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Public E-Procurement Implementation: Insights from the Structuration Theory

Public E-Procurement Implementation: Insights from the Structuration Theory
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Author(s): José Rodrigues Filho (Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Brazil) and Flavio Perazzo Barbosa Mota (Universidade Federal da Paraíba, Brazil)
Copyright: 2012
Pages: 12
Source title: Inter-Organizational Information Systems and Business Management: Theories for Researchers
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Kishor Vaidya (University of Canberra, Australia & Southern Queensland University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-768-5.ch014

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Abstract

Today most e-government and e-procurement research and discussion are done in a quite utilitarian and technical way. This follows the worldwide positivist and utilitarian approach to research that neglects the social, organizational, cultural, and political aspects of social life. Therefore, most research initiatives are based on a market-driven and utilitarian approach in which technology is treated as a mere tool. So, under the use of a traditional top-down model or the “tool-approach,” information and communication technologies (ICTs) have been implemented in developing countries detached from their social and political context, as an instrumental, static, elitist, and uncritical utilitarian approach, neglecting a deep investigation of how social, economic, and political factors are embedded in technology. In addition, most of the literature on e-procurement has been studied primarily from a business-to-business (B2B) perspective, and the field of public sector procurement has been neglected. Although public e-procurement has similarities with the private sector, it also has some special characteristics that make it different. Therefore, it is not clear to what extent recent decisions on public e-procurement have been optimal. In the broad competing views of information technology (IT), interpretative or constructivist approaches see the use of IT as the result of conflicts, negotiations, and interpretations of various interests that make it socially constructed. These competing views of technology help the formulation of an appropriate debate on e-procurement that holds enormous potential for cost savings, efficiency and benefit gains, and transparency. In this work, an attempt was made to show how qualitative research traditions like structuration theory (specifically the perspective of “dialectic of control”) and qualitative research analysis can be used in the analysis of e-procurement in Brazil, leading to results that differ substantially from the mainstream positivist research that does not always touch the barriers and challenges that can constrain the adoption and implementation of public e-procurement projects.

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