The (missing?) value of IT in public organizations - The case of the Swedish rescue services


To actually gain organizational value from investments in Information technology (IT) is a widely

known problem that many businesses today struggle with. This paper presents an interpretative case

study of three public fire rescue service organizations in Sweden. The aim of the study is to investigate

what problematic issues that could be raised in achieving organizational value of IT in public

organizations. The study indicates that the absence of strategies and IT evaluation methods create

fragmented, uncoordinated IT-investment activities, which in turn creates a frustration at all levels of

the organization. The public sector invests heavy in IT, seemingly with poor management control. The

consequences will be misuse of resources and unnecessary high IT costs. We argue that the use of

formal evaluation methods would help the situation, but that economic methods are not enough as the

sole solution. A combination of the economic and the Interpretative IT Evaluation approach seems

more promising in order to capture both efficiency and effectiveness aspects.

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