Corruption, as a research topic, because of its very nature, tends not to be explicitly discussed. Further, empirically it is not easy to get “data” on, as respondents rarely discuss this topic, and neither would it be discussed in formal reports and presentations. It is thus elusive but still permeates widely and arguably significantly shapes the trajectories of ICT projects in developing countries. Often, from the West the view taken is that officials and bureaucrats in developing countries are corrupt and responsible for failures of ICT projects. Arguably, this is an incomplete view, as there are “networks of corruption” in play involving international donors, ICT vendors, politicians and other actors. Dynamics within these networks give voice to corruption within particular contexts. In this paper, the dynamics of corruption, including the “macro-micro” linkages are traced in the context of a ICT project (based on free software and implemented by a not for profit NGO) for the public health sector in an Indian state. In trying to understand some of these dynamics of corruption, the paper contributes to research in IS in developing countries in 2 ways: practically tracing the implications of corruption on project implementation; arguing for a more explicit consideration of corruption by researchers interested in building a richer contextual understanding of ICT project implementation in developing countries.

icis-0715-2008-File002.pdf (300 kB)