Global Information Technology Pressure and Government Accountability: The Mediating Effect of Domestic Context on Website Openness

Eric W. Welch, Wilson Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations

Abstract

To what extent and in what ways does the global information technology revolution affect the openness and accountability of public organizations? Adopting a model of the effects of global pressure on public bureaucracy (Welch and Wong 1998) as the theoretical framework, this study combines two streams of research and sources of data - the Cyberspace Policy Research Group's (CyPRG) comparative analysis of website openness and Ferrel Heady's (1996) classification of the major dimensions of civil service systems - to test hypotheses about how the domestic context, as relevant to national civil service systems, mediates the effect of the global information technology (IT) pressure on government accountability in eight countries. Government accountability, as measured by website openness, increased over time. Nevertheless, while the global pressure of information technology leads to more government accountability at the global level, the domestic context leads to variations in the rates of adoption and effects of the global pressure at the national level. Conditions of high autonomy, high complexity, and low professionalism exacerbate the tendencies of bureaucrats to control information to consolidate power. These findings confirm the importance of the domestic context, particularly the civil service systems, in mediating the effect of global pressure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)509-538
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Public Administration Research and Theory
Volume11
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2001
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration
  • Marketing

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