Conceptualising the Link Between Information Systems and Resilience: A Developing Country Field Study

Richard Heeks, Angelica V Ospina

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Resilience – the ability of systems to cope with external shocks and trends – is a topic of increasing interest to research and practice. That growing interest is reflected within information systems (IS) but a structured review of IS literature shows a number of knowledge gaps around the conceptual and empirical application of resilience. This paper investigates what the sub-discipline of information-and-communication-technologies-for-development (ICT4D) can contribute; finding that it offers the information systems discipline fresh insights that can be built into a new framework of resilience, and an arena within which this new framework can appropriately be field-tested. Application of the resilience framework was undertaken through interviews and a survey in an urban community in Costa Rica; benchmarking both community resilience and “e-resilience” (understood here as the contribution of ICTs to community resilience), and developing from these a set of action priorities. The paper reflects on what can be learned generally from this conceptualisation and operationalisation of resilience. It also reflects on what ICTs contribute to resilience in developing countries, and on what this ICT4D-based research specifically contributes to the identified IS knowledge gaps. This includes identification of a future research agenda on information systems and resilience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)70-96
JournalInformation Systems Journal
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Global Development Institute


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