Information and Communication Technology for Development (ICT4D) is a well established research area in both academia and practice. The research is trying to understand the instrumental role of ICT in development process. However, the process by which ICT may foster development, in the context of developing countries still remains a much debated issue.
The article contributes to the ongoing discussion on relating
information and communication technology (ICT) to development (D). The
quest to relate ICT to D is a topic of open deliberation and critical
scrutiny in ICT4D research communities. To enhance the understanding in
this regard, we conducted a literature review. The review examines 80
articles to identify various development theories and the role of
technologies in the development process. While scanning the articles,
Sen’s capability approach (CA) emerged as a suitable framework with
which to explore the link between ICT and D. To show the relevance of
the link, we used the CA as a guiding framework, and reanalyzed ten
empirical case studies focusing on projects in remote and rural areas.
Furthermore, the article suggests six gaps in the current research, and,
accordingly, six areas for future research.
There is one aspect of globalization of IT work that appears only in fleeting glimpses in the mainstream IS literature and is sidelined in the discourse in general. If global IT work is painted mainly as outsourcing IT-infused work from developed countries to poorer countries (euphemistically referred to as "low income countries"), shouldn't the development of capabilities in these very same less-developed countries be a vital cog? Simply put, if these countries do not have a capable workforce, IT work, or any other work for that matter, cannot be outsourced to these countries. The question then is how can capabilities be developed in developing countries? In this research-in-progress paper, we address this question by examining a case of an activist-led initiative in Nepal called "Open Learning Exchange" (OLE in short) that used the capabilities of ICTs to deliver quality education to remote mountainous regions of Nepal. We collected data through interviews and group sessions as well as observations and document analyses. We are currently analyzing the data at both the micro and macro levels. At the micro level, we are using models from the IS training literature to gain an understanding of how training concepts developed in the West can explain the success of the initiative. Then we move to the macro level by shifting our interpretive gaze to the concept of "eco-system" in order to understand the role of the society and the surroundings in the implementation of capability building initiatives in developing countries and sustaining them. Full paper