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The Digital Hand, Vol 3How Computers Changed the Work of American Public Sector Industries$
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James W. Cortada

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195165869

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195165869.001.0001

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Role, Presence, and Trends in the Use of Information Technology by the Federal Government

Role, Presence, and Trends in the Use of Information Technology by the Federal Government

(p.184) 6 Role, Presence, and Trends in the Use of Information Technology by the Federal Government
The Digital Hand, Vol 3

James W. Cortada

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the use and deployment of information technology by the federal government from 1950 to 2007. By looking at the government as a whole, several patterns of use, deployment, and effects become evident. The federal government have demonstrated a continuous appetite for information technologies for over a half century. The motivations for relying on the digital hand came largely out of desires to lower operating costs and the amount of labor required to perform work. Agencies and departments, however, also proved quite reluctant to alter fundamental aspects of operating as a consequence of using IT, such as their missions, work processes, and measures of accountability for results. Over time, their increased use of IT ultimately did cause incremental changes in how work was done. These changes encouraged Congress to change missions and work, because of the availability of digital tools that made it possible either to do things more cheaply, faster, or better, or to do simply something new.

Keywords:   IT, federal government, Internet, operation costs

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