Integrating the Information Systems of Disease Specific Health Programmes PDF
Baltazar Chilundo, Margunn Aanestad # of downloads: 4581

Can E-Marketplaces Bridge the Digital Divide? An Analysis of Two Western Australian Cases PDF
Craig Standing, Ian Sims, Rosemary Stockdale, Denise Gengatharen, Susan Standing, Arjen Wassenaar # of downloads: 5160

ICT, Power and Developmental Discourse: A Critical Analysis PDF
Mark P.A. Thompson # of downloads: 7280

Evaluating the Developmental Impact of E-Governance Initiatives: An Exploratory Framework PDF
Shirin Madon # of downloads: 13951



The Electronic Journal of Information Systems in Developing Countries.
ISSN: 1681-4835 www.ejisdc.org