AJIC Issue 13, 2013

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    Editorial Note to AJIC Issue 13
    (2013-12-15) Abrahams, Lucienne; Ochara, Nixon
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    Universal Access and Service Interventions in South Africa: Best Practice, Poor Impact
    (2013-12-15) Lewis, Charley
    Post-apartheid South Africa placed universal access and service at the forefront of its communications policy and regulatory interventions from 1996. It followed global best practice by imposing universal service obligations on licensees by establishing a universal service fund and a dedicated universal access regulatory body, as well as awarding targeted operator licences in areas of low teledensity. The effectiveness of these interventions is open to question, with fixed- line teledensity falling and prepaid customers in the mobile sector now accounting for the overwhelming majority of telephony users nationwide. Starting with an overview of South Africa’s universal access and service imperative, this paper assesses the value and effectiveness of these universal access and service interventions. It shows how the burgeoning access to mobile has little to do with the impact of these interventions. Finally, the implications of this for universal access and service policy and regulation, and for its implementation, are considered.
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    The Effects on Policy of the Composition of the ICT Public Policy Network in Swaziland
    (2013-12-15) Metfula, Andile Simphiwe; Chigona, Wallace
    The composition, relationships, alliances, power structures, norms and bureaucracies in policy networks affect not only the policymaking process but also the policies that result. This article reports on a study which analysed the dynamics of the ICT policymaking network in a developing country, Swaziland. The study uses a policy network analysis (PNA) approach to analyse the Swaziland national ICT policy network. The findings of the study show that government recruited mainly conformist actors into the policy network so as to meet set deadlines, and that policymaking was dominated by political agendas and strong foreign intervention, while side-lining key local policy actors.
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    Case Notes: SenPortal: Internet-Based Services for Senior Citizens
    (2013-12-15) Von Solms, Rossouw; De Lange, Etienne
    Countless senior citizens retired before computers and the Internet became prominent. In many cases, cognitive and physical limitations restrict them from enjoying the benefits and opportunities the Internet has to offer. The project discussed here experimented with measures to assist the elderly to utilise some Internet-based services. SenPortal, a single, sign-on, front-end system using facial recognition, was established to assist senior users to enjoy Internet-based services such as Gmail, Skype, Google, Wikipedia and Facebook without having to use any user ID or password. The article reports on a case study undertaken in the retirement village where SenPortal was developed.
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    Towards an Electronic Monitoring, Observation and Compliance Framework for Corporate Governance Using Business Process Management Systems
    (2013-12-15) Pretorius, Henk; Leonard, Awie; Strydom, Ian
    Corporate governance has been heavily criticised, because of governance failures in companies across the globe. In response to these failures, legislative and regulatory changes have been introduced. However, skeptics argue that compliance with these legislative and regulatory acts is costly and time consuming, causing overregulation. Furthermore, many regulatory measures lack business value and there is no guarantee that adherence to these measures can be enforced. This article presents an argument for better utilisation of electronic means and specifically, business process management systems (BPMS), in support of good corporate governance. Through the application of Orlikowski’s theory of “technologies-in-practice” as the theoretical underpinning of the study and collection of data from a BPMS vendor company and seven BPMS user companies in South Africa, an electronic monitoring, observation and compliance framework for corporate governance is proposed.
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    On Rational Choice, Risk and Utility in Mobile Banking
    (2013-12-15) Njenga, Kennedy; Ndlovu, Sifiso
    The diffusion of mobile banking technology offers an opportunity for analysis of the risk associated with the protection of information of banking clientele. There is emerging discourse with regard to clientele awareness of privacy issues. This article conceptualises banking clientele awareness of specific issues such as risk, security and information privacy policies. The key concern is the impact such awareness has on subscribers choosing to continue their use of mobile banking services. The article attempts to explain the utility/risk trade-off and how this affects the clients’ willingness to continue subscribing to mobile banking services, using quantitative analysis and rational choice theory (RCT). Purposeful sampling targeted South African bank account-holders. Empirical results show that consumer willingness to continue to use mobile banking services is largely driven by the perceived utility of the service, while privacy risk is not a significant deterrent. This is an important finding in the context of banks encouraging consumers to use mobile banking systems, for the banks to achieve retail growth. This creates a greater responsibility for banks to manage consumer risk. The findings may be more broadly pertinent in the SADC region and on the African continent, where telecoms firms engaged in mobile banking services must also attend to issues of consumer risk; and where R&D investment in the field of information security is highly desirable.
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    The Online Visibility of South African Knowledge: Searching for Poverty Alleviation
    (2013-12-15) Czerniewicz, Laura; Wiens, Kelsey
    This paper reports on an investigation into the online visibility of work undertaken in South Africa in the field of poverty alleviation. An experiment with Google searches was undertaken, motivated by concerns about the visibility of South African research and development work, particularly in a context where social inequality is extreme and poverty such a critical issue. Aware that much attention – through research and the practice of development work – is being paid to poverty alleviation 1 , the authors set out to examine whether that work could be found easily, and what the nature of the search results would be. Significant sums of public money are invested in research, which should result in the production and dissemination of locally generated knowledge as a public good grounded in local realities. A great deal of national and international funding is also spent. Thus, research published online should inform and reflect on national and regional development practice, while contributing perspectives from the South to the global corpus of poverty research. Research to understand poverty and inform the design and targeting of poverty alleviation programmes needs to be freely available and actively shared in order for it to accumulate value. In this regard it is argued that there are exponentially beneficial linkages between research, scholarly publication and social development, which originate with local knowledge production and are amplified by the availability and discoverability of that research. Availability and discoverability add breadth and depth to the potential use, value and impact of the knowledge produced.
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    Global Diffusion of the Internet: The Internet in Rwanda
    (2013-12-15) Mlay, Samali; Balunywa, Lukman; Mbarika, Victor; Moya, Musa; Ngnitedem, Ariel; Vegah, Godwill
    The article uses the Global Diffusion of the Internet (GDI) framework to examine Internet diffusion in Rwanda along six dimensions: pervasiveness, geographical dispersion, sectoral absorption, connectivity infrastructure, organisational infrastructure, and sophistication of use. Internet access was launched in 1996, but it was only in 2004 that significant Internet penetration occurred, when the privatisation of Rwandatel to Terracom brought in new investments and technology and the ISP market was opened to competition. Access to the Internet grew to approximately 24% of the population in 2012 or 2.7 million subscribers. Internet growth is hampered by factors which include poor resource mobilisation, unrealistic implementation plans, shortage of qualified human resources, a miniscule private sector, low level of private sector involvement and low Internet usage awareness. Despite these challenges, Rwanda has attained Level 4 (pervasive) for pervasiveness, Level 3 (broad) for connectivity infrastructure, Level 2 (controlled) for organisational infrastructure, Level 3 (highly dispersed) for geographic dispersion, Level 3 (common) for sectoral absorption and Level 3 (transforming) for sophistication of use. This limited progress is due partly to the policy focus on addressing Internet access (Vision 2020), and financial support from multilateral and bilateral agencies. Further policy and regulatory action and heightened awareness of the Internet are required to translate the statistics for GDI into greater access.
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    Leadership for the Electronic Age: Towards a Development-Oriented, Socio-Technical Ontology of Leadership
    (2013-12-15) Ochara, Nixon Muganda
    The idea of an ontology of leadership for the electronic age raises “big questions” from the perspective of leadership as a broad interdisciplinary practice. This article aims to capture the current dilemma in leadership research and practice that Hackman and Wageman (2007) concluded is “curiously unformed”. It aims to add a socio-technical voice, rarely heard in a fiercely behavioural school, even where global advances in ICT have tipped the scales towards reifying a more integrative view of leadership. It does not claim to present an integrated theory of leadership; rather, it seeks to elevate the socio-technical school within leadership theory and shift the discourse on leadership to be more inclusive of socio-technical thinking. The concept of “regional ontology”, derived from Heidegger, to refer to “as lived” practices and experiences of a particular social group (in this case Africa), is extended to discuss a development-oriented ontology of leadership. This enables us to recognise that effective organisational leadership in Africa and other developing countries should be anchored in local values; encourage netrepreneurship, take into account opportunities afforded by mobile computing platforms and high diffusion of mobile applications; focus on ethical leadership engagement to spur e-particpation and e-democracy; and develop national and regional innovation systems to enable Africa and other developing regions to participate in global knowledge flows.
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    AJIC Issue 13, 2013 - Full Issue
    AJIC thematic issue focused on "Leadership in the Electronic Age: A Broad Inter-Disciplinary Practice".