You are here:

The intractability of information: non-governmental development organizations and the uses of knowledge Thesis

, School of Oriental And African Studies, United Kingdom ;

Masters, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS, University of London, London, UK . Awarded

Abstract

The globalization of information has led to increased optimism about the increasing role of global civil society. However, the underdeveloped have been left out of this information explosion. Through development, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) seek to empower the poor so that they have the resources and abilities to join the rest of the world. Unfortunately, these NGOs have problems of their own: issues with accountability to donors and the bottom-up participation of their beneficiaries. As NGOs become increasingly market-driven, they take on characteristics of the private sector, including their information problems. This paper argues that the corporate information solutions offered for these problems will not be successful in the NGO context, and that NGOs instead should focus on organic responses to these informational constraints.

Citation

Reiter, J.H. (2006). The intractability of information: non-governmental development organizations and the uses of knowledge. Masters thesis, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, SOAS, University of London, London, UK. Retrieved November 21, 2018 from .

Keywords

View References & Citations Map

References

  1. Albin, C. (1999). Can NGOs enhance the effectiveness of international negotiations? International Negotiation, 4(3):371–387.
  2. Asian Development Bank (1999). Reducing Poverty: Major Findings and Implications. Asian Development Bank. Retrieved from www.adb.org/Documents/Brochures/Reducing_Poverty/.
  3. Bebbington, A. And Riddell, R. (1997). Heavy hands, hidden hands, holding hands? Donors, intermediary NGOs and civil society organizations. In Hulme and Edwards (1997), pages 107–127.
  4. Belasen, A.T. (2000). Leading the Learning Organization. SUNY, Albany, NY.
  5. Bennett, J. (1995). Recent trends in relief aid: Structural crisis and the quest for a new consensus. In Bennett, J., editor, Meeting needs: NGO Coordination in Practice, pages xi– xxii. Earthscan, London.
  6. Blewitt, M. (2000). The grantee’s viewpoint. Alliance, 5(3):25.
  7. Bocij, P. And Chaffey, D. (2003). Business information systems: technology, development, and management for the e-business. Financial Times/Prentice Hall, Harlow, England; New York, 2nd edition.
  8. Bounfour, A. (2003). The Management of Intangibles: The organisation’s most valuable assets. Routledge, London.
  9. Cabrera, Á. And Cabrera, E.F. (2002). Knowledge sharing dilemmas. Organization Studies, 23(5):687–710.
  10. Carroll, T.F. (1992). Intermediary NGOs : the supporting link in grassroots development. Kumarian Press, West Hartford, Conn.
  11. Clark, E. And Geppert, M. (2002). Management learning and knowledge transfer in transforming societies: approaches, issues and future directions. Human Resource Development International, 5(3):263–277.
  12. Curry, A., Flett, P., and Hollingsworth, I. (2006). Managing Information and Systems. Routledge, London.
  13. Dichter, T.W. (2003). Despite good intentions: why development assistance to the third world has failed. University of Massachusetts Press, Amherst, MA.
  14. Ebrahim, A. (2002). Information struggles: The role of information in the reproduction of NGO-funder relationships. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sectory Quarterly, 31(1):84–114.
  15. Ebrahim, A. (2005). Accountability myopia: Losing sight of organizational learning. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sectory Quarterly, 34(1):56–87.
  16. Edwards, M. (1994). NGOs in the age of information. IDS Bulletin, 25(2):117–124.
  17. Edwards, M. (2000). NGO Rights and Responsibilities: A New Deal for Governance. Foreign Policy Centre, London.
  18. Edwards, M. And Hulme, D. (1996). Beyond the magic bullet : NGO performance and accountability in the post-Cold War world. Kumarian Press, West Hartford, CT.
  19. Eylon, D. And Allison, S.T. (2002). The paradox of ambiguous information in collaborative and competitive settings. Group and Organization Management, 27(2):172–208.
  20. Feuerstein, M.-T. (1993). Partners in Evaluation. Macmillan Press, London; Basingstoke.
  21. Florini, A. And Simmons, P. (2000). What the world needs now? In The third force: the rise of transnational civil society, pages 1–16. Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Washington, DC.
  22. Fowler, A. (1997). Striking a balance : a guide to enhancing the effectiveness of non-governmental organisations in international development. Earthscan, London.
  23. Fox, J., Suryanata, K., Hershock, P., and Pramono, A.H. (2003). Mapping power: Ironic effects of spatial information technology. Retrieved from http://www.iapad.org/publications/PPGIS/mapping_power_ironic_effects.pdf, September 3, 2006.
  24. Grenier, L. (1998). Working with indigenous knowledge: a guide for researchers. International Development Research Centre, Ottawa.
  25. Heeks, R. (1998). Information systems without information technology. Technical report, Institute for Development Policy and Management, University of Manchester, Manchester.
  26. Heeks, R. (1999). Information and communication technologies, poverty and development. Working Paper 5, Institute for Development Policy and Management, Manchester.
  27. Heeks, R. (2005). Overestimating the global digital divide. EDevelopment Briefing 7, Development Informatics Group, University of Manchester, Manchester.
  28. Hulme, D. And Edwards, M., editors (1997). NGOs, states and donors : too close for comfort? Macmillan Press, Basingstoke.
  29. Jacobs, A. And Angood, C. (2005). Focus on funding: Increasing downward accountability: Reporting financial information to programme users. In Informed 13. Retrieved from http://www.intrac.org/pages/Informed.html.
  30. Jensen, R. And Szulanski, G. (2004). Stickiness and the adaptation of organizational practices in cross-border knowledge transfers. Journal of International Business Studies, 35:508–
  31. Jones, D., Behrens, S., Jamieson, K., and Tansley, E. (2004). The rise and fall of a shadow system: Lessons for enterprise system implementation. Hobart, Tasmania. ACIS.
  32. Jordan, L. And van Tuijl, P. (2002). Political responsiblity in transnational NGO advocacy. In Edwards, M. And Fowler, A., editors, The Earthscan Reader on NGO Management, pages 100–122. Earthscan, London.
  33. Kmetz, J.L. (1998). The Information Processing Theory of Organization: Managing technology accession in complex systems. Ashgate, Aldershot, UK.
  34. Kovach, H., Neligan, C., and Burall, S. (2003). Power without accountability. Accountability report, One World Trust, London.
  35. Lee, F., Edmondson, A.C., Thomke, S., and Worline, M. (2004). The mixed effects of inconsistency on experimentation in organizations. Organization Science, 15(3):310–326.
  36. Levey, L.A. And Young, S. (2002). Rowing upstream : snapshots of pioneers of the information age in Africa. Sharp Sharp Media, Johannesburg.
  37. Lyytinen, K. And Robey, D. (1999). Learning failure in information systems development. Information Systems Journal, 9(2):85–101.
  38. McConnell, S. (2000). A champion in our midst: Lessons learned from the impacts of NGOs’ use of the Internet. Electronic Journal on Information Systems in Developing Countries, 2(5):1–15.
  39. Meyer, C.A. (1997). The political economy of NGOs and information sharing. World Development, 25(7):1127–1140.
  40. Mills, A.J., Simmons, T., and Mills, J.H. (2005). Reading Organization Theory. Garamond Press, Aurora, Ontario, 3rd edition.
  41. National NGO Congress (1991). Forging unity towards development: 1st National NGO Congress. CODE-NGO, Quezon City, Philippines.
  42. Østergaard, L.R. (2005). To network or not to network: NGO experiences with technical networks. In Informed 13. Retrieved from http://www.intrac.org/pages/Informed.html.
  43. Perera, J. (1997). In unequal dialogue with donors: The experience of the Sarvodaya Shramadana movement. In Hulme and Edwards (1997), pages 156–167.
  44. Powell, M. (2003). Information Management in Development Organizations. Oxfam, Oxford, UK.
  45. Power, G., Maury, M., and Maury, S. (2003). Operationalising bottom-up learning in international NGOs: barriers and alternatives. In Roper et al. (2003), pages 22–39.
  46. Protz, M. (1998). Video, gender, and participatory development. In Guijt, I. And Shah, M.K., editors, The Myth of Community, pages 165–177. ITDG Publishing, London.
  47. Reade-Fong, E. And Gorman, G.E. (2005). NGOs, ICTs and information dissemination in Asia and Oceania. IFLA Journal, 31(1):45–51.
  48. Roch, C. And Sadowsky, J. (2004). The power of stories. International Journal of Information Technology and Management, 2(4):377–388.
  49. Roger, J. (2003). Knowledge and the mathematical properties of communication. International Journal of Information Technology and Management, 2(1/2):100–110.
  50. Roper, L. And Pettit, J. (2003). Development and the learning organization: an introduction. In Roper et al. (2003), pages 1–21.
  51. Roper, L., Pettit, J., and Eade, D., editors (2003). Development and the Learning Organization. Institute of Development Studies.
  52. Save the Children UK (2006). Child Link. Retrieved from http://www.cf.org.uk/scuk/jsp/getinvolved/individualdonations.jsp?subsection= Childlink, September 8, 2006.
  53. Save the Children USA (2006). Child sponsorship with Save the Children. Retrieved from http://www.savethechildren.org/sponsorship/, September 8, 2006.
  54. Schneider, H. And Libercier, M.-H., editors (1995). Participatory Development from Advocacy to Action. OECD, Paris.
  55. Schueber, M. (2003). Information management strategy formation in northern development NGOs. Technical report, Institute for Development Policy and Management, Manchester.
  56. Senthilkumaran, S. (2005). From a small beginning to a mass market - national alliance for mission 2007: Every village is a knowledge center. In Building e-Community Centres for Rural Development: Report of the Regional Workshop in Bali, Indonesia, pages 66–71. United Nations, Bangkok.
  57. Sitari, T. (1988). Technology transfer to developing countries: From place to place or from space to space. TECO Publication 17, Institute for Development Studies, University of Helsinki, Helsinki.
  58. Smillie, I. (2000). Conclusion. In Gibbs, S., editor, Decentralised NGO management, number 29 in Occasional paper series. INTRAC, Oxford, UK.
  59. Sole, D. And Wilson, D. (2002). Storytellling in organizations: The power and traps of using story to share knowledge in organizations. Retrieved from http://lila.pz.harvar D.edu/_upload/lib/ACF14F3.pdf.
  60. Spender, J. (2003). Knowledge fields: Some post-9/11 thoughts about the knowledge-based theory of the firm. In Holsapple, C.W., editor, Handbook on Knowledge Management, volume 1, pages 59–72. Springer, Berlin, Germany.
  61. Spinuzzi, C. (2003). Tracing genres through organizations: a sociocultural approach to information design. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA.
  62. Starkey, P. (1997). Networking for development. International Forum for Rural Transport and Development, London.
  63. Suzuki, N. (1998). Inside NGOs : managing conflicts between headquarters and field offices in non-governmental organizations. Intermediate Technology Publications, London.
  64. Szulanski, G. (2003). Sticky Knowledge. SAGE Publications, London.
  65. Tourish, D. And Hargie, O. (2004a). The communication consequences of downsizing trust, loyalty and commitment. In Tourish and Hargie (2004b), pages 17–36.
  66. Tourish, D. And Hargie, O., editors (2004b). Key Issues in Organizational Communication. Routledge, London.
  67. UNDP (1997). A study of NGO activities in Lesotho, 1996. United Nations Development Programme, Maseru, Lesotho.
  68. WIGSAT (1997). Case studies. Women in Global Science and Technology. Retrieved from http://www.wigsat.org/it/casestudies.html, August 2, 2006.
  69. Zorn, T.E. And Taylor, J.R. (2004). Knowledge management and/as organizational communication. In Tourish and Hargie (2004b), pages 96–112.

These references have been extracted automatically and may have some errors. If you see a mistake in the references above, please contact info@learntechlib.org.