Information Technology Sophistication and Knowledge Essay Example
Particularly, does it influence capacity building in evaluation and management for development results in countries like the Philippines? The paper examined the depth of knowledge-based practice in disaster risk management and health care sectors in the Philippines. It explored the reach of advanced information technologies and linked knowledge use with decision-making and measure of performance from a comparative perspective.
It argued that there is an inclination towards sophistication which is not entirely supportive of the building of strong capacity in managing for development results and sound measure of performance. The findings show a relatively good level of advanced IT & 'knowledge' use among organizations but link to measure of performance & evidence-based session making is weak. The presentation can contribute to a clearer understanding of how technology is influencing the way development issues are addressed and how it shapes the deve...
lopment of the body of knowledge that builds upon the emerging practice of evaluation.
Recently, there is a growing demand for greater accountability, transparency, and evidence-based demonstration of not only programs' but more importantly, of entire governments' performance as well. This appears to be a global trend and an indication of how the world is regressing toward a more responsible society. Interestingly, the emerging field of development evaluation offers innovative concepts on how governments can respond to this demand.
One example is the concept of managing for development results [Miff], a school of thought that espouses "results-based" or "evidence-based" practice in management. It is a management philosophy that advances empirical demonstration of performance and success of programs and organizations and uses evidence to improve decision-making. Proponents of this concept believe that "the more
credible the evidence, the more sound the conclusion", which should be the Asia of decisions. Being empirical requires systematic procedures that involve, among others, processing of large volume of data and information. These procedures construct the body of knowledge and evidence which will show that the targeted results of an intervention or program are being achieved. From this, it follows that the role of information technology [hereafter referred to as IT; another term, 'CT, which stands for communications and information technology is basically similar in meaning] in Miff can be large.
Advancement in IT can make empirical procedures efficient and expensive to the growing need for robust evidence of performance, on which Miff is premised. Many governments and organizations are increasingly moving towards the adoption of Miff in their systems. In the Philippines, as in many other countries lately, state agencies and other government functionaries are being mandated to show greater transparency, accountability, and demonstration of performance in governance.
To fulfill this mandate, the present Philippine administration recently has taken initiatives to strengthen the practice of Miff in the public sector (NEED 2010). The SE of advanced information systems is complementary to this new development. While it satisfies the requirement for an efficient information management system, it also supports the creation of knowledge-based culture in many organizations. But the extent in which the application of IT is made in parallel with Miff and how this application bear on decision-making and achievement of results are important issues not yet fully explored.
The study analyzed primarily the Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council [DRAM] and Department of Health [DOH], two state agencies in the Philippines that can
exemplify the use of IT and application of Miff. It primarily used desk research, including reviews of a broad range of documents and official publications, online materials, and interviews of key resource persons and practitioners. The investigation focused on good practices in technology use at these 2 organizations and made comparison on the existing situation with other major government agencies.
It organized data by scanning the organizations' records of various technology applications, including interviews of independent IT experts on software and hardware architecture fields. The paper draws insights and raises methodological and theoretical questions on owe sophisticated knowledge utilization influences decision-making and the way Miff issues are addressed. It illustrates the depth of IT application through a walk-through of innovations and applications of adaptive IT systems in these agencies.
Finally, it argues that there is an inclination towards sophistication which is not entirely supportive of the establishment of strong capacity in managing for development results and sound measure of performance. 2. 0 BACKGROUND 'Knowledge-based culture, 'sophisticated [or advanced] information technology [IT]' and 'managing for development results [Miff]', are terms very frequently used in his study. At the outset, what these words signify look intuitively simple and explanatory. However, a deeper consideration of meanings and contexts is needed to have a better understanding of the issues considered in this study.
IT Sophistication and Knowledge-based Culture: Bridging the Link with MIFF The development of knowledge-based culture is a modern-day phenomenon, possibly brought about partly by the advancement of technology in information processing and data management. In our era of globalized trade and socio-economic integration, the value of advanced information systems cannot be overstated. IT is known to
improve organizational performance in many ways. But what is advanced IT and knowledge-based culture's role in MIFF? How do these concepts link together? A consideration of basic meanings can help establish better perspective.
The sophistication of IT can be defined simply as the advancement of technology that has to do with creating, processing, sharing, and use of information (Galen, M. And Gridlock, 2011). [pick]The The term can include computer and network hardware and software, information management systems, programs, satellite systems, and any communication device using radio, television, mobile phones, internet, as well as arioso tools, services, and applications associated with them, such as video conferencing, webbing, distance learning, and social networking, among many others.
Knowledge" can be seen as an interplay of information and human faculties that improves action. Individuals, groups, or organizations are domains where this "knowledge" is inherent. In a related sense, the term "knowledge management" would imply a combination of information and human abilities that is managed to improve actions not Just at the individual or group, but more on the organizational level - and therefore, in a collective scale (Galen, M. ND Gridlock, D. , 2011). Culture on the other hand, can be about values, norms, and practices.
In the contexts of organizations, values are what members [of that organization] think are worth doing or having. Norms can be "shared beliefs about how people in the organization should behave, or what they should do to accomplish their work. Practices are the formal or informal routines used in the organization to accomplish work" (De Long 1997). Tying these concepts altogether will bring us the word "knowledge-based culture" that connotes organizational environment in
which knowledge management is a tankard practice and hardly separable from information technology use.
De Long (1997) theorized that "most managers recognize intuitively that organizational culture is relevant to how their firm creates, shares and uses knowledge" and "whether the objectives of a knowledge management strategy are to improve operational efficiencies, enhance organizational learning, intensify innovation, or speed up response to the market, a culture change strategy designed to shift behaviors and practices is a critical part of almost any knowledge. If this notion is true, it would be easier to see how Miff could fit into the 'picture'.
Miff is a management strategy that focuses on results of development interventions or organizational actions. It involves a coherent framework for effective planning, implementation, and evidence-based determination of the performance of programs and organizations (Santos 2011). The use of information, which is part of knowledge management, is a 'life blood' to this philosophy because it is a process that constructs the body of evidence, which in turn demonstrates performance and improves decision making -leading to more transparency and accountability in governance. Managing for Development Results in the Philippines The concept of MIFF was relatively new to public sector management in the Philippines. It must be noted that under the Paris Declaration of 2005, the Philippines, along with other 90 countries, 27 international organizations and 14 civil society groups, committed to "specific action to further country ownership, harmonistic, managing for development results, and mutual accountability for the use of aid" (2005 Paris Declaration).
But there seems to be dillydallying in the making of big changes for transparency and accountability among public institutions in the past number of
years, despite the country's commitment to undergo structural forms. For instance, a 2008 study in support of the evaluation of the Paris Declaration reported the status of developing countries in regard the use of a noticeable results framework, an indicator taken to demonstrate countries' progress toward MIFF (COED 2009).
The chart in Figure 1 shows that while 56 per cent of countries under study have already taken action in 2007, the Philippines still had no record of doing the same. Cambodia, a country whose economy was badly affected by years of war, was even better in position because it had taken positive step along that line. The same is true with Vietnam. The 2010 national elections, however, gave way to a new Philippine government. The change tilted favorably toward adoption, with the new administration's platform of governance fundamentally anchored on sharper reforms.
Just recently, the push for evidence-based management received further momentum. The National Economic Development Authority [NEED], which is the planning and policy coordinating body of the Philippines for national socio-economic development has embarked on capacity building. The organization, together with other implementing agencies, is currently undergoing a training program in MIFF for institutional strengthening. This is through technical assistance (TA) extended to the Philippine government by International Fund for Agricultural Development (FAD).
The capacity building program is in line with the "commitment of the Government of the Philippines (GOP) through NEED and 'FAD in advancing the principle of alignment and managing for development results at the institutional level", and part of the "commitment made by the Philippines at the Paris High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness in 2005" (NEED 2011). Evaluation associations are known
to be good partners in building capacity for MIFF in many countries.
These organizations share knowledge and skills in monitoring and evaluation [M&E] with various government sectors and development organizations by partnering with them on development initiatives and evaluation advocacy. Currently, three evaluation organizations have been established in the Philippines; the Philippians Monitoring and Evaluation Society [est.. 2010], M&E Network [est.. 2011], and the Philippians Development Evaluators Association [est.. 2011]. The second was formed through NEED, with the support of other national government agencies and international development organizations.
In November 2011, the first M&E Evaluation Forum, an international conference on development evaluation was held in Manila through the combined effort of NEED and EUNICE. From these recent developments, it can be seen that MIFF continues to take root in the consciousness of the Philippine public sector management. 2008 Survey on Monitoring the Paris Declaration: Progress on Aid Effectiveness (COED Publications 2009) The timeline in Figure 2 illustrates the Philippines' progress by charting the events leading to Miff. The figure is an adaptation from a powering material presented y the NEED Deputy Director-General, Ronald G.
Tangling, during the 1ST M&E Forum in Manila on November 7, 8, 2011. As indicated in the chart, it was only after 2009, or during the start of the new administration in 2010 that specific mention of Miff was made as being part of government policies. There were indications though, that even during the 1996-1999 period, Legislative and Cabinet-level issuance included elements of results or outcome orientations (Tangling 2011). The reason why the previously cited 2008 survey for Paris Declaration did not have this point taken is not known.
that the Philippines did not participate in the survey or the matter was not deemed substantive as a survey found. Only a short period has passed after the government moved for the adoption of Miff in the public sector management in the Philippines. However, because of international linkages [through bilateral and multilateral donor or lending arrangements] between local government agencies and international organizations, such the World Bank, SAID, and CICADA, among others, it may be safe to infer that principles of Miff were being absorbed by the locals even before 2010.
It is worth mentioning though, that Miff practice in the international development field is still emerging although fast advancing, and notably, development organizations, donor agencies, and international lending institutions are the known originators and proponents. Donors' or lenders' requirements for transparency, accountability, and evidence of performance in the use of aids are leading to more stringent measures of compliance on the part of the recipients.
And this holds true in the case of Philippine institutions that implement programs aided by supports from the international community. The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council [MODERN] and the Department of Health [DO] were selected as sample agencies to illustrate the application of MIFF and the use of IT in government sectors in this study. The two can be ahead in terms of MIFF practices as both, in some way, serve as conduits for implementing programs of the government that are funded through aids or syndicated loans.
On the other hand, the similar context of MODERN and DOTH puts them in the best position to acquire and adopt top-of-the-line IT because of the emergency and crisis nature
of their Job, which feed on and demand round-the-clock imply information. While the MODERN and DOTH were chosen as the main objects of investigation, the study also made a reflective consideration of some major government departments focusing on the same issue. This approach enables a more substantive comparison albeit done in an exploratory fashion.
The Philippines' progress toward Miff Philippines: 'lives-on-the-line' role demands real time response The MODERN is the leading government organization responsible for ensuring people's protection from disasters and emergencies. It operates under the Department of National Defense and covers 4 major areas of disaster protection; disaster preparedness, disaster prevention and mitigation, disaster response, and disaster rehabilitation and recovery.
With the Heads of various agencies brought together as one body to coordinate on a particular task 'outside' of their mandated functions, it can be seen how significant the role of data and information systems is in the overall operation of the Council. On top of this organizational complexity, the kind of Job the disaster management role involves is known to demand very critical 'lives- on-the-line type processing of data and information coming in a real time fashion.
Disasters, both natural and man-made are often swift and overwhelming, demanding nick of time decisions to save lives that oftentimes are literally 'on the line'. Integrated and decisive actions of various government branches are needed and should be supported by reliable processing of information possible only through advanced adaptive systems developed in the IT field (Spence P. R. & Lacuna, K. A. , 2010; Johnson, A. , 2008). This context puts the MODERN in a very ideal position to benefit from the combined advantage of MIFF
application and sophisticated IT use. 3. DOTH, Philippines: 'lives-are-at-stake' role requires 'universal' access The DOTH is a national government agency mandated to ensure the health well-being of the people through greater access to basic public health services, provision of quality health care, and regulation of health goods and services providers. The importance of good information and data management system in the DOTH is obvious, uh to the critical 'lives-are-at-stake' nature of work that is strongly dependent on timely and coordinated actions among the various branches and attached agencies of the organization.
This mandate puts the DOTH in a similar league with the MODERN. The DO'S Universal Health Care (CHIC) Program, which is its core corporate agenda, seeks to provide "every Filipino the highest possible quality of health care that is accessible, efficient, equitably distributed, adequately funded, fairly financed, and appropriately used by an informed and empowered public". To attain CHIC, the DOTH obviously needs a robust information management system that will complement the program implementation (DOTH 2012).
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