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Journal of the Association for Information Systems

Abstract

We examine the relationship between information and communication technology for development (ICT4D) and local historically embedded institutions. We argue that, to understand the process of implementing IT artifacts, one needs to consider not only technical feasibility and economic viability but also institutional permissibility. We present a novel theoretical framework based on dialectics and institutional theory and apply it to a case study that contributes a dialectics-centered framework illustrated with empirical data from the informal sector in Latin America. The analysis demonstrates the institutionalization of IT artifacts as a conflicted and contested process and that historical institutions may enable some forms of institutionalization while resisting others contrary to social norms. We examine the emergence of contradictions, active praxis, and the resulting outcomes before concluding that, for IT artifacts to contribute to development, one must emphasize the embedded institutional arrangements and contestation that historically embedded institutions present. We conclude the paper by discussing the theoretical and practical implications.

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