Al-Mabrouk, Khalid and James, Kieran (2009) A critical theory approach to information technology transfer to the developing world and a critique of maintained assumptions in the literature. In: Information systems research methods, epistemology, and applications. Information Science Reference (IGI Global), Hershey PA, USA, pp. 73-87. ISBN 978-1-60566-040-0
This chapter reviews some of the existing Information Technology Transfer (ITT) literature and suggests that it has fallen victim to the well-known limitations of an economic rationalist and positivist worldview. In particular we challenge the extensive use of the term 'success' in the ITT literature, arguing that it is problematic for several reasons. Mainstream ITT research portrays ITT as primarily linear, incremental, and progressive in line with the economic rationalist belief that a 'rising tide lifts all boats.' We suggest Marx's theory of dialectical materialism as an alternative to the dominant hegemony and encourage researchers in ITT to accept the fact that internal contradictions are part of a dialectic system. We encourage ITT researchers to view local resistance more sympathetically. Concerted efforts
should be made to understand and dialog with the Other. Overall we recommend more interview based case study research in preference to mass-mail out surveys which may prove ineffective in reaching a broad segment of the population in non-Western locations. The existing literature has a preoccupation with educated urban elites and Transnational Corporations may also prove to be a hindrance to both our increased understanding and radical social change.
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