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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Putting the internet in context in international development : a case of institutional networking in Vietnam Boyle, Grant

Abstract

This thesis is a critical case study of the deployment of new information and communications technologies such as the Internet in international development. The paper examines human incentives for information technology use in different social environments and the implications of this issue for how we plan, deploy and ultimately envision IT in cross-cultural development programs and organizational contexts. The paper is based primarily on a study of the constraints on the adoption of an Internet-based research network at several academic institutions in Vietnam. While there are a number of obvious constraints associated with providing access to IT (such as connectivity and computer skills), the field study at one institution revealed the social complexity of information technology transfer; highlighting, in particular, the impact of Vietnamese authority relations on the adoption of IT for networking purposes. The thesis recommends a balanced and self-reflective approach to the socio-cultural "constraints", greater emphasis on organizational design and evaluation in information technology transfer and ongoing critical examination of the technical language that shapes our perception of IT deployment in development contexts.

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