Discourses on ICT and Development

Chrisanthi Avgerou


Research on ICT and development (ICTD) involves assumptions concerning the nature of ICT innovation and the way such innovation contributes to development. In this article, I review the multidisciplinary literature on ICTD and identify two perspectives regarding the nature of the ICT innovation process in developing countries–as transfer and diffusion and as socially embedded action–and two perspectives on the development transformation toward which ICT is understood to contribute–progressive transformation and disruptive transformation. I then discuss the four discourses formed by combining the perspectives on the nature of IS innovation and on the development transformation. My review suggests that ICTD research, despite its remarkable theoretical capabilities to study technology innovation in relation to socioeconomic context, remains weak in forming convincing arguments about IT-enabled socioeconomic development.


ICT innovation; socioeconomic development; transfer and diffusion; socially embedded action

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