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Full text of "West Georgia College Studies in the Social Sciences"



O t UoLit 6 I 



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Studies in the Social Sciences 
State University of West Georgia 



Vol XXXVII. No 1 
January 2002 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2011 with funding from 

LYRASIS Members and Sloan Foundation 



http://www.archive.org/details/westgeorgiacolle37unse 



Studies in the Social Sciences 



'Technology and the Social Sciences' 



This edition is dedicated to the memory of the victims and to honor the heroes 

responding to the terrorist assaults in the Washington area, New York City and 

Pennsylvania; September 1 1 , 200 1 



The State University of West Georgia 
College of Arts and Sciences 

iCarrollton, Georgia 
770 836-6500 
www.westga.edu 



Volume XXXVII, Number 1 

January 2002 

ISBN: 1-883199-14-X 



All rights reserved. Permission to reproduce these works may be obtained by writing to the 
editor. A double blind-review process was carried out for articles contained herein. 



Studies in the Social Sciences 

Editor 

Robert M. Sanders 
State University of West Georgia 



Associate Editors 

Paul E. Masters Stanley M. Caress 

State University of West Georgia State University of West Georgia 



Editorial Board 

G. Richard Larkin J. David Haskin 

State University of West Georgia Georgia State University 

Barbara L. Neuby Ronald Hunter 

Kennesaw State University State University of West Georgia 

Cal Clark Florence S. Ferguson 

Auburn University State University of West Georgia 

Janet M. Clark 

State University of West Georgia 



Editorial Assistants 

James D. Rodgers 
State University of West Georgia 

NSugumaran Narayanan 
State University of West Georgia 

Sudeep Perumbakkam 

State University of West Georgia 



Contents 

Page 
Acknowledgments/Contributors vii 

Prologue.. Technology in the Social Sciences ix 

Barbara L. Neuby 

Articles: 

Society— 
Advertising Communications Technology on Television: 
Selling a Paradigm- A Symptom of Our Culture 1 

Jenny Kerr 

E-Invasion of Privacy 1 1 

Cole D. Taratoot 

Geographic Information Technologies and Their 

Potentially Erosive Effects on Personal Privacy 19 

Marc P. Armstrong 

To Promote the General Welfare- The Ethical 

Imperative of Closing the Digital Divide 29 

Valerie L. Patterson 

Government— 
Political Activity, Administrative Controls and 
Communications Technology: Observations from 
a State Bureaucracy 39 

Robert M. Sanders and Alexander Y. Aronson 

Innovation, Technology and Municipal Governments 47 

Dahlia Bradshaw Lynn 

Education— 

Utilizing Technology to Revitalize and Modernize 

Pi Gamma Mu 65 

Barry D. Friedman 



v 



Acknowledgments 

The Editor, contributors and the Department of Political Science would like 
to thank the Department Chair and the advisor to the Political Science Club 
of the State University of West Georgia for their support of this volume. 

About the contributors... 

Barbara L. Neuby is Associate Professor of Political Science at Kennesaw State 
University where she teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in public 
administration and policy sciences. She brings 20 years of engineering and 
design experience to her classes and formerly taught at the State University 
of West Georgia from 1995 until 2001. Dr. Neuby was awarded the Board 
of Regents, Distinguished Teaching Award in 1998 and Teacher of the Year 
for the Arts & Sciences in 1999. She is currently researching municipal 
preparedness for biological emergencies. 

Jenny Kerr will complete her Master's Degree in Psychology at the State 
University of West Georgia in December of 200 1 . With diverse interests in 
social psychology, GLBT studies, holistic health, integrative arts therapies, 
multicultural issues, and theoretical cultural analysis, Jenny intends to help 
facilitate both personal growth and social change in the future. Ms. Kerr 
currently resides in Carrollton, GA with her legally related life-partner, John, 
six cats, and a mouse named Willy. 

Cole D. Taratoot is a research assistant in the doctoral program at Virginia 
Technical Institute and State University. He received both his undergraduate 
degree in political science and MPA degree from the State University of 
West Georgia where he was the founder and president of the political 
science club. His research with the Small Community Outreach Project on 
Environmental Issues (SCOPe) was published by the EPA in September of 
2000. Other work was presented at the Georgia ASPA academic conference 
in March of 2001. 

Marc P. Armstrong is Professor and Chair of the Department of Geography 
at The University of Iowa. He also holds an appointment in the Graduate 
Program in the Applied Mathematical and Computational Sciences and is 
a member of the Center for Global and Regional Environmental Research. 



Armstrongs Ph.D. is from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 
He has served as North American Editor of the International Journal of 
Geographical Information Science and as the Associate Editor of Cartography 
and Geographic Information Systems. 

Acknowledgements 

I wish to thank Claire E. Pavlik for comments on an earlier draft of my 
paper and Ronghai Sa for assistance with the GIS analyses. Support 
provided by the Obermann Center for Advanced Studies is also gratefully 
acknowledged. 

Valerie Patterson is on the faculty of the School of Policy and Management at 
Florida International University, where she teaches courses in administrative 
and governmental ethics and values, and courses dealing with contemporary 
race and gender issues. She holds a Ph.D. in public administration. 
Additionally, she teaches human resource policy and management at the 
undergraduate and graduate levels. She currently serves as Associate Director 
of Graduate Studies for the School of Policy and Management. Her research 
and publications address the impact of values on administrative ethics, truth, 
and honesty, as well as human resource policy issues. 

Robert M. Sanders is an Associate Professor of Government and Public 
Administration in the Department of Political Science at the State University 
of West Georgia. His fields of specialization include public policy and 
organization theory, with consulting activity, presentations and published 
research on topics pertaining to the federal bureaucracy, immigration policy, 
interest group activity and social services on the state level. He received his 
Ph.D. in Public Administration at Florida International University. 

Barry D. Friedman is professor of political science and coordinator of the 
M.P.A. program at North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU) 
in Dahlonega. He received his M.B.A., M.P.A., and Ph.D. in political 
science from the University of Connecticut. He is the author of Regulation 
in the Reagan-Bush Era: The Eruption of Presidential Influence (University 
of Pittsburgh Press, 1995). In addition to serving as secretary-treasurer of 
NGCSU's chapter of the Pi Gamma Mu social science honor society, he is 
also the honor society's vice chancellor of the Atlantic Region and governor 
for Georgia. He is the faculty advisor of NGCSU's chapter of the Pi Sigma 
Alpha political science honor society and the founding executive director of 
NGCSU's Council of Honor Societies. 



Prologue 

Technology in the Social Sciences 

Ah, Technology, that cure-all, that revolutionary tool to make the uneducated, 
unmotivated masses learn more quickly, more completely, and better. Our 
lives are surrounded by technology. There is scarcely an area of life that 
is not touched or totally controlled by technology. From computers to 
video streams to palm pilots and cell phones, the fabric of most of our 
lives is technology. 

But there is no "theory" of technology. There is no guide to its proper 
use or set of rules to avoid its misuse- only abundant commentary on its 
myriad adaptations, successes or failures. In the social sciences, technology 
has provided a wealth of benefits, both realized and potential. It has presented 
numerous challenges to social science faculty, administrators, students and 
policy analysts. The presence of technology has created a technocratic elite 
and resultant social stratification. 

The benefits of technology are real and potential. Whether from computers, 
video streams or other scientific technology, an exponential increase in 
information has promoted more and better social research, analysis, teaching 
and learning. From equipment advances in natural sciences, the DNA 
Sequencer, for example, come opportunities to analyze the social consequences 
of the products of discovery of the natural world. Technology has also created 
problems left with which social scientists must deal (gambling) and sometimes 
technology fixes problems social scientists have not or could not resolve 
(pharmaceuticals). So rapidly are discoveries made, that social scientists barely 
make sense of their consequences before new events occur. 

Of course, huge advances in social research have also been made. User- 
friendly computer programs open data sets to hypotheses once testable 
only via obfuscating higher mathematics generally not well practiced by 
social scientists without pain. Hypotheses can now be tested on a hand 
held calculator. 

Public offices in which social research is carried into policy are now 
technology driven. Through GIS information systems, computer modeling 
or artificial intelligence, policy analysis and program evaluation are vaulted to 
ever-higher degrees of sophistication. The way in which public officials carry 
out their duties has also changed via technology. Paper, the stock in trade of 
the administrator, has given way to magnetism, plastic and magical things 



called transistors. The flow of work often involves no paper at all. The very 
workforce itself has also responded. Almost everyone in public offices has 
knowledge of technology, primarily computers, but also a wide variety of 
equipment such as digital cameras, environmental testing and treatment 
supplies and procedures. Last, but certainly not least, is. the revolution 
in communications. Though privacy is a concern, the flow of discussion 
has expanded by leaps and bounds both formally and informally. Needless 
to say, technological change in the social sciences has created a whole 
new branch of law. 

The tech revolution has created many challenges, for social science faculty, 
administrators and students. There seems to be an almost supernatural or 
mystical belief that the availability of technology produces better, more 
motivated students and that every faculty member who uses technology in 
instruction is somehow a better teacher. Not necessarily. Whether through 
the use of web-based classes, videos in the classroom, internet assignments or 
televised course distribution, all that technology guarantees is the opportunity 
to package old wine in new bottles. Or does technology produce new 
instructional wine? There is that huge database of information. Technology 
challenges the status quo. A gauntlet to faculty to use it properly, and to keep 
up with its advancements. Technology has allowed faculty to deliver courses 
far away to students who might otherwise get nothing. Some proponents 
say to avoid technology in instruction is to condemn oneself to mediocrity. 
Research is underway to see whether this is so. Technology will help us gather 
evidence. Let us use the tool to validate its mission. 

Students are faced with the same challenge. Word processing has 
revolutionized the "term paper." Or has it? Note the wealth of papers 
with misspelled words, poor grammar and punctuation and no or poorly 
documented resources. But there is that huge database of information. Does 
that motivate them to critically think or analyze? Does technology advance 
their ability to make correct judgments? Does it make them more mature? The 
jury is not in quite yet. High schools students and faculty are also similarly 
challenged. Should a high school geography class have a GIS system? A wide 
variety of informational technologies are available; and, students too feel the 
pressure to conform to the techno norm of having the best. 

Administrators feel the budgetary pinch universally across all disciplines. 
Every clamor for more technology forces examination of a request not made 
years ago. It is perhaps more difficult for social sciences to justify these 
requests, as opposed to natural sciences or business who, for so long have built 
their educational paradigms on the acquisition of scientifically accumulated 



"data." However, every campus now has an IT department complete with 
staff, a multi-million dollar inventory and budget. Every dollar spent here 
is a dollar not spent on salaries, supplies, facilities, grounds or other equally 
deserving programs. And, of course, once a line of equipment is purchased, 
it generally has to be upgraded. Staff needs to be trained. Policies regarding 
its uses must be developed. Technology is self-perpetuating. Job security. 
No tenure required. 

Technology is not a panacea. We, in social sciences, like other disciplines, 
are captured by its intrigue, wowed by its performance and indebted to its 
results. We must take the bad with the good. And, if we can only discover the 
good before it becomes obsolete, and make wise and judicious use of it, we 
will have mastered one of humankind's greatest gifts. 

Barbara L. Neuby 
Kennesaw State University 
September 11, 2001. 



Advertising Communications Technology on 

Television: Selling a Paradigm - 

A Symptom of Our Culture 

Jenny Kerr 

State University of West Georgia 

Abstract 

Though much research has been done on the psychological and social 
effects of advertising on individuals, few specific cultural analyses have been 
conducted on any one particular advertisement or set of advertisements 
in order to comprehend how ads impact us in various ways. This article 
focuses on the phenomenon of television advertisements promoting the use 
of communication technology, specifically looking at the new controversial 
advertisement created by Alcatel.com involving the late Reverend Dr. Martin 
Luther King, Jr. Using a style of cultural analysis proposed by Marjorie 
Garber (2000) that views distinct aspects of culture that repeat or stand 
out {symptoms) as indicative of large-scale social change (or a syndrome) 
and evidence of culture in-the-making; we shall see the beginning of the 
shift toward a technological mindset. Communication technology (cell 
phones, Internet, E-mail, etc.), in both product and practice, infiltrates our 
consciousness and assimilates our being through advertising as it becomes 
an answer to all our needs and desires. 

Advertising Communication Technology on Television: 
Selling a Paradigm - A Symptom of Our Culture 

The move toward a reliance and increased usage of technology has been in 
process since the turn of the century, beginning with the industrial revolution 
and even earlier if we consider tool making and invention technologies 
(Tierney, 1993). Similarly, it is widely known and discussed how television 
advertisements -just as this technological mentality- pervades our culture 
and invades our consciousness. For instance, there is much evidence that 
advertising adversely affects the body image and self-esteem of teen-aged youth 
(Berger, 2000; Gergen, 1991; Salomon, 1979/1994 and much more). Yet the 
effects are tremendous when combining these two phenomena, apparent in 
the recent bombardment of visual and auditory stimuli influencing us to adopt 
technological practices and invest in the services of mass communications 
and education technology via Internet, cellular phones, web-sites, etc. If we 

1 



Advertising Communications Technology on Television: Selling a Paradigm - A Symptom of Our Culture 

look more closely at individual advertisements for technological products and 
services, we see companies are actually selling values in an entire paradigm, 
a set of needs linked to the very idea of technology, itself, as we move 
into the future of our dependence and collaboration with technology in 
this new era of culture. 

In her book, Symptoms of Culture, Marjorie Garber (2000) looks at 
specific outstanding cultural phenomenon and attempts to find, through 
various connections, how it speaks to culture, in general. Her analysis views 
distinct aspects of culture that repeat or stand out {symptoms) as indicative 
of large-scale social change (or a syndrome) and evidence of culture in the 
making. Garber, a Harvard professor of English, considers these "symptoms" 
to be indicative of broader cultural functions relative to the manner a 
psychological or physiological symptom would indicate a greater issue, or 
"syndrome", for an individual. In defining "symptoms of culture", Garber 
claims: "They are cultural practices and cultural signs, evidence of the way we 
produce 'culture' as something to be read" (2000, p. 14). 

We currently see an increase in the amount of television commercials 
advertising communication and networking technology. Though this may 
seem to be simply doing what other commercials do... sell; further analysis 
reveals differences in these technological ads and others which focus on 
specific household items, entertainment equipment, clothing, cosmetics, or 
food. All commercials create some form of image and a desire to either be 
like that image or avoid it, yet technological advertisements seem to move 
beyond this reflexive response to a deeper level. 

A Controversial Commercial 

"... I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the 
difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream 
deeply rooted in the American dream" (King, 1983/1987, 95). 

Recently, a commercial aired on television with a technologically modified 
presentation of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s famous "I Have a 
Dream" speech. Dr. King is first depicted giving his speech, completely alone, 
in front of the Washington Monument. Perhaps he is rehearsing his speech 
or perhaps it is simply that something necessary is missing... Whatever 
the intended message, it is left up to the assumption of the viewers. This is 
quite an interesting phenomenon, since the "source" (an essential element 
of persuasion, see: Sampson, 1991, p. 182) or deliverer of this message is 
deceased and has been long before the company which he is "promoting" 
was ever created or conceived. This is not a new concept, for Fred Astaire 



Jenny Kerr 

can still sell a vacuum cleaner, and a technologically enhanced Nat King 
Cole can sing with his daughter. However, now, the purpose of using these 
images is more obscure. 

The advertisement was for Alcatel, a company based in France, attempting 
to extend their global market to the U.S. The promoted message of the 
advertisement? "Before you can inspire - you must first connect." and Alcatel 
has "The power to bring people together...". There is actually no mention 
of what Alcatel produces. The emphasis is more on services, rather than 
products, provided to society as a whole. In other words, Alcatel uses the 
image of Dr. King to inspire us and then suggests that if we aspire to such 
greatness, we must elicit the help of technology, particularly brought to us 
via the means of such companies as Alcatel. The American Dream is perhaps 
to overcome all challenges and to be a successful individual. Yet, Alcatel 
also implies the inadequacy of an individual to do this alone, a common 
technique of advertisements: to create a void which the product can fill 
(Kitalong, 2000). These commercials suggest communication technology as 
the ambiguous answer to our inadequacies to inspire, to motivate, to create 
social change and direction - all things previously thought to be within 
the power of each and every American and perhaps every human being 
on the planet. So, as seen in most all commercials, a need is created, but 
the paradox is that the needs are now not filled with a single product, but 
a whole mentality... the technological mindset, the faith in technology 
to do all things. 

The King ad is the first in a series created by Alcatel, which includes 
monumental speeches, such as that of late baseball legend, Lou Gerig. Critics 
of Alcatels advertisements focus on the sheer offensiveness of exploiting such 
memorable figures in history; yet, the intention of the company was to honor 
these individuals and make them more known to the younger generations 
(Ruskin, 2001). Upon further inspection of their web-site, Alcatel.com 
is completely targeted toward buying stock in the multi-million-dollar 
company, not toward inquiry about products or services, nor toward offering 
any commentaries or feedback about Alcatel or communicating with them in 
any such way. The only mention of services on the web-site lay amidst a host 
of invitations to check stock options: "Alcatel builds next generation networks, 
delivering integrated end-to-end voice and data networking solutions to 
established and new carriers, as well as enterprises and consumers worldwide. 
With 130,000 employees and sales of EURO 31 billion in 2000, Alcatel 
operates in more than 130 countries." (All rights reserved. Copyright 2001 
Compagnie Financiere Alcatel, Paris, France.) Thus, the success of Alcatel to 



Advertising Communications Technology on Television: Selling a Paradigm - A Symptom of Our Culture 

sell us what we need is made obvious, though what we need is not so obvious 
in Alcatels statement. We get a sense of not only the grandiosity of technology, 
but also the mystery of it as well. In this we place our faith. 

_"Tke tendency of most is to adopt a view that is so ambiguous 
that it will include everything and so popular that it will include 
everybody" (King 1983/1987, 24). 

Technological services and products are estimated to account for over 
one-half of the commercials aired on television this past year, as high-tech 
internet companies increase advertisements through other sources (O' 
Hanlon, Oct. 2000). Though Computer Reseller News (et. al.) says: "Those 
messages are clear: 1. Know us. 2. Love us. 3. Buy our stock. 4. Use our 
products. 5. Work for us," there is more involved here than simply promoting 
business. There are also conflicting reports that internet companies are 
cutting back on their television advertising for the lack of profits (Friedman, 
Aug. 2000). The timing of these reports are incongruent and, thus, I would 
suggest that the conflict between them is suggestive of a cultural symptom. 
There are so many connections technology can make, so many things it 
can do for us, that it seems to be the answer to all our needs and desires. 
Commercials promoting the technological paradigm do not address the 
negative effects of technology, nor do they even allow us to make informed 
decisions about our involvement in the use of technology. 

The implication is that technology is a prevalent new paradigm, not 
only economically, but politically, individually and socially, as well (Martin, 
Gutman, & Hutton, 1988; Mesthene, 1970; Postman, 1992; & Shenk, 
1997). Technology suggests a value system to our culture by providing 
our society with meaning and a purpose (to advance and develop), not just 
substitutes for solutions (Gibbs, 1999). Therefore, where products fail to give 
us what we humans need, the technological future provides us with tangible 
results. This is why we place our interminable trust in technology with little 
required explanation. Where we have become discontent with the hypocrisy 
of commercialism, government, science, and religion, technology offers a new 
world of possibilities, of hope, of fulfillment. In the past, advertising has been 
in this same situation, creating value systems and cultural paradigms since 
the late 1800's, though with increasing complexity due to the incorporation 
of technology (Marconi, 2001; De Mooij, 1998; Salomon, 1979/1994; & 
Schreiber, 2001). Thus, technology holds a particularly unique place within 
the field of advertising. Earlier this century, ads more clearly defined what 
technology could do and how it operates. The fast pace of advertisements 



Jenny Kerr 

and portrayal of the future is now so confusing and disorienting that we are 
unsure of what commercials are actually selling. 

Since the 1950s, Americans have fully believed in the power of technology. 
It is our socially collective dreams and fantasies that are reflected in advertising 
and our belief in science and technology, combined with these fantasies, 
makes advertising so powerfully persuasive. However, we are beings who 
seek truth and search for answers. Though communication and information 
technology provide a means to finding answers, an undoubted belief in any 
approach makes it ominous and fallible (Kitalong, 2000). Combining the 
supernatural, representative in the "imaginary and symbolic other" (according 
to Bacher interpreting Jaques Lacan, 1993), with technology and science 
can create a tension in discourse, reflective of and perhaps contributing to 
the anxiety and feelings of discontent made so apparent in the prevalent 
violence in our present-day culture. 

"Nothing in our glittering technology can raise man to new heights, 
because material growth has been made an end in itself - in 
the absence of moral purpose, man himself becomes smaller as 
the works of man become bigger. ...The sense of participation is 
lost, the feeling that ordinary individuals influence important 
decisions vanishes, and man becomes separated & diminished" 
(King, 1983/1987, 19). 

There are some who are suspicious of the illusion of technological 
solutions, the authority and control technology has over our lives, and the 
increasing fragmentation of our culture as a result of technological influence 
(Baudrillard, 1994; Gergen, 1991; Postman, 1992; and Shenk, 1997). Yet, 
there is also a paradoxical faith in technology and an increased reliance on 
it in our culture (Mesthene, 1970 and Tierney, 1993). There is evident 
in our increasingly globalized American society a criticism and support of 
technology, reflecting the dual nature of the paradigm. Technology can be 
used as a tool for almost any means. Technology can be a simultaneously 
destructive and creative force in our culture. In fact, any human endeavor, 
such as technology, can either cure or kill us. 

Havener (2000-2001) describes this phenomenon in terms of social 
systems. Any paradigm can be an open or closed system. He asks us to 
consider the meaning and purpose of systematic transactions or processes 
between parties (or between subjects via a master signifier, according to 
Bracher, et. al) and informs us that "in an open system, the critical partners 
are aware of their interdependence and... it recognizes both parties," but closed 



Advertising Communications Technology on Television: Selling a Paradigm - A Symptom of Our Culture 

systems remain unaware, become static, and finally- obsolete (21, et. al). 
Open systems are integrative and closed systems are exclusive. 
Consumer or commercialistic culture is mostly concerned with cost/benefit 
or profit to the advertisers and marketing companies (Marconi, 2001 & 
Schreiber, 2001), with few exceptions of companies legitimately concerned 
for the benefit of the consumer (Peppers & Rogers, 1993). In other words, 
the consumer culture of the advertising age is a closed system, bound to come 
to a close as it is seen more and more to be less fulfilling. 

"We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size 
of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service and 
relationship to humanity. " (King, 1983/1987, 21). 

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments 
of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge 
and controversy" (24, King, et. al). 

Thus, the commodities we once thought could fulfill our deepest desires 
are increasingly seen as inadequate, though we may automatically respond to 
them (Berger, 2000). Our culture is becoming more and more discontent 
with the answers provided by advertising. "In our loquacious age, saturated 
with political slogans and advertisements, (listening) is liable to be a difficult 
enterprise..." (Dallmore, 1984, 191). In fact, we are beginning to tune them 
out, with the help of technology! 

One new device allows for television viewers to omit commercials from 
the programs they are viewing (Doyle, 1992). So, though technology remains 
commercial at present, it is possible that the technological culture could 
replace our advertising culture in an effort for society to find more rewarding 
and meaningful endeavors, as we grow within a more global realm. 

Baudrillard, philosopher and writer of modern technological issues, states: 
"currently, the most interesting aspect of advertising is its disappearance, its 
dilution as a specific form, or even as a medium" (1994, p.90). Heidegger 
says: "we are questioning technology in order to bring to light our relationship 
to its essence" (1977, p.23). So, it seems that technological advertisements 
point to a cultural phenomenon of desire, as all advertisements point to 
desire (Bracher, 1993). Referencing Emile Durkheim's premise: "to diminish 
international hostilities" we should "enhance a broader sense of community" 
and "move to a global ideology," R.P. Cuzzort (1989) suggests that in order to 
do this, "people would need to find a way to create collective representations 
of a global nature that could be as effective as those of a nationalistic nature" 
(p. 109). Such a collective representation appeared in Alcatel's ad - Martin 



Jenny Kerr 

Luther King, a deep social symbol of freedom and human rights. The 
American dream is made possible through technology. 

This and other such advertisements specifically focusing on communication 
technology are unique in their presentation of a human need to help, to be 
social, to enact social change and participate in the grand scale of globalization 
(Farley, 1996). The themes of technological advertisements of educational 
technology (computers, search engines), communications (cell-phones, 
e-mail, translation & voice- recognition software), and identity (system 
controls, electronic identity protection) seem to point to a desire for human 
interconnection. This is obvious when we consider the slogans of various 
companies in their television commercials: "Connecting People" {Minolta), 
"What do you have to say?" {Cingular Wireless), and "The power to bring 
people together..." {Alcatel). In effect, Alcatel, like other companies marketing 
technological products for communication, education, and social interaction 
are selling us a community and a new society within which we can make 
a difference and find new possibilities. Therefore, these commercials use 
images, representations, symbols, and signifiers that are culturally loaded 
with meaning (such as the "V for Victory" sign of Verizon Wireless, reflecting 
the revolutionary freedom of the 1960s). With slogans, such as: "People 
everywhere just gotta' be free!" {Verizon Wireless), ads currently speak to the 
desire for a new social and cultural revolution. 

Signifying the New Paradigm 

This is the transition from the Advertising Age to the Technological Era. 
Therefore, these commercials target a majority of our population to increase 
interest in not only the products, but also an entire mentality, which leads us 
into a new paradigm. Perhaps this paradigm shift is a direct result of human 
population growth and globalization: allowing less room on the planet for 
independence, the project of nationalization and attempts at economic 
self-sufficiency. Thus, this shift could be compensating for the isolation and 
separation experienced by many within our society, due to our past cultural 
emphases. So, as advertising and technological paradigms overlap, we may 
seek some sort of stability within the confusion of images and obscurity of 
messages. According to Bracher (1993), we attempt to find this grounding 
and connection through identification and current commercials give us 
cultural and historical figures with which many of us desire identification. 
"Identifications that can prompt us to feel and act in certain ways... can 
also re-form or alter our foundational, structural identifications and thus 
change our subjectivity and our behavior as well" (Bracher, 22, et. al). 



Advertising Communications Technology on Television: Selling a Paradigm - A Symptom of Our Culture 

Though the persuasion of our culture into a post-modern technological 
world began almost 100 years ago, the full realm of possibilities of this 
era have only just begun. 

In conclusion, technology both helps create and rallies to fulfill our desires 
for interpersonal human connection, intimacy, knowledge, protection & 
safety, speed & efficiency, and value (of life, as perception, as reflected in 
objects, and of time). For some, technology is the means to live and for others 
it is a new hope for the future and impetus for change. 

There is, however, the possibility that technology -though increasing 
in availability to the masses- will be a provision for the elite. If this becomes 
the case, then will the distinction between the advertising and technological 
cultures increase or decrease? Are we moving away from a consumer culture 
or delving so deep into it that we are even selling ourselves in today's mass- 
market economy? Evidence for this is on both a personal level (job resumes 
and websites) and on a global political and economic level (through the stock 
market). We could just move to selling human beings and entire companies 
instead of individual products and items. Yet, the increase in technology can 
not be denied. The question is: "what is next?". 

Society's demand dictates what is advertised and sold to us and 
today we seem to be moving away from actual products and toward more 
services and procedure... access to information, communication, abilities, 
international relations, connectivity, speed and efficiency, convenience, 
leisure, activity, etc. 

So, technology offers itself as: "The wave of the future" and attempts to 
provide a new answer to our desires. As we explore our collective transitioning, 
we may find that the cultural symptom of technological advertising points to 
more distinct aspects of human existence, as our culture is ever-changing. . . so 
are the signifiers and symptoms. We can only hypothesize what technology 
heralds is upon the horizon through analyzing various means and looking 
at specific paradigmatic shifts. It seems, at the moment, that in the cultural 
symptom of technological ads, we see much less objectification of the 
other, but images and symbols of an objectified subject. In other words, 
technological advertisements address deeper needs than superficial desires 
than product advertisements. They are representative of attainable qualities 
to which we aspire in life, attributes which depend on us -as individuals- to 
fulfill (closeness, intimacy, security, purpose, and value), rather than idealized 
things we wish to acquire (a happy home, a wonderful family, a good job, 
an exceptional lover, an entertaining social life). The ads' perspectives have 
changed, but the desires are indicative of the Western and American values 



Jenny Kerr 

inherent to our culture: independence, autonomy, and individual freedom. 
Hence, King's words ring as true today as ever before.... "It is a dream deeply 
rooted in the American dream" (p.95, et. al.). 

References 

Baudrillard, J. (1994). Simulacra and Simulation. (S. R Glaser, trans.). Ann Arbor, 
Mich.: University of Michigan Press. 

Berger, A. A. (2000). Ads, Fads, and Consumer Culture: Advertising's Impact on 
American Character and Society. NY: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. 

Boihem, H. & Rmmanouilides, C. (1996) The Ad and the Ego: Truth and Conse- 
quences. [Videorecording] . Parallax Pictures. San Francisco, CA: California 
Newsreel. 

Bracher, M. (1993). Lacan, Discourse, and Social Change: A Psychoanalytic Cultural 
Criticism. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. 

Cuzzort, R. P. (1989). Using Social Thought: The Nuclear Issue and Other Concerns. 
Mountain View, CA: Mayfield Publishing, Co. 

Dallmore, R R. (1984). language & Politics: Why Does Language Matter to Political 
Philosophy? Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press. 

De Mooij, M. (1998). Global Marketing: Understanding Cultural Paradoxes. Thou- 
sand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. 

Doyle, M. (1992). The Future of Television: A Global Overview of Programming, 
Advertising, Technology, and Growth. Lincolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books. 

Farley, E. (1996). Deep Symbols: Their Postmodern Effacement and Reclamation. 
Valley Forge, PA: Trinity Press International. 

Friedman, W. (Aug 7, 2000). "Dot-Corns Give Commercials a Break." Advertising 
Age. Chicago: Crain Communications. 71/33. p. S36. 

Garber, M. (2000). Symptoms of Culture. NY: Routledge. 

Gergen, K. (1991). The Saturated Self: Dilemmas of Identity in Contemporary Life. 
NY: Basic Books. 

Gibbs, R. (1999). Intentions in the Experience of Meaning. NY: Cambridge Univer- 
sity Press. 

Harvard University Program on Technology and Society. (1970). Technology and 
the Individual: Research Review No. 6. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University 
Press. 

Harvard University Program on Technology and Society. (1971). Technology and 
Social History: Research Review No. 8. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University 
Press. 



Advertising Communications Technology on Television: Selling a Paradigm - A Symptom of Our Culture 

Havener, C. (December, 2000-January, 2001). Fear and Anxiety: They're in the 
System. AHP Perspective . San Francisco, CA: Association for Humanistic Psy- 
chology. 20-22. 

Heidegger, M. (1977). The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. (W. 
Lovitt, trans.). NY: Harper Torchbooks. 

King, M.L. (1983/1987). The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Selected by Coretta 
Scott King). NY: Newmarket Press. 

Kitalong, S. K. (July 2000). "You will": Technology, Magic, and the Cultural Contexts 
of Technical Communication. Journal of Business and Technical Communication; 
Thousand Oaks. 14/3; 289-314. 

Marconi, J. (2001). Future Marketing: Targeting Seniors, Boomers, and Generations X 
and Y. Linclolnwood, IL: NTC Business Books. 

Martin, L. H.; Gutman, H.; & Hutton, PH. (eds.). (1988). Technologies of the Self: 
A Seminar with Michel Foucault. Amherst: The University of Massachusetts 
Press. 

Mesthene, E. G. (1970). Technological Change: Its Impact on Man and Society. 
Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press. 

O' Hanlon, C. (Oct 16, 2000). "Reaching a Bigger Audience." Computer Reseller 
News. Manhasset. Issue 916, 38-51 

Peppers, D. & Rogers, M. (1993). The One to One Future. NY: Currency, Double- 
day Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology. NY: 
Vintage Books. 

Potter, J. & Wetherell, M. (1987). Discourse and Social Psychology: Beyond Attitudes 
and Behavior. Beverly Hills, CA.: Sage Publications. 

Ruskin, G. (April 23, 2001). Commercial Alert Criticizes Alcatel Over GerigAd. 

[On-Line Available] http://lists.essential.org/pippermail/commercial- alert/200 1 / 

000072.html See Also: http://www.commercialalert.org 

Salomon, G. (1979/1994). Interaction of Media, Cognition, and Learning. Hillsdale, 
NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers. 

Sampson, E. E. (1991). Social Worlds, Personal Lives: An Introduction to Social 
Psychology. NY: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich Publishers. 

Schreiber, A.L. (2001). Multicultural Marketing: Selling to the New America. Linclol- 
nwood, IL: NTC Business Books. 

Shenk, D. (1997). Data Smog: Surviving the Information Glut. NY: HarperEdge. 

Tierney, T. E (1993). A Genealogy of Technical Culture: The Value of Convenience. 
NY: State University of New York Press. 



10 



E-Invasion of Privacy 

Cole D. Taratoot 
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University 

Introduction 

In the public sector there are many issues that a manager may have to 
face. One of those issues is examined in the case of "Ann's Dilemma," a 
fictional personnel scenario depicted in Robert Golenbiewski's, Cases in 
Public Management. In this story, Ann Czaplicki had a degree in English 
Literature, which did not exactly put her in high demand. Through a family 
friend, Harry Goetz, Ann was given a job at the state Health Department. 
After lots of hard work, Ann is able to move her way up in the organization. 
One afternoon Ann is asked to see Goetz before she leaves to go home. 
Goetz quickly asks Ann for a favor. Goetz tells Ann of his suspicions of 
one employee's unethical activity and asks for Ann's help. Goetz wants Ann 
to not only watch the employee closely, but then goes even farther when 
he asks Ann to go through the drawers of the employee's desk to find some 
incriminating evidence. After reminding Ann that he gave her the job, 
Goetz seems to feel that Ann owes him this favor. "I appreciate what you 
have done for me Mr. Goetz," Ann responds, "but I still feel a little funny 
about going through someone's desk." Ann then asks Mr. Goetz to give her 
the night to make the decision of whether or not to go through the desk 
(Golembiewski, et. al, 60-62). 

Ann is faced with a very important decision at her job. This decision 
raises into question many issues ranging from ethical actions in the public 
sector to the failure to follow a manager's orders. One of the most important 
issues that it raises, however, is the right of privacy in the public sector. 
Does Ann have the right to go the desk of this employee? Is this a violation 
of the right of privacy? 

To examine these questions it is important to examine many aspects of 
the right of privacy. This includes, first, the many areas in which the right 
of privacy may be involved. Second, the policies that have been enacted by 
Congress with regards to the right of privacy should be discussed. Third, the 
many court cases that have come about as a result of these policies and the 
right of privacy must be analyzed. Last, the precedents established through 

11 



E-Invasion of Privacy 

legislation and the courts with regards to the right of privacy in both the 
public and private sector will be examined. 

Legislative and Legal Issues 

Sometimes the right of privacy is merely thought of as the right to do what 
we want in our own homes, but privacy issues may extend into realms much 
farther and more complicated than this. In the case of "Ann's Dilemma," 
privacy might involve the worker's right to keep the employer from going 
through his or her desk. Samoriski, Huffman, and Trauth give us "four 
branches of privacy invasion. These divisions... include publication of true 
but embarrassing facts, false light or defamation, appropriation, and intrusion 
into physical solitude or seclusion." Don Cozzetto makes it clearer when he 
states, "Historically, privacy and the public employment involved five major 
areas — recruitment and promotion, life style, personal habits, workplace 
searches, and drug testing" (Cozzetto A, 21). 

One of the reasons that privacy has become a hotter issue is due to the 
increase in the amount of technology. "A wide array of new technological 
devices are available to employers to monitor employee activities. These 
devices include the accounting and monitoring of phones calls, oversight of 
the efficiency and accuracy of computer operations, computerized surveillance 
of vehicle usage, tracking of employee location, auditing of employees' 
computer files, tapping of email transfers, and observation of the workplace 
by video camcorders" (Cozzetto B, 519). 

Technology also opens the door to a wide variety of areas that employees 
are calling private. Some of these areas include electronic mail, electronic 
bulletin boards, computer hard drives, telephone conversations, cell phone 
conversations as well as a variety of other issues (Cozzetto A, 21-24). It also 
gives employees the ability to be able to monitor management {CQ Researcher, 
1024). With small video recorders or other equipment, employees may be 
able to become more effective whistleblowers with more sufficient evidence 
captured with this technology (CQ Researcher, 1024). Of course there are 
other issues involving privacy that do not have to do with technology, such 
as medical records and personal records such as credit history, criminal 
record, or mental health record. 

Congress has tried on numerous attempts to address the myriad of issues 
that are involved with the right of privacy. One of the problems in the public 
sector is the attempt to maintain a balance of individual privacy while still 
making government information available to the public under such laws as 
the Freedom of Information Act. One of the first acts to be passed in regards 

12 



Cole D. Taratoot 

to privacy was the Privacy Act of 1974 (Cozzetto A, 28). The Privacy Act 
of 1974 includes "restrictions on gathering information on individuals and 
it indicates that any information used in an adverse personnel action shall 
to the extent practicable, be obtained directly from the individual (Cozzetto 

A, 28). Another closely related law, the Americans with Disabilities Act 
of 1990, "prevents medical inquiries as a condition to an employment 
offer" (Cozzetto A, 28). 

With the growth of technology, Congress has also tried to address new 
issues in privacy. Congress faces a tough challenge because "advances 
in workplace technology render existing safeguards obsolete before new 
can be erected in their place" (CQ Researcher, 1024). Two of the most 
major attempts by Congress to address these issues have been the Federal 
Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1986 
(Cozzetto B, 517, 520). 

The Federal Wiretap Act "prohibits both private and public employers 
from intercepting and recording the 'wire communications' of employees" 
(Cozzetto B, 517). The first thing that is distinguished in this act though, 
is that it is the content of the conversations that are protected (Cozzetto 

B, 517). An employer may monitor the use of the phone to determine 
if an employee is using a phone for an unauthorized call (Cozetto, 23). 
Also, an employer may record or monitor calls if the employees have given 
prior consent (Cozetto, 23). 

One of the most controversial and vague pieces of privacy legislation 
passed by Congress was the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA) 
of 1986. The ECPA "was passed to amend Title III of the Omnibus Crime 
Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 (Samoriski, 67). The purpose of Title 
III was to help limit the power of government to be able to monitor or 
intercept "telephone communications" (Samoriski, 67). The purpose of the 
ECPA was to help amend an outdated piece of legislation (Rodriguez, 1448). 
"Of the changes implemented by the ECPA, perhaps the most significant 
was the insertion of the term 'electronic communication' wherever Title 
III previously only protected wire and oral communications" (Rodriguez, 
1448). Many of the previsions of the ECPA were enacted to help prevent 
unauthorized persons from gaining access to information that was not 
intended to be public (Rodriguez, 1449). One of the many debates that 
arose from the passage of the ECPA was the issue of whether or not electronic 
mail would be covered by the provisions of the Act (Rodriguez, 1449). 
"Elements of the ECPA legislative history provide some support for the 
position that Congress did not intend to inhibit employers from reviewing 

13 



E-Invasion of Privacy 

employee-generated E-mail files. Moreover, much of the testimony during 
the Senate hearing on the proposed legislation reflected an overriding concern 
for company, rather than individual employee privacy" (Cozzetto B, 520). 
The ECPA does draw one distinction with regards to e-mail privacy (Cozzetto 
B, 521). "The ECPA allows far more latitude if stored data is retrieved by 
the employer rather than data that is intercepted" (Cozzetto B, 521). Even 
though this is stated, it still does not delineate a clear policy of how email 
privacy will be handled. This, along with other issues, would be settled in 
many of the cases that would come before the courts. 

The courts in the United States are addressing many of these privacy issues 
everyday as a result of the growth in technology as well as the enactment of 
new legislation. One case that closely relates the dilemma presented in the 
story of Ann is that of Ortega v. O'Connor. In this case Dr. Magno Ortega 
had been asked to take an administrative leave due to action taken against him 
for sexual harassment and inappropriate disciplinary action against a resident 
(480 U.S. 709, 1987). "While he was on administrative leave pending 
investigation of the charges, hospital officials, allegedly in order to inventory 
and secure state property, searched his office and seized personal items 
from his desk and file cabinets that were used in administrative proceedings 
resulting in his discharge" (480 U.S. 709, 1987). In its decision, "the Court 
notes that 'Individuals do not lose Fourth Amendment rights merely because 

they work for the government instead of a private employer Given the great 

variety of work environments in the public sector, the question of whether 
an employee has reasonable expectation of privacy must be addressed on a 
case by case basis'" (Samoriski, 64). The Court ultimately made the decision 
that the employer did have the right to go through the desk of the employee 
without violating a right of privacy (480 U.S. 709, 1987). 

In another case, Smyth v. The Pillsbury Company, the issue of privacy 
involving electronic mail would come to the forefront in the state of 
Pennsylvania (914 E Supp. 97). In this case, the Pillsbury Company 
"maintained an electronic communication system in order to promote 
internal corporate communications between its employees" (914 E Supp. 97). 
"Pillsbury assured its employees, including the plaintiff (Smyth), that 
e-mail communications could not be intercepted and used... against its 
employees as grounds for termination or reprimand" (914 E Supp. 97). After 
having a correspondence with a superior from home, Smyth's e-mails were 
intercepted by the Pillsbury Company (914 E Supp. 97). Smyth was then 
fired for "transmitting what it deemed to be inappropriate and unprofessional 
comments" (914 E Supp. 97). Smyth claimed "that his termination was in 

14 



Cole D. Taratoot 

violation of 'public policy which precludes an employer from terminating 
an employee in violation of the employee's right to privacy as embodied in 
Pennsylvania common law'" (914 F. Supp. 97). Even with these claims, 
however, the court did not rule in favor of Smyth saying, "We do not find a 
reasonable expectation of privacy in e-mail communications voluntarily made 
by an employee to his supervisor over the company e-mail system. . .Once the 
plaintiff (Smyth) communicated the alleged unprofessional comments to a 
second person (his supervisor) over an e-mail system which was apparently 
utilized by the entire company, any reasonable expectation of privacy was 
lost" (914 E Supp. 97). 

The case of " Steve Jackson Games Incorporated, et al. v. United States Secret 
Service, United States of America et al. (1993) broke new legal ground by 
becoming the first case in which the seizure of electronic communications on 
a bulletin board was found to be illegal under the Electronic Communications 
Act of 1986" (Samoriski, 70). The Secret Service believed that an employee 
of Steve Jackson Games was involved in the theft of materials from BellSouth 
(Samoriski, 70). After obtaining a search warrant, the Secret Service 
confiscated three computers from Steve Jackson Games, one of which was 
used to run an electronic bulletin board (Samoriski, 70). Steve Jackson 
Games sued under the ECPA and was awarded $50,000 for what Judge 
Sparks said "violated the safeguards contained in the ECPA designed to 
protect computer systems and their data from unwarranted intrusion" 
(Samoriski, 71). 

There have been many other cases involving privacy as well. In Katz 
v. United States, the "issue was whether an electronic bug placed by the 
government on a public telephone booth was a violation of the Fourth 
Amendment" (Cozzetto B, 517). The government made claim that the phone 
booth was not protected due to the fact that it was located in a public place 
(Cozzetto B, 517). The court noted that it was not places that were protected 
by the Fourth Amendment, but individuals (Cozzetto B, 517). Other cases 
include the "1994 Supreme Court decision, Department of Defense v. Federal 
Labor Relations Authority, which upheld the interests of employees in seeing to 
it that their home addresses were not given out to federal agencies" (Cozzetto 
B, 515). In the case of Bourke v. Nissan Motor Corporation, two females 
challenged their release from Nissan based on privacy rights (Cozzetto B, 
521). When a supervisor heard that he might have been the target of some 
negative comments, he overrode the e-mail passwords of the two women 
and found evidence to support the claims (Cozzetto B, 521). The court 



15 



E-Invasion of Privacy 

ruled in favor of the employer stating that there was no violation of the right 
of privacy (Cozzetto B, 521). 

With all of these cases facing the issue of privacy it can be hard for one to 
ascertain what accepted norms of privacy should be. As mentioned before, the 
major issue is employee privacy rights versus the employer's need to monitor 
the workplace for unaccepted behavior. Cozzetto and Pedeliski suggest 
a three-prong test established in such cases such as Griggs v. Duke Power, 
Kelly v. Johnson, and Padula v. Webster (Cozzetto A, 21). The three-prong 
test requires that searches "must be reasonable, the employer must have 
compelling interest in conducting them, and the incursions must be job 
related" (Cozzetto A, 21). An employer would satisfy the compelling interest 
portion of the test if the search were being conducted to protect employees 
from items such as sexual harassment, racism, or any other factor that may 
lead to a hostile workplace (Cozzetto A, 22). Also an employer would meet 
the compelling interest test if the employer was trying to protect its own 
interests such as "reducing theft to preventing copyright infringement to 
prohibiting transmission of pornographic materials via office communications 
systems" (Cozzetto A, 22). To simplify, Rodriguez says, "As a general rule, 
to win an invasion of privacy suit against any type of employer, an employee 
must first be able to prove an expectation of privacy that outweighs the 
employer's reasons for monitoring." One thing that is clear is that an 
employer will be given preference "if the workplace continues to have signs of 
dysfunctional and destructive behaviors" (Cozzetto B, 524). 

A different test used by some military courts takes a different approach 
when it comes to electronic mail (Samoriski, 73). This two-pronged test 
says "that a person asserting a right to privacy under the Fourth Amendment; 
1. Must exhibit an actual (subjective) expectation of privacy, and 2. The 
individual's subjective expectation of privacy must be one that society is 
prepared to recognize as reasonable (objective)" (Samoriski, 73). 

With all of these difficulties, it is hard to imagine there is any way to 
maintain a balance in the workplace. Many different experts suggest different 
things for agencies and companies to try when dealing with the issue of 
privacy. Cozzetto and Pedeliski suggests "a balance must be struck between 
employer and employee interests in privacy, a balance that, in the end, 
allows for the surveillance under certain limited conditions, stressing less 
intrusive approaches." "Management seems receptive to the idea that 
curbing workplace surveillance 'allows organizational change to occur more 
easily'" (CQ Researcher, 1027). Moroney, a member of the Electronic Mail 
Association, says, "We encourage companies to develop privacy policies 

16 



Cole D. Taratoot 

for all forms of communications and to tell employees what they are" (CQ 
Researcher, 1027). With regards to privacy rights and electronic mail, most 
say that the best approach for an employer to take is to notify employees in 
advance that all electronic mail messages have the potential to be monitored 
(Cozzetto B, 522). Cozzetto and Pedeliski also suggest a twelve-point model, 
which includes different suggestions on how employers should handle privacy 
in the public sector (Cozzetto A, 29-30). 

Conclusions 

It seems that Congress is not reacting quickly enough to all of the issues 
that are developing as a result of new technology. One thing that is not clear 
is what differentiates postal mail from electronic mail in regards to privacy. 
As technologies develop, more pressure will be placed on not only Congress, 
but also the courts to determine what correct policy should be. Hopefully, 
there will come a time when Congress becomes proactive rather than 
reactive. Until this time, it will be up to agencies and companies to maintain 
policies that not only satisfy employees, but also keep the organization 
running smoothly. 

References 

Cozzetto Don A. and Theodore B. Pedeliski. "Privacy and the Workplace: Implica- 
tions for Managers." Review of Public Personnel Administration 21(1996): 21-30. 

Cozzetto Don A. and Theodore B. Pedeliski. "Privacy and the Workplace: Technol- 
ogy and Public Employment." Public Personnel Management 26, No. 4 (1997): 
515-525. 

Golembiewski, Robert, et al. Cases in Public Management. Itasca: Peacock Publish- 
ers Inc., 1997. 

"Looking for Compromises." CQ Researcher 3, No. 43 (1993): 1024-1026. 

Michael A. Smyth v. The Pillsbury Company, 914 F. Supp. 97, 1996 U.S. Dist. 

O'Conner v. Ortega, 480 U.S. 709 (1987). 

Rodriguez, Alexander I. Emory Law Journal 47 (1998): 1439-1473. 

Samoriski, Jan H. et al. Journal of Broadcasting and Electronic Media 40 
(1996): 60-76. 



17 



Geographic Information Technologies and Their 
Potentially Erosive Effects on Personal Privacy 

Marc P. Armstrong 

University of Iowa 

Abstract 

The ability of individuals and organizations to compromise the personal 
privacy of others through the use of geo-spatial technologies, such as remote 
sensing and geographic information systems (GIS), is increasing at a rapid 
pace. Commercial remote sensing satellites now have a resolution of 1 
meter and sub-meter systems are being developed. Using the capabilities 
provided by inexpensive GIS software, it has also become easy to attach 
personal identifiers (such as addresses and telephone numbers) to symbols 
on maps. During the past several years, an explosive growth in the number 
of cellular telephones has spawned a new and largely unregulated industry, 
called location-based services, that first establishes the current location of 
cell phone users and then provides them with location and context-specific 
information. There is a significant potential to collect, synthesize and 
disseminate information about the personal spatial behavior and revealed 
preferences of individuals who use such services. The effects of these geo- 
spatial technologies on individual privacy have not been widely discussed, 
even though their potential threat is substantial. 

Introduction 

Though privacy is widely viewed as a basic human right (Diffie and 
Landau, 1998), the degree of privacy afforded to an individual varies across 
space, among cultures and over time. Privacy in a military barracks, for 
example, is different than privacy in a college dormitory, or a single-family 
detached dwelling unit. Expectations of privacy are also affected significantly 
by technology (Agre and Rotenberg, 1998). Most people are aware that 
telephone wiretaps are now widely prohibited, but at the dawn of the 
telephonic era, wiretapping was not specifically forbidden by legislation 
(Dash, Schwartz and Knowlton, 1959; Diffie and Landau, 1998). Recently, 
attention has shifted to the practices of businesses that acquire information 
about the on-line behavior of web-surfers (Edelstein, 2001; Waters, 2000). 
In some cases this information is protected as a strategic asset, but in others 
it may be either sold or transferred as a consequence of "dot-com" business 



19 



Geographic Information Technologies and Their Potentially Erosive Effects on Personal Privacy 

failures and acquisitions. The past decade has also seen a steep increase 
in identity theft incidents and crimes related to the use of information 
technologies. 

The concern generated by reports of these privacy-violating activities has 
been revealed in proposed and enacted legislation (Bennett, 1998) and the 
establishment of organizations focused on the preservation of privacy rights 
(EPIC, 2001; PI, 2001). What has not been widely discussed, either by 
these groups in particular or social scientists in general, however, is the way 
that current (and planned) geographic information technologies can be used 
for individual-level surveillance. Some researchers have begun to engage 
this issue, but with rare exceptions (Dobson, 1998; 2000) their discussions 
about privacy require the reader to make inductive leaps or fail to address the 
individual-level effects of the technologies (Curry, 1997, 1998; Goss, 1995). 
The purpose of this paper is to sketch out the role that recent developments in 
"geo-spatial" technologies, such as remote sensing and geographic information 
systems (GIS), may play in future erosions of privacy. A particular focus 
is placed on the increasing resolution of remote sensing systems, and the 
processes through which existing geographic information can be acquired, 
processed, and cross-referenced with other on-line information sources to 
reveal individual-level characteristics. 

Remote Sensing - An Unblinking Eye in the Sky 

Before the 1970s, remote sensing information, in the form of electromag- 
netic radiation reflected from objects in the environment, was normally 
collected in photographic form. Early remote sensing satellites were designed 
for strategic surveillance purposes and used photography to record map-like 
imagery that was retrieved from space (Jensen, 2000). Because of the great 
expense required to place precision-camera-bearing satellites into orbit, 
running out of film during a time of national crisis was problematic. Digital 
scanning technology obviated such problems by substituting scanned pixels 
and telemetry for photographic film. In essence, bits were substituted for 
atoms (Negroponte, 1995). 

The first civil remote sensing system, the Earth Resources Technology 
Satellite (re-named Landsat), became operational in 1972 with a relatively 
crude ground resolution of approximately 79 meters. This means that a 
Landsat image would be constructed from thousands of 79 meter cells (called 
picture elements or pixels); for the purpose of comparison, one Landsat 
pixel is larger than an Olympic-sized (50m) swimming pool. Though such 
coarse-resolution images did not appear to pose a threat to individual-level 

20 



Marc P. Armstrong 

privacy, the image classification and processing methods that were developed 
to wrest every possible bit of information from them continue to be applicable 
today (Jensen, 1996). As technology progressed, the resolution of civil 
remote sensing satellites increased. France's Satellite Pour 1' Observation de 
la Terre (SPOT) was placed into orbit in 1986 with a maximum resolution 
of 10m. In 1988 the Indian Remote Sensing (IRS) system was launched 
with a 6-meter sensor. Six meters, however, is coarse when compared to 
current and planned systems. 

In 1999 a new satellite, one of several proposed by private businesses after 
a shift in U.S. space policy, was placed into orbit. This system (IKONOS) has 
a maximum ground resolution of 1 meter and has considerable implications 
for strategic and individual-level surveillance. To place the spatial resolution 
of IKONOS in context, approximately 2500 of its pixels would be needed to 
construct an image of an Olympic-sized swimming pool. In fact, card-table 
sized objects can be resolved, provided there is sufficient contrast between the 
target and its surroundings. Note, however, that features below the resolution 
of a sensor can be detected, again, when sufficient contrast exists. This means 
that it is now possible to count vehicles in the driveway of a suburban dwelling 
and to make counts of individuals from orbit if they are sufficiently dispersed 
and have sufficient contrast (e.g., people on a lawn). 

Not only are data from these 1 -meter systems now available, they are 
the harbingers of even higher resolution systems. The U.S. Department of 
Commerce has recently licensed sensors with a spatial resolution of 0.5 meters 
(DOC, 2001) and at least one commercial firm has indicated its intent to 
place a payload with such a capability into orbit by 2004 (Spacelmaging, 
2001). This sensor will have 4 times the resolution of current 1 meter 
systems, and considering that it is possible to resolve sub-pixel features, it will 
certainly be possible to distinguish the characteristics of individuals, 
provided they are unusual in some respect. For example, if a person 
were to wear a white sombrero, when observed from orbit they could be 
distinguishable in a crowd. Moreover, at this level of spatial resolution, 
counting individuals becomes a more straightforward activity, since this 
level of resolution approximates "personal distance" in proxemics analyses 
(Hall, 1959; Porteous, 1977). 

The increased surveillance capabilities of commercial remote sensing 
imagery has not gone without notice. In a move that shocked the commercial 
remote sensing community, the U.S. Department of Commerce, citing 
Section 1064 of Public Law 104-201 (the 1997 Defense Authorization Act), 
banned the sale of images of Israel at a resolution of less than 2 meters. 

21 



Geographic Information Technologies and Their Potentially Erosive Effects on Personal Privacy 

This level was chosen because imagery from an unregulated 2 meter Russian 
system has recently become available. Israel apparently cited military and 
strategic concerns in arguing for the ban. Similar security concerns exist 
elsewhere, and mapped information routinely distributed in the U.S. (see 
Monmonier, 1996: 118-120) is unavailable in many other countries. With 
the increasing penetration of the Internet, even into developing countries, 
such restrictions are rapidly becoming moot (see Petrazini and Kibati, 
1999;Agarwal, 1999). 

Inverse Address Matching and GIS- We Know Where You Live 

In 1869, Dr. John Snow produced a map that showed the location of 
fatalities from a cholera outbreak in London (Frerichs, 2001). After studying 
this map, and observing a cluster of deaths, he formulated a hypothesis that 
the outbreak was related to the water supply. Snow then ordered the handle 
removed from a water pump located near the center of the cluster, the deaths 
in the area appeared to decrease as a consequence, and additional research (by 
Snow and others) established that cholera was, in fact, a water-borne disease 
(c.f. Tufte, 1997; Brody et al., 2000). 

The map that Snow produced was an early example of "dot mapping" 
or "pin mapping" that is created from a street network and addresses for 
a specific set of incidents, in his case cholera fatalities. Other common 
examples include crime mapping (e.g., of burglary locations) and retail 
market analysis (e.g., customer residences). The creation of such maps 
required considerable effort in the past, but now they can be made easily 
using the address-matching capabilities of inexpensive GIS software and street 
network databases such as the TIGER files created to support US Census data 
collection activities (Broome and Meixler, 1990; Marx, 1990). 

If we consider a typical dot map, the information depicted is often 
thought to be anonymous (Figure 1): There is no direct evidence provided to 
identify individuals from the abstract symbols on the map and it is especially 
difficult to recover information in cases where each symbol represents several 
phenomena. It is a common practice, for example, to produce population 
distribution maps in which each dot, for example, represents 500 persons 
(see Dent, 1999). However, in epidemiological and criminal investigations 
it is much more common to find a one-to-one correspondence between 
each symbol (a case) and the phenomenon it represents. What is not 
widely known, even by many GIS practitioners, is that it is also a relatively 
simple matter to recover addresses from a map using a process called inverse 
(or reverse) address matching. These recovered addresses can then be 

22 



Marc P. Armstrong 

cross-referenced with other databases (e.g., city directories) to reveal further 
details about personal identities. 

Figure 1 was produced by selecting 30 individuals from a telephone 
directory. The addresses were input into a database, address-matched, and 
then mapped using a TIGER file and GIS software (ArcView, version 8.0.2, 
by ESRI). In some cases, an address cannot be linked to TIGER files because 
of a lack of agreement in the spelling of street names, including prefixes 
and suffixes. For example, 123 NE Bridge Street Ct is not easily matched 
to 123 Northeast Bridg St Court. In other cases, new construction creates 
streets (and addresses) that are not included even in the most recent TIGER 
file. Despite such problems, with current address-matching software and an 
appropriate level of human intervention, it is usually possible to match more 
than 90% of the addresses in a file. In the example described here, 1 00% of 
the randomly-selected addresses were matched successfully. 

If information is represented as an address-matched dot map, how difficult 
is it to invert the mapping process and recover the original addresses that 
were used to produce the map? It turns out that it is quite easy to recover 
an address (Figure 2). But largely as a consequence of factors related to the 
TIGER files and the address-matching algorithms used, uncertainty remains 
about whether the address obtained is the correct address. In fact, of the 30 
original addresses used to produce Figure 1, 19 (63%) were exactly inverse 
address matched using ArcView. However, if we loosen this restriction 
slightly, 25 (83%) were within one address and 29 (97%) were located on 
the correct street segment (a block face between intersections). This level 
of local accuracy means that there is a significant risk that individual-level 
dot mapped information can be compromised to reveal addresses, and by 
implication, personal identities. Consequently, individual-level data (such 
as medical information) should not be address-matched and released into 
public view unless it has been masked, for example, by randomly displacing 
each symbol (Armstrong, Rushton and Zimmerman, 1999; Chakraborty 
and Armstrong, 2001). Additional research is needed to provide empirical 
bounds on expectations about address-match inversion success rates under 
different assumptions about source map scale, symbolization, residential 
structure, and masking strategy. 

Location Based Services- Do You Want Fries With That? 

Most adults in the U.S. allow information to be published that others 
elect to hold back— their telephone listing. Telephone directories are available 
on-line, and can be cross-linked to other databases, making it possible, 

23 



Geographic Information Technologies and Their Potentially Erosive Effects on Personal Privacy 

therefore, to enter a name, obtain a telephone number and address, and then 
use that address to create a map. This type of cross-referenced information 
serves as the basis for the E-9 1 1 system that has important public health and 
emergency service implications in the U.S. In most localities, a call placed 
to a local 911 number will enable emergency services to be dispatched to the 
address at which the telephone is located. 

With the proliferation of cellular telephones in the late 1990s, a significant 
and often life-threatening problem was encountered with increasing frequency. 
Cell phone users called 91 1 with the expectation that they would receive help. 
The problem, of course, is that cell phone numbers are not tied to a specific 
physical location (except as a billing address) and when cell phone users were 
unable to provide useful information about their current location, this created 
enormous problems for emergency service providers. As a consequence, the 
Federal Communications Commission has stipulated that, effective in late 
2001, the location of an activated cell phone handset must be able to be 
determined to within 50 meters for 67% of calls and 150 meters for 95% of 
calls (FCC, 2000). Several approaches have been considered to accomplish 
this task though two have gained the most support: triangulation of cell phone 
transmissions based on signal strength and direction, and the installation of 
small GPS (Global Positioning System) receivers in each cell phone (Hein, 
et ai, 2001). Because of an executive order that took effect in May 2000, 
typical GPS receivers are now able to provide an increased level of coordinate 
accuracy (NOAA, 2001); this ability, coupled with rapid price drops in 
increasingly compact GPS receivers, provides considerable power to a new 
generation of location-based services. 

Location-based services are used with wireless communication devices 
to provide information about the local context of a mobile user. For 
example, if a user were in an unfamiliar city, it would be possible to receive 
information about, for example, the direction, distance, and route to all 
Chinese restaurants (if any) within 1 km of their current location. Moreover, 
when linked to other databases it would also be possible to not only view a 
menu, but also a list of lunch (or dinner) specials that might be available. 
Golledge et al. (1998) have described how a variation on this technology can 
be used to provide geographic information to visually-impaired travelers. 
Of course, individuals would have to "opt in" to receive these types of 
services, but the potential for service-providers to collect information about 
individual-level spatial behavior is substantial (Dobson, 2000). Moreover, 
the potential abuse of such technology by police has yet to be addressed by 
scholars and civil libertarians. 

24 



Marc P. Armstrong 

Concluding Discussion 

Increasing numbers of people are becoming integrated into the densifying 
global web of wired and wireless communication and information technolo- 
gies. Digitally encoded information about their real and virtual activities 
will be collected and used, possibly for nefarious purposes. In this paper my 
goal has been to elucidate some of the increasingly significant impacts that 
geo-spatial technologies will have on the surveillance of day-to-day activities, 
as well as the follow-on effects that will be observed with respect to our 
technologically-mediated, and inevitably fluid, notions about privacy. 

Remote sensing, long the provenance of government agencies, is now a big 
business and competition is spurring improvements in service. In the near 
future, companies will be able to provide images with what 1 years ago would 
have been almost unthinkable levels of fidelity. Though such imagery only 
reveals objects as they are viewed from orbit, it may reveal more than we might 
wish and access to it will be available to all who can afford it. 

GIS is also a multi-billion dollar a year industry and as it penetrates into 
additional market segments, cost-of-use will continue to decrease rapidly. 
There is, however, only a nascent concern amongst current researchers about 
the personal privacy intrusion aspects of this technology; there is, for example, 
no research literature about inverse-address-matching. Location-based 
services are, in a very real sense, an elaboration on the theme of inverse 
address matching. These new services exist in the rapidly growing high 
technology nexus that integrates GIS, wireless computing and cellular 
telephones. The coming decade will see substantial growth in these as 
yet unregulated location-based services, especially as third-generation cell 
phones with improved graphics capabilities become commonplace. The 
social science implications of these new geo-spatial technologies have yet 
to be addressed in a comprehensive fashion and the societal impacts of 
emergent fusions of these technologies requires further theoretical and 
empirical investigation. 

References 

Agarwal, P.K. 1999. "Building India's National Internet Backbone." Communica- 
tions of the Association for Computing Machinery 42 (6): 53-58. 

Agre, RE. and M. Rotenberg. 1998. Technology and Privacy: The New Landscape. 
Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 

Armstrong, M.P., G. Rushton, and D.L. Zimmerman. 1999. "Geographically 
Masking Health Data to Preserve Confidentiality." Statistics in Medicine 18 (5): 
497-525. 

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Bennett, C.J. 1998. "Convergence Revisited: Toward a Global Policy for the Protec- 
tion of Personal Data." In Technology and Privacy: The New Landscape, ed. P.E. 
Agre and M. Rotenberg. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press, pp. 99-123. 

Brody, H., M. Rip, P. Vinten-Johansen, N. Paneth, and S. Rachman. 2000. "Map- 
making and Myth-making in Broad Street: the London Cholera Epidemic, 
1854." The Lancet (356): 64 - 68. 

Broome, F.R. and D.B. Meixler. 1990. "The TIGER Data Base Structure." Cartog- 
raphy and Geographic Information Systems 17 (1): 39-48. 

Chakraborty, J. and M.P Armstrong. 2001. "Assessing the Impact of Airborne Toxic 
Releases on Populations with Special Needs." The Professional Geographer 53 
(1): 119-131. 

Curry, M.R. 1997. "The Digital Individual and the Private Realm." Annals of the 
Association of American Geographers 87 (4): 681-699. 

Curry, M.R. 1998. Digital Places: Living with Geographic Information Technologies. 
New York, NY: Routledge. 

Dash, S., R.E Schwartz, and R.E. Knowlton. 1959. The Eavesdroppers. New 
Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press. 

Dent, B.D. 1999. Cartography: Thematic Map Design. Dubuque, LA: WCB McGraw 
Hill. 

Diffie, W. and S. Landau. 1998. Privacy on the Line: The Politics of Wiretapping and 
Encryption. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. 

Dobson, J. 1998. "Is GIS a Privacy Threat?" GeoWorld, May. 
http://www.geoplace.com/gw/ 1 998/0798/798onln.asp 

Dobson, J. 2000. "What Are the Ethical Limits of GIS?" GeoWorld, May. 
http://www.geoplace.com/gw/2000/0500/0500g.asp 

DOC, 2001. US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, http://www.licensing.noaa.gov/faqs.htm 

Edelstein, HA. 2001. "Pan for Gold in the Clickstream." InformationWeek (sic) 
Issue 828, March 12, 2001, pp. 77-91. 

EPIC, 2001. http://www.epic.org 

FCC, 2000. Federal Communications Commission, OET Bulletin Number 71, 
April 12, 2000. http://www.fcc.gov/oet/info/documents/bulletins/ 

Frerichs, R. 2001. http://www.ph.ucla.edu/epi/snow.html 
Golledge, R.G., R.A. Klatzky, J.M. Loomis, J. Speigle, and J. Tietz. 1998. "A 

Geographical Information System for a GPS Based Personal Guidance System." 
International Journal of Geographical Information Science 12 (7): 727-749. 



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Marc P. Armstrong 

Goss, J. 1995. "We Know Who You Are and We Know Where You Live: The 

Instrumental Rationality of Geodemographic Systems." Economic Geography 71 
(2): 171-198. 

Hall, C.T. 1959. The Silent Language. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday. 

Hein, G.W, B. Eissfeller, J.O. Winkel and V. Oehler. 2001. "Determining Location 
Using Wireless Networks." GPS World 12 (3): 26-37. 

Jensen, J.R. 2000. Remote Sensing of the Environment: An Earth Resource Perspective. 
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 

Jensen, J.R. 1996. Introductory digital image processing: a remote sensing perspective. 
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall. 

Marx, R.W 1990. "The TIGER System: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow." Cartog- 
raphy and Geographic Information Systems 17 (1): 89-97. 

Monmonier, M. 1996. How to Lie with Maps (2 nd ed). Chicago, IL: University of 
Chicago Press. 

Negroponte, N. 1995. Being Digital. New York, NY: Knopf. 

NOAA, 2001. http://www.ngs.noaa.gov/FGCS/info/sans SA/docs/statement.html 

Petrazinni, B. and M. Kibati. 1999. "The Internet in Developing Countries." 

Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery 42 (6): 31-36. 

PI, 2001. www. privacyinternational .org 

Porteous, J.D. 1977. Environment & Behavior: Planning and Everyday Urban Life. 
Reading, MA: Addison- Wesley. 

Spacelmaging,2001. http://www.spaceimaging.com/newsroom/releases/ 
200 1 /halfmeter_license.htm 

Tufte, E. 1997. Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative. 
Cheshire, CT: Graphics Press. 

Waters, N. 2000. "GIS and the Bitter Fruit: Privacy Issues in the Age of the Inter- 
net." GeoWorld, May. http://www.geoplace.com/gw/2000/0500/0500edg.asp 



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Geographic Information Technologies and Their Potentially Erosive Effects on Personal Privacy 




Figure 1 . Locations for Thirty Randomly-Selected Address in Iowa City, IA 



A 



Enlarged Portion of Figure 1 Showing Addresses Obtained by Inverse Address Matching 




40 40 80 Meters 



28 



To Promote the General Welfare - the Ethical 
Imperative of Closing the Digital Divide 

Valerie L. Patterson 
Florida International University 

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect Union, 
establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common 
defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the blessings of Liberty 
to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution 
for the United States of America. 

Technology has a tremendous hold on the lives of many Americans - 
some would probably call it a "strangle-hold." For academics, advances 
and innovations in technology now make it possible to collect more data, 
crunch it more easily, publish it more rapidly and disseminate it to more 
individuals around the globe. Gone are the days of a delayed response. 
Bulletin boards are created in conjunction with symposia, and there is no 
delay in your determining whether your arguments, hypotheses, propositions 
are recommendations are theoretically suspect, your colleagues in the academy, 
thanks to technology have the capability to inform you of your flawed 
logic, practically instantaneously. Individually, as scholars, along with these 
rapid advancements and innovations has come a realization that unless we 
become more technologically savvy, that is - able to cut, paste, scan and 
deliver, animate our lectures with sound and up-to-the-minute information, 
and deliver our courses to new customers who just don't have the time to 
physically present themselves on campus, in a web-based environment - 
that we run the risk of obsolescence, that as "Boomers" delivering instruction 
to "GenXers," our mindsets must change, we must "get with the program" 
or be left behind. 

We could say that technology, specifically information and communication 
technology, offers tremendous opportunity for the social sciences, particularly 
in the areas of research, scholarship, and dissemination. However, advances 
in technology have also raised questions of an ethical nature, related to who 
has access and who ultimately benefits. 



29 



To Promote the General Welfare - the Ethical Imperative of Closing the Digital Divide 

If you are teaching at a Carnegie designated Research I Institution, the 
probabilities of your having access are pretty good. But what about your 
students, or your potential students, or their parents, or the grandmothers 
of your students, or the disabled or members of disadvantaged populations? 
Advances in technology have allowed scholars an opportunity to access 
information on a myriad subjects. But the question of access, who has it, and 
who doesn't is an issue that bears consideration and review. 

The purpose of this paper is to carefully examine one aspect of information 
technology related to access - the existence of what is frequently referred 
to as the "digital divide." I believe that as scholars and researchers, we 
have to look beyond immediate and individual benefits and also consider 
community, nation, and world. 

Technology can enhance a person's existence, in becoming "connected" 
the world becomes a much smaller place. Baggio (2001) suggests that digital 
contact can bridge social and physical frontiers allowing distant communities 
to share the same reality. For others, its absence can make the world less 
accessible, and much more difficult to navigate. Knowledge is power. But 
rapid changes in technology, for example going from a 486 to a Pentium 
suggests that everyone is not going to be on the same page at the same time. 
There are some basics, that can be provided that can give everyone some 
entry point, however what should be done if barriers related to race, gender, 
poverty, disability or infrastructure exist? Other scholars (Kodama, 2001 for 
example) suggest that the essence of information technology lies in its ability 
to broaden the range and possibilities of human activity. Economically, if 
your circumstances preclude you from traveling the globe, might you derive 
satisfaction from a "virtual tour?" 

My thesis is as follows: Removing the barriers that prevent access to 
technology, specifically communication and information technology should 
be a governmental priority. My argument is based on the belief that this is 
an ethical imperative. Just as government is responsible for ensuring that we 
are safe from air pollution, safe from the invasion of our enemies — so too is 
the responsibility for ensuring that there is access for all - to technology. That 
is, when we argue that government should do what is in the public's best 
interest, removing these barriers falls within this realm. 

Constitutional Implications 

The Preamble to the Constitution suggests that its existence is as the 
result of a desire to promote the general Welfare. So examining this notion 
of technology and access, from a philosophical perspective I turn to this 

30 



Valerie L. Patterson 

document to lay the foundation for my thesis. It is a document that serves 
as the foundation for all decisions and policy making that impacts the lives 
of all Americans. Rosenbloom, Carroll and Carroll (2000) argue that it is 
a "document written in 1787 that still governs a complex nation such as 

the United States and must be both flexible and brilliant And that its 

flexibility allows it to accommodate vast social, economic, intellectual, 
and technological change." So the Constitution through the application of 
formal and informal methods of amendment has evolved to allow for and 
address social, cultural and most significantly, technological change and I am 
suggesting that removing barriers to facilitate access should be considered 
promoting the general welfare. I believe that this proposition is a valid one in 
light of the rhetoric associated with governments' desires for the social well- 
being of its citizens. For example the presidents and prime ministers of the 
G8 assert that information technology provides enormous opportunities to be 
seized and shared by all (Presidents & Prime Ministers, 2000) . 

Social science has been and continues to be a vehicle for examining the 
problems and ills of society. Social science research and inquiry has allowed 
scholars to examine issues related to economic disparity, poverty and race. 
The digital revolution, as mentioned in the introduction of this paper, has 
facilitated the capability of the scholar to collect, review, evaluate and analyze 
information, ultimately building new knowledge. Again, knowledge is power 
and this revolution has also made it abundantly clear that everyone isn't riding 
this wave and that something should be done about this fact. 

The Divide 

Much has been written about the "digital divide." It can be defined 
as the gap between the information rich and the information poor that 
exists because of inadequate access to technology that facilitates access to 
information. This could be as simple as a telephone, analog versus digital, 
or it could be as complex as knowing the best buy between a 1 .3 GHz Intel 
Pentium 4 or a 1.0 GHz AMD Athlon. 

The use of technology in its various forms has numerous and multiple 
implications. The Social Science Research Council's website ( www.ssrc.org/ 
programs ) argues that the rapid introduction of technology that has been 
witnessed in the last two decades (is) designed to aid progress, but that to 
date no body of language exists to guide decisions inspired by or that bear 
directly on information technology. 

In 2001 inquiring minds can revisit the idea of promoting the general 
welfare and wonder if providing access to technology, specifically information 

31 



To Promote the General Welfare - the Ethical Imperative of Closing the Digital Divide 

technology to those who are disadvantaged is what the Founding Fathers 
envisioned. 

In his final State of the Union address, Bill Clinton said the following, 
"Opportunity for all requires having access to a computer and knowing 
how to use it. That means we must close the 'digital divide' between those 
who've got the tools and those who don't" (Goldsborough 2000), this 
suggests that the access equals opportunity which equals a competitive 
advantage for all Americans. 

But is the divide related to race, income, ethnicity, and/or gender? In 
reference to women and the divide, Marcia Ann Gillespie (editor-in-chief 
of Ms. Magazine) responding to an Inc. Magazine interview says, "If you 
asked me four years ago whether the culture of technology is good or bad for 
women, I would have said that maybe it's not a good thing. It is so incredibly 
male-centered. But more and more women are embracing the new media 
and technology" {Inc., 2000). 

So the question becomes one centered around impact and outcome. If the 
literature abounds with research suggesting that the corporate/organizational 
playing field is not level (see Fernandez, 1999 for example), that women face 
something termed the "glass ceiling," will access to, understanding of, and 
ability to utilize and manipulate the new media and information technology 
enhance and improve the opportunities for women? 

Gillespie (2000) also observes that "the most disturbing and insidious part 
of the new technological age is that there is no discussion of how technology 
can be used for the greater good" - you know to, as I have suggested, 
'promote the general welfare.' 

So social science research probably allows us or at least compels scholars 
to ask — who benefits and who pays? Does the rising tide of technology 
"float all ships?" If it does my thesis is supported. Or in our rush to 
technological supremacy are we leaving those behind whose income, race, 
ethnicity, disabilities and gender present barriers and challenges. And if 
we are — does it matter? 

As scholars engaged in social science research, an examination of 
information technology requires an assessment of this fundamental concern, 
this assessment requires us to examine the rhetoric focusing on the "digital 
divide" to determine if it is instigated by some fundamental assertion/belief 
that access and use will somehow benefit the commons. 



32 



Valerie L. Patterson 

Presidential Support 

An examination of the Clinton record suggests that he was committed to 
closing the gap. In July 1 999, Clinton proposed a multi-billion-dollar program 
to help bridge the digital divide to ultimately provide access for all Americans 
(Rosenthal, 2000). This included an initiative to promote innovative 
applications of information technology for underserved communities 
tripling the Department of Commerce's Technology Opportunities Program. 
Interestingly enough, post Bill Clinton, the current administration does 
not appear to be as committed to bridging the divide. Some observers are 
quick to point to the comments made by Michael Powell, in his first news 
conference as chair of the Federal Communication Commission. Powell 
skeptical about the FCC's role in closing the divide, suggested that the ability 
of some individuals to be the first to purchase and use cutting edge technology 
doesn't suggest that there is a divide, going on to say "I think there is a 
Mercedes divide. I'd like to have one" (Flagg, 2001). 

The Republicans oppose the broader brush response to disparities and 
favor funding those long-standing programs that have more specific mandates 
(Ross 2001), although Fred Lipton, a leading Republican objected to the 
reduction in the Technology Opportunities Program budget. Plus given 
the Republican emphasis on "less government" I would argue that it is 
highly unlikely that philosophically and ideologically my argument would 
find consensus and support. 

Falling Through the Net 

This difference in perspectives has led to a proposed reduction in the 
Technology Opportunities Program from 42 to 15 million, even though the 
Department of Commerce's Falling Through the Net document suggests that 
the digital divide is "now one of America's leading economic and civil rights 
issues (Department of Commerce, 1999). 

The Executive Summary of this report, argues that "information tools, 
such as the personal computer and the Internet are increasingly critical to 
economic success and personal achievement." 

Two of the most significant findings from the report relevant to an 
exploration of the ethical imperative are as follows: 

• Whites are more likely to have access to the Internet from home than 
Blacks or Hispanics have in any other location. 

• Regardless of income level, Americans living in rural areas are lagging 
behind in Internet access and even at the lowest income levels, those in 



33 



To Promote the General Welfare - the Ethical Imperative of Closing the Digital Divide 

urban areas are more than twice as likely to have Internet access than 
those earning some income in rural areas. 
Promoting the general welfare suggests to me that it is equally as important 
for those in rural areas as well as urban areas to reap the benefits associated 
with access to information technology, that differences in gender should have 
no bearing, that differences in ethnicity should not dictate who has access to 
information and ultimately knowledge. 

The report also indicated that in many instances the divide has widened. 

The Digital Economy 

Dusen Wishard (2000) submits that the Internet is redefining basic 
economic activity with a projected forecast by Forrester Research of 
business-to-business e-commerce expected to grow from $43 billion to 
$1.3 trillion. 

For those families in America with annual household incomes of $75,000 
it can be assumed that they are major participants in this commerce, but 
can the same be said for lower income urban families or households in 
rural unconnected areas? 

Theirer (2000), on the other hand argues that there is no divide - that 
given the age of the "free PC," and given the results of a survey that suggests 
that 97.3% of all poor households own a television set, it can be inferred 
then, if household access doesn't exist, it's because people are not interested 
in having access. He also argues that low-income households are now seen 
by computer firms as the most popular segment of the market to target. 
He raises some interesting points, however, access to a computer does 
not automatically create access to the Internet and issues such as existing 
infrastructure bear consideration. 

Knowing use patterns, and potential use patterns is useful. Research 
suggests that there are differences in use based on race, ethnicity, and gender. 
For example, while there are similarities in use for whites and African 
Americans, African Americans are more likely than whites to have used the 
technology for those activities related to economic advancement and quality 
of life, job and housing searches, and to also search for religious and spiritual 
material (The Other Side, 2001). 

This pattern of use suggests that increasing access is useful for eliminating 
economic disparities. 

Electronic Government and Virtual Communities 

The move to create virtual communities, or virtual town halls, may 
be one argument for the need for access. Some analysts argue that access 

34 



Valerie L. Patterson 

to the Internet will become more necessary for full participation in the 
democratic process. 

Access to e-government can facilitate the delivery of services - for 
example, paying taxes on line, downloading government documents, or 
securing permits. Tremendous implications exist for those individuals who 
have difficulties navigating bureaucracies, those who are intimidated by 
bureaucracies or just those who are far removed from central government 
structures. 

The city of San Carlos, California serves as an example of the possibilities. 
This city has established a working relationship with Microsoft and 
participates in the California State Select Agreement (Public Management, 
2000). The city is currently involved in a project where through the use of 
technology - city services can be available to citizens twenty-four hours a 
day and seven days a week. So the creation of a "virtual city hall" is believed 
to be a mechanism for improving the relationship between government 
and the citizenry. 

Neuborne (2001) reminds us that certain groups historically have been 
excluded from full participation in the electoral process, and he offers the 
possibility of Internet voting as one of several remedies to the fiasco of the 
2000 Presidential election. He cautions, however, that any discussion of 
advanced voting technology must consider the impact of these kinds of 
methods on the electoral divide that separates the rich and poor. 

E-government has been touted as a mechanism for providing increased 
access for citizens but given the current disparities and inequities related 
to access, how can electronic government truly increase access for all 
citizens? 

Baggio (2001) argues that new technologies offer an unprecedented tool 
for social mobilization for the less privileged. He suggests that the challenge 
is to reduce what he refers to as the "digital apartheid" of underprivileged 
communities. Kodama (2000) presents case study research of the installation 
of a multimedia village project in Katsuraomura, Japan, to raise the 
information and knowledge levels of individual residents and found that 
the use of video terminals and digital networks will be integral to creating 
new, virtual, regional communities. Longstreth (2001) discussed the benefits 
derived from the use of "little intelligence communities" LINCOS, with 
the utilization of mobile digital community centers in recycled shipping 
containers. These containers were deployed to Costa Rica and have been 
instrumental in creating opportunities for groups such as in the case of Costa 
Rica, coffee growers who took advantage of the opportunity to scan the 

35 



To Promote the General Welfare - the Ethical Imperative of Closing the Digital Divide 

Internet for information on prices and weather. Both the Japanese and Costa 
Rican examples illustrate existing capabilities that can be utilized to benefit 
social and economical needs. 

Although proponents argue that this increased access to government can 
only lead to positive results, some question whether technology is changing 
democracy in ways that make it less democratic {National Civic Review, 
2000). The removal of barriers suggests that disadvantaged populations could 
have greater access to government information. 

A discussion of the potential for virtual communities is also relevant. One 
question that arises is whether the use of information technology assists in 
improving communication between groups/individuals who are different. 
Benschoten (2000) argues that one major benefit of on-line communicating 
is that disenfranchised groups have been allowed to participate in discussions 
that they otherwise might have been excluded from. However, the anonymity 
and distance that presents itself in electronic communication makes it possible 
for communication to become more aggressive, less civil, more hostile and 
more challenging than face-to-face communication. So frequently on-line 
discussions, via chat-rooms or community bulletin boards may reveal the 
presence of prejudices, racist ideologies, and stereotypical beliefs. 

This evidence of decreasing rather than increasing tolerance, is related to 
a concern raised by Benschoten (2000) that the absence of body language 
and tonal differentiation in on-line communication, will lead to more 
misunderstanding between people. 

Dusen Wishard (2000) also argues that the information environment 
in which the individual lives is being radically altered, that this ability and 
capability of speed in transmitting information, ideas, and images does not 
allow for making adjustments. He suggests that rapid access to information 
does not provide time to shape this information into coherent meaning, 
contributing to what he calls a "certain psychic disorientation." 

So increased access and elimination of barriers could result in less 
willingness for shared space, contributing to decreased rather than increased 
understanding. 

Conclusion 

The Social Science Research Council has established the Program on 
Information Technology International Cooperation and Global Security 
to nurture the development of social science research on information 
technology. 

It is clear that while advancements in technology have allowed social 

36 



Valerie L. Patterson 

scientists to improve the collection, analysis and evaluation of data, these 
advancements also have the potential to create dysfunction and increase 
disparities that exist among certain disadvantaged populations. 

Much more emphasis is needed on issues related to the ethical implications 
associated with access for all. The "rising tide" analogy warrants restating at 
this point. Shouldn't there be a compelling interest in ensuring that everyone 
has equal access to information technology? I think that there should be. The 
presidents and prime ministers of the G-8 assert: 

"To this end we must ensure that IT (information technology) 
serves the mutually supportive goals of creating sustainable 
economic growth, enhancing the public welfare, and fostering 
social cohesion, and work to fully realize its potential to 
strengthen democracy, increase transparency and accountability 
in governance, promote human rights, enhance cultural diversity, 
and foster international peace and stability" (G-8's Information 
and Technology Commitment, 2000). 
This vision for the opportunities to be reaped from information technology 
as well as a commitment to its capabilities to enhance the public welfare 
support my thesis. This paper has presented several areas that bear increased 
attention and examination. It is hoped that questions raised are thoughtful 
enough and provocative enough to move inquiring minds to action. 

References 

Baggio, Rodrigo. 2001. "The Real Digital Revolution: Putting computers in the 
hands of the powerless will change the world." Time International 157: 60. 

Benschoten, Elizabeth V. 2000. "Technology, Democracy, and the Creation of 
Community." National Civic Review 89: 185. 

Dusen Wishard, Wm. Van. 2000. "The Beginning of a New Time." Vital Speeches 
66: 349. 

Fernandez, John P. 1999. Race, Gender & Rhetoric. New York: McGraw-Hill. 

Goldsborough, Reid. 2000. "Bridging the Digital Divide." Office Solutions 17: 11. 

Kodama, Mitsuru. 2001. "New Regional Community Creation, Medical and Edu- 
cational Applications." Systems Research and Behavioral Science 18: 225. 

Longstreth, Andrew. 2001. "The Littlest Mobile Office - LINCOS telecenters cross 
the digital divide, worldwide." Ziff Davis Smart Business for the New Economy 
44. 

Neuborne, Burt. 2001. "Reclaiming Democracy." The American Prospect 12: 18. 



37 



To Promote the General Welfare - the Ethical Imperative of Closing the Digital Divide 

Rosenbloom, David, James D. Carroll, and Jonathan D. Carroll. 2000. Constitu- 
tional Competence for Public Managers. Itasca, 111.: Peacock Publishing. 

Rosenthal, Ilene. 2000. "The Clinton-Gore Digital Divide Proposal." Technology 
and Learning 20: 10. 

Ross, Patrick 2001. "Hill leader fights for digital-divide funds." CNET News.com. 
February 15. 

Social Science Research Council. 2001. "Information Technology, International 
Cooperation and Global Security." http://www.ssrc.org/programs/ 
programpage.cgi?90174AB05 . 

Thierer, Adam D. 2000. "Is the Digital Divide A Virtual Reality?" Consumers' 
Research Magazine 83: 16. 

United States Department of Commerce. 1999. Falling Through The Net: Defining 
the Digital Divide, http://www.ntia.doc.gov . 

., 2001. "Bridging the Digital Divide." The Other Side 37: 8. 

., 2000. "G8's Information Technology Commitment." Presidents and 

Prime Ministers 9:3. 

., 2000. "San Carlos: Making Technology Work in Local Government." 



Public 
Management 82," A — 5. 

., 2000. "The View from out there." Inc. May 16: 49. 

., 2000. "Note From The President." National Civic Review 89: 183. 



38 



Political Activity, Administrative Controls and 

Communications Technology: Observations from 

a State Bureaucracy 

Robert M. Sanders 
State University of West Georgia 

Alexander Y. Aronson 

State University of West Georgia 

Abstract 

Attempts at separating politics from the bureaucracy are as old as the 
republic itself. Founding presidents of all persuasions found electioneering 
by public employees to be inconsistent with the Constitution. In countering 
the nation's early tradition of public corruption, several executive and 
legislative enterprises mandated restraints against partisan activity in the 
public sector. The Civil Service Act created a non-partisan civil service, 
and the Political Activities Act restricted political activities by bureaucrats. 
Advances in communications technology allow employees to engage in more 
electioneering, while agencies can monitor such activities with greater ease. 
Employee privacy rights have encountered employer entitlements. 

Just how productive are laws such as the Civil Service or Political 
Activities Acts? In a survey of employees in seven Georgia state agencies, we 
found that most workers were ignorant of stipulations against partisanship 
in the bureaucracy. We also found that employees sought more autonomy to 
engage in political endeavors. While partisan activity in these bureaucracies 
was not excessive, its curtailment is not impending. 

Prelude to Bureaucratic Reform 

Amid constant efforts to purify the American political process, from 
campaign contribution reform to reorganization of the massive federal 
bureaucracy, efforts to monitor the partisan activity of public workers 
remain an ongoing process. Rosenbloom (1983) and Shafritz, et al. (2001) 
indicate that as early as 1801, President Jefferson expressed the belief that 
electioneering by a federal employee was "inconsistent with the Constitution 
and his duties to it," while President Hayes in 1877 restricted employees' 
political activities to those that did not "interfere with the discharge of their 

39 



Political Activity, Administrative Controls and Communications Technology 

official duties." In the late 1800's, President Cleveland sought to prevent 
employees from "offending by a display of obtrusive partisanship." Theodore 
Roosevelt followed with the decree that federal employees would not use 
their "official position to the benefit of one political party," later forbidding 
any activity in "political management or campaigns." 

The Evolving Civil Service 

Attempts to create a structured non-partisan civil service sputtered with 
President Grant's failed Civil Service Commission. Although Congress 
approved legislation to create such a commission in 1871, members became 
alarmed at the President's serious attempt to curtail Congressional patronage 
powers; consequently, funding for the Civil Service was not appropriated. 
Earlier, Congressman Thomas Jenckes, fueled by his contempt for President 
Andrew Johnson, suggested that the Vice-President preside over a proposed 
Civil Service Commission. As the public became increasingly aware of partisan 
efforts to derail reform, support for an effective Civil Service flourished. 
Exposes of corrupt municipal operations, such as the Boss Tweed machine 
in New York, aided the cause. 

However, it would take the assassination of President Garfield by a 
deranged office seeker to provide the catalyst for the establishment of a 
viable Civil Service. Just as President Kennedy's assassination provided the 
momentum for Civil Rights legislation, Garfield's murder led to Senator 
Pendleton's Civil Service Act. Finally, public personnel had its landmark 
bill, creating a Civil Service Commission to oversee hiring, retention, and 
activities of public employees (Shafritz, et al., 2001). 

The Civil Service would not be immune from patronage and corruption, 
however, stimulating efforts such as Franklin Roosevelt's Committee on 
Administrative Management, the Hoover Commission, President Reagan's 
Grace Commission and Bill Clinton's National Performance Review to 
restructure and create a more efficient and honorable bureaucracy (Wilson, 
Dilulio, 2001). Schuman and Olufs (1993) demonstrate that President 
Carter's Civil Service Reform Act of 1979 was a further attempt to curtail 
bureaucratic political activity. It established the Office of Personnel 
Management to oversee federal employees, and the Merit Service Protection 
Board to promote the political immunity of public workers. 

Enforcing Compliance With the Political Activities Act 

As the New Deal's Works Progress Administration officers used their 
positions to secure party votes among the federal workforce's legions of 
Democratic voters, Congress passed the Political Activities Act of 1939, 

40 



Robert M. Sanders and Alexander Y. Aronson 

introduced by Democratic Senator Carl Hatch of New Mexico. This epic 
legislation, generally referred to as the Hatch Act, limits the political activities 
of federal employees and prohibits the intimidation of voters, as well as the 
use of bribery, during elections. The Second Hatch Act of 1940 extended 
the law to employees in state agencies subject to federal financing (Starling, 
1998). Under Hatch Act restrictions, employees cannot influence a partisan 
election, be a candidate, campaign for a party, solicit contributions, be a 
party officer, manage a campaign, distribute campaign material, or endorse 
a candidate. However, employees may vote, register in a party, contribute 
to a campaign, run or participate in non-partisan elections, be appointed to 
public office, be an election clerk, attend a political convention, be a member 
of a political party, sign petitions, or appeal to a member of Congress (Cooper, 
1983; Welch, et al., 1999). 

As the use of teletype and long-distance telephone became more 
widespread, it became a daunting task for public officials to monitor partisan 
abuses by employees. The state of the technology at that time did not allow 
for detailed record-keeping of contacts that could be traced to political bases 
of operation, nor could such partisanship be easily observed. 

The 1 977 benchmark case oiElrod v. Burns, however, sustained protections 
against political coercion against public workers as outlined by Hatch. Here, 
the Supreme Court decreed that incoming municipal administrations could 
not systematically replace non-civil service employees of the opposite party. 
Stating that this seasoned practice was unconstitutional and a restraint on 
freedom of association, the Court mandated the reinstatement of Cook 
County Sheriff John Burns in Illinois. Ironically, Burns obtained his job in 
the same manner as his dismissal. In dissension, Justice Brennan asserted that 
patronage hiring has "historically contributed to the practical functioning 
of our democratic system." The Burns case was upheld in 1980, in Branti 
v. Finkel, in Rockland County, New York. The courts, and sympathetic 
presidents such as Kennedy, have generally supported employee freedom of 
speech and association issues, as well as the right to join unions. However, 
Hatch Act constraints usually hold up to judicial review. The 1947 Supreme 
Court case of United Public Workers v. Mitchell and the 1972 case of National 
Association of Letter Carriers v. Civil Service Commission, upon appeal to the 
High Court, reaffirmed employee political restrictions (Sylvia, 1994). 

A Non-Partisan Bureaucracy and Electronic Privacy 

In 1990, the Hatch Act was again in the center of political controversy. 
After intensive lobbying by employee unions, Congress voted overwhelmingly 

41 



Political Activity, Administrative Controls and Communications Technology 

to allow federal workers to hold office in political organizations, engage 
in political activities, and campaign while not on duty. President George 
H. Bush, however, viewed this legislative action as a Democratic initiative; 
consequently, he vetoed the effort. A subsequent override attempt was 
unsuccessful (Shafritz, et al., 2001). 

In 1993, Congress again approved amendments to the Hatch Act. This 
time, President Clinton signed the legislation allowing all Merit Service 
employees to engage in political activities away from the workplace. They 
may now contribute to political organizations, engage in campaigns, solicit 
contributions, recruit volunteers, display partisan signs, and speak on behalf of 
candidates (Anonymous, 1996). However, Hatch still allows for Congressional 
oversight of bureaucratic partisanship, particularly in regard to union activity 
in elections, as well as other ethical considerations. Also, employees of 
politically sensitive agencies are subject to the original mandates of the Act. 
Such agencies include the Federal Elections Commission; Federal Bureau of 
Investigation; Secret Service; Central Intelligence Agency; National Security 
Council; Defense Intelligence Agency; Merit Service Protection Board; 
Internal Revenue Service; Department of Justice; Customs Service; and 
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (Cayer, 1996). 

At that same time, greater advances in communications technology allowed 
for controversial surveillance. Video tracking of employee locations, tapping 
of agency telephones and e-mail transfers, and computer record-keeping 
has eased the difficulty of observing partisan activity. Is an employee's 
telephone, e-mail, electronic bulletin board, or computer hard drive open 
to investigations of Hatch violations, or are they the private domain of the 
individual? The Privacy Act of 1 974 excludes adverse personnel action based 
on the private communications of the employee. However, an employee's 
expectation of privacy under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act 
of 1984 does not extend to constraints against officials reviewing employee- 
generated e-mails, particularly in the case of a public agency's compelling 
interest in observing partisan bureaucratic activity. An employer's authority 
to monitor e-mails was upheld in the U.S. District Court case of Smyth v. The 
Pillsbury Company (Cozzeto and Pedeliski, 1997). 

Compliance with the Hatch Act 

Some 40% of all state and local employees state they would participate 
more actively in politics if Hatch Act regulations were relaxed (Tompkins, 
1995). However, in Georgia, a survey of career employees of five state 
executive branch agencies, a governor's commission, as well as the legislature, 1 

42 



Robert M. Sanders and Alexander Y. Aronson 

revealed that legal restrictions do not necessarily curtail bureaucratic partisan 
politics, particularly in the state's newly revised bureaucracy, where the civil 
service has been eliminated. 2 

The survey included the following questions and responses (n=60): 

Are you familiar with the Hatch Act of 1940? 

Yes- 10% No- 90% 

Do you know of a public official who has pressured an employee to 
amend public policy for that official's political benefit? 

Yes- 30% No- 70% 

Do you know any state employees who openly campaign for elected 
officials while at the workplace? 

Yes- 10% No- 90% 

Should political discussions be allowed at work during breaks? 

Yes- 100% No- 0% 
Do you know any state employee who holds funds for a political 
party? 

Yes- 10% No- 90% 

Would you foresee punishment for a state employee who brought 
party politics to the workplace? 

Yes- 40% No- 60% 

Do you know any state employee who openly participates in party 
politics at the workplace? 

Yes- 10% No- 90% 

Have you received political e-mails from fellow employees? 

Yes- 5% No- 95% 

Do you know any state employee who is a delegate to a party 
convention? 

Yes- 5% No- 95% 

Do you know any state employee who solicits funds for a political 
party? 
Yes- 5% No- 95% 

Conclusions 

Results indicate that state employees seek some relaxations of the Hatch 
Act, such as the open discussion of partisan politics during recesses. Recently, 
the Supreme Court upheld employee prerogatives to conduct religious 
dialogues while on break (Starling, 1998). While Georgia workers are 
rather ignorant of Hatch Act directives, political activities are not rampant 
in the workplace. 

43 



Political Activity, Administrative Controls and Communications Technology 

However, some employees do engage in party politics while on duty, such 
as expressing support for candidates, wearing campaign pins, and distributing 
political literature, including e-mail messages. There also appears to be little 
agency enforcement of the Act, nor monitoring of party action or the use 
of technology, such as e-mail surveillance, to ensure compliance. With the 
prevailing perception that few sanctions exist, partisan activity will remain a 
component of the public employment environment. 

Notes 

1 Employees were surveyed by questionnaire in a state administration building 
cafeteria during lunch. Those polled were employees of the Georgia Department of 
Transportation, Department of Human Services, Department of Labor, Department 
of Revenue, Department of Administrative Services, Georgia Legislature and 
Public Service Commission. 

2 In 1995, the GeorgiaGain program declassified most positions formally covered 
under the Merit System. Employee evaluations were revised and corresponding wages 
were developed to be comparable to the private sector. Enacted by previous Governor 
Zell Miller, the politically popular policy is understandably loathed by Georgia's 
public workers who have lost several employee protections. 

References 

Anonymous. "Don't get hatched." Campaigns & Elections. 17(1996):9. 

Cayer, Joseph. Public Personnel Administration in the United States. New York: St. 
Martin's, 1996. 

Cooper, Phillip. Public Law & Public Administration. Palo Alto, CA: Mayfield, 
1983. 

Cozetto, Don and Theodore Pedeliski. "Privacy and the Workplace: Technology 
and Public Employment." Public Personnel Management. 26 (1997): 515-525. 

Rosenbloom, David. Public Administration and Law. New York: Dekker, 1983. 

Schuman, David, and Dick Olufs. Public Administration in the United States. 
Lexington, MA: Heath, 1993. 

Shafritz, Jay, et al. Personnel Management in Government. New York: Dekker, 2001. 

Starling, Grover. Managing the Public Sector. Fort Worth, TX: Harcourt Brace, 
1998. 

Sylvia, Ronald. Public Personnel Administration. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth, 1994. 

Tompkins, Jonathan. Human Resource Management in Government. New York: 
HarperCollins, 1995. 



44 



Robert M. Sanders and Alexander Y. Aronson 

Welch, Susan, et al. Understanding American Government. Belmont, CA: West/ 
Wadsworth, 1999. 

Wilson, James and John Dilulio. American Government. Lexington, MA: Heath, 
2001. 



45 



Innovation, Technology and Municipal 
Governments 

Dahlia Bradshaw Lynn 
University of Southern Maine 

Abstract 

Information technologies increasingly serve as powerful tools for government 
and other public sector organizations. Municipal governments are rushing 
to implement new management information systems and computerized 
operations designed to substantially increase effectiveness and efficiency 
in the delivery of public services, the management of critical information 
sources for decision-making and the formulation of public policy. While 
significant attention is paid to the design and implementation phases of 
launching new technology, these systems also require new policies and 
procedures for managing and disseminating information and knowledge. 
This paper presents the findings of a statewide survey of 494 municipalities 
in Maine examining technological innovation in local government, the 
utilization of technology for service delivery, and evolving workforce issues 
as a result of technological change. The survey results indicate that public 
sector employees caught in the implementation of new technology are often 
involved in extensive organizational change initiated by the adoption of 
these new information management approaches. Ultimately, government 
agencies seeking to embrace new technology must recognize that employee 
resistance to technology is also resistance to organizational change. Failure on 
the part of public managers to address the human side of technology launch, 
the transformational impact of information systems, and computerization 
on the nature of work within government places the adaptation of such 
technology at risk. 

Introduction 

The information age ushered in by the marriage of computers and 
telecommunications, compressing time and space, has transformed the 
workplace, the nature of government services, and the quality of individual 
lives and communities. The promises of technology, better and more efficient 
administration of public services have not escaped public organizations, 
confronted with mounting pressures to reinvent themselves into lean "service" 
machines. Characteristics of technology often facilitate organizational change 

47 



Innovation, Technology and Municipal Governments 

through the stimulus of new technology (Kolodny, Liu, Stymne and Denis, 
1996). For governmental entities, information technologies are transforming 
the way public sector organizations organize and administer themselves and 
how important public goods and services are delivered to taxpayers and 
beneficiaries. As a result, computers and other forms of information handling 
devices and technologies impact the very nature of an organization's structure, 
employment patterns, and the quality of work life for its employees, the 
nature and prioritizing of work, and the management of resources. This paper 
is divided into four sections. The first describes the nature of technology 
growth in the public sector and the challenges inherent in the utilization 
of technology in the provision of government services. The second section 
provides an overview of the organizational and workforce benefits and costs 
associated with technology in public sector organizations. Thirdly, results 
of a statewide survey of municipalities in Maine are presented indicating the 
extent to which computerization and technology innovation are affecting 
the nature of local government, the services provided and the impact on 
government employees. Finally, this paper provides important survey findings 
for other municipal entities considering technology innovation, strengthens 
current research regarding the outcomes of technology and adds knowledge to 
the body of literature regarding the increasing importance of "e-government" 
and the launching of computerization and information management systems 
in municipal government. 

Technology Growth in the Public Sector 

Municipal, state and federal agencies are rushing headlong to develop 
management information systems designed to substantially increase 
effectiveness and efficiency in the delivery of public services and the 
management of critical information sources for decision-making and the 
formulation of public policy. Estimates between 3 and 17 percent are 
suggested as an accurate reflection of the current level of state budget 
expenditures for information resource management (Caudle et al., 1989 
and Fletcher and Foy, 1994). Municipalities are also allocating resources 
for technological innovation, estimated now at three percent of operating 
budgets as of 1993 (Kraemer and Norris, 1994). The role of information 
technology in the public sector has grown substantially, evidenced by the 
commitment of over $23.5 billion towards IT by the federal government in 
1994 alone (GAO, 1996b). Dollars invested are only one small measure of 
the impact of technology and the growing dependence upon every aspect of 
government operations on information systems (GAO, 1997b). State and 

48 



Dehlia Bradshaw Lynn 

local governments are also actively engaged in the investment for information 
technology. The allocation of resources, (estimated at over $45 billion by 
the year 2001 (GS2 Research, 1996) and the commitment of public sector 
positions towards computer- related responsibilities (at least 20% of executive 
branch state -workers (Candle & Marchand, 1989) provides strong evidence 
state and municipal entities are rapidly engaging in the development 
and implementation of information technologies. Work by Northrop, 
Kraemer, Dunkle and King (1990) found that those cities and counties 
with populations over 50,000 use computer technology to support a variety 
of business activities, both work applications and administrative support 
systems. Work underwritten by the Council for Excellence in Government 
indicate a growing number of state governments are developing greater 
capacities for the allocation of important resources for the development 
of information technologies and infrastructure. However, the study also 
determined, "many small to mid-size cities and counties could well be labeled 
"technology have-nots" due to the lack of resources they have to spend 
on information management and technology" (Center for Technology in 
Government, 1997 p. 5). The 1998 IPMA Technology Survey confirmed 
the growing expansion of information and telecommunication technologies 
in cities with populations over 100,000 and the development of Internet, 
intranet, web pages and electronic commerce activities (IPMA, 1998). 

Heavy investment in information systems and the ensuing allocation 
of substantial resources in time, personnel and capital are done to gain 
advantages in both operational and managerial functions (Tapscott & 
Caston, 1993; Brown & Brudney, 199). Yet, the nature of computing in 
the public sector is often characterized by resource problems, fewer access to 
technical resources and a large gap between the technology available and that 
needed. Success therefore, can be elusive, benefits meager and expectations 
of enhanced efficiency and effectiveness dashed by either technological, 
organizational or workforce constraints. "For many public sector agencies, 
dysfunctional systems that impede productivity and thwart effective service 
delivery are too often the rule rather than the exception" (Brown and 
Brudney, 1998). In local government, the "sociotechnical" interface between 
end users and computer design specialists is significant, stressing the need 
for understanding the complexity of technological problems facing public 
sector organizations and the attitudes of service providers (Danger, 1 993) . 
Economics, politics and organizational design create technological difficulties 
for public sector organizations. Public sector employees caught in the 
transition to new technology are involved in often abrupt and massive 

49 



Innovation, Technology and Municipal Governments 

organizational change, initiated by the adaptation of new management 
information and automation approaches. Frequently, the lack of clear and 
committed long-range policy to technological development impacts on the 
level of budgeting for adoption of new technologies, both in the ability to 
attract key technical personnel and adequately fund and manage complex 
systems. With the evolution of computing and new technologies there 
are unprecedented opportunities for government organizations to achieve 
organizational goals and troublesome challenges for the management of 
such efforts (Kraemer and Dedrick, 1997). This article consequently, 
focuses on the management and impact of computing, the diffusion of 
computing innovation and the relationship between technology, employees 
and organizational work life of these public organizations. 

Organizational Impact of Technology 

There are a variety of findings in the literature regarding the impact 
of technology on public organizations. Conflicting conclusions are to 
a great extent reflective of the fact that the impact of technology and 
computerization is unique for each organization. Individual agencies or 
governmental units may be at very different stages of expertise regarding their 
technical sophistication or in the stages of technology implemented by these 
organizations. The assessment of technology's impact is also dependent 
upon time, often expressed in the learning needs of employees to upgrade skills 
and expertise, the localized nature of workflow improvements and the 
political nature of the tasks accomplished by public sector organizations 
(Northrop, Kraemer, Dunce and King, 1990). Launching technology in the 
public sector often focuses on the net effects of technology improving the 
work of government and other public organizations. Benefits of technology in 
the workplace have been characterized as primarily those associated with either 
work processes (improved availability of information and greater efficiency) 
or those associated with the allocation and control over information as 
organizational resources (Downs, 1967). The impact of the information age 
is not without consequences to the individuals within the organization as 
well. Early work by Warren and Slater ( 1 968) recognized that the adaptability 
and flexibility of an organization is couched in people's ongoing ability to 
adjust to a new organizational culture, with rapidly shifting job requirements. 
As technology is redefining the concept of work, it is also redefining the 
nature of where work takes place, the nature of supervisory relationships 
and reporting structures, performance measurement and the monitoring 
of employees and tasks. Work once confined to specific space now takes 

50 



Dehlia Bradshaw Lynn 

place in a variety of settings. The ability to connect in seconds has replaced 
what once took hours or days. The multidimensionality of work locations 
now also means that employees are increasingly accessible - by fax, email, 
cellular phone, pagers and voice mail, extending beyond time clocks and 
shift assignments. 

Traditional organizational structure based on reporting relationships, 
and job titles are tested by the linkages established between people based 
on what they know rather than by job title. The understanding, utilization 
and optimization of new information and knowledge in new ways ultimately 
requires individuals who are comfortable with change and the recognition 
that many individuals may be left behind. As organizations quickly determine, 
the implementation of technology and the utilization of computers are not an 
exercise couched in neutrality or the adaptation of a benign tool. The potency 
of technology ultimately results in organizational, factional and individual 
winners and losers. Much of the victory or defeat is based on the essential 
transformation of data into information and the significance attached to the 
acquisition, access and control of that information. 

The Maine Experience 

The topography of this rugged, geographically diverse State has played 
and continues to play a significant role in the development and growth of 
Maine's 494 organized communities. Given the population (slightly over 
1.2 million) the land area, (almost 31,000 square miles) and the distance 
between communities, adequate transportation and communication has 
always been a key factor in the development of Maine communities (MMA, 
2001). A majority of Maine cities are located on the waterways of the state, 
providing both power for industry and a transportation link with the sea 
for commerce and trade. Until the late 1970s more than seventy percent of 
Maine's population resided in a twenty-mile corridor on either side of the 
interstate highway system. In stark contrast, more than forty percent of 
the northwest land area of the state is inhabited by approximately 6,000 
people (MMA, 2001). In the form of "unorganized townships," these 
governmental units have no municipal oversight and are both taxed and 
supervised directly by the state of Maine. Local governments in Maine 
provide essential services to the citizens of their community, including road 
construction and maintenance, solid waste disposal, water utilities and waste 
water treatment, police and fire protection and emergency rescue, land 
use planning and building inspection, welfare and elementary/secondary 
public education. The isolation of many communities and the lack of 

51 



Innovation, Technology and Municipal Governments 

regional government infrastructure provide unique opportunities and 
challenges to local governments in Maine as these municipalities seek to 
serve their citizens. 

Survey Findings 

In an effort to assess the utilization and impact of information technology, 
computerization and communication applications among local governments, 
a mail survey was distributed by the Maine Municipal Association 1 (MMA) 
to its membership of 494 municipalities. The survey, examined three specific 
aspects of technology utilization, (1) technology applications and functions; 
(2) perceptions of technology/ computer benefits and costs; and (3) technology 
management and workplace issues. Two hundred and seventy-nine of 494 
municipalities completed and returned the MMA survey for a response rate 
of 56.4 percent. Survey respondents included a wide variety of municipal 
administrators, including Town Managers (41.5%), Select-persons (34.4%); 
Finance/Fiscal Officials (6.7%); and, Town Clerks and Administrative 
Personnel (9.0%). Only six individuals (2.0% of all respondents) identified 
themselves as either Information Management (IM) or Information Systems 
(IS) personnel (one of whom is an IS Manager for a Native American tribal 
nation). The composition of the respondents confirms findings in other 
municipal research (ICMA, 2000) suggesting that smaller municipalities' 
lack of resources add to the constraints of providing in-house technological 
expertise. Limited resources in small municipalities and external controls 
exerted by executive and legislative branches of government create additional 
burdens in the creation of specialized technology positions and often hinder 
public agencies' ability to meet increased internal demands for information 
systems knowledge. Given these constraints, typically, information manage- 
ment employees in many public agencies have grown into their positions by 
initially managing data entry systems rather than knowledge, formal training 
or education. Clearly this is the case among Maine municipalities where slack 
resources for expert positions are relatively absent. 

Technology Applications and Functional Choices 

Skinner ( 1 979) argues that the direct impact of technology on the work 
environment is extraordinarily pervasive, ultimately effecting decisions 
impacting which work or portions of work will be done, who will perform 
the work and under what conditions and location the work be performed. 
Evidenced by more recent findings regarding the payoff of technologies 
in public organizations (Northrop, 1998), the impact of technology does 
differ greatly from one to another, the choice of which technology ultimately 

52 



Dehlia Bradshaw Lynn 

affects the long-term performance of the organization and its ability to meet 
its strategic role and mission. 

There are numerous ways computers can be utilized by managers, from 
enhanced electronic communications to data retrieval and analysis. Traditional 
systems design highlighted the system requirements necessary to improve 
work-flow, often involving the development of work practices seeking to 
improve effectiveness and efficiency frequently centering on the automation 
of discrete functions such as purchasing, payroll, financial accounting or 
documenting service provision (Berg, 1998). This notion is echoed by 
findings generated in this survey. Specific data and reporting management 
functions were the most frequently identified. These included tax records and 
billing (93.0%), accounts payable and receivable (92.2%), budgeting and 
fiscal reporting (92.0%), payroll (79.1%) and archival management such as 
voter registration and vital statistics (77.3%). The least frequently identified 
functions included code enforcement, property assessment/valuation 
activities and workload scheduling (16.3%, 19.6% and 19.0% respectively). 
Clearly, computer-based financial resource information is important to these 
municipal managers for both intra-organizational tasks (producing budgets, 
identifying slack resources and monitoring expenses) and inter-organizational 
responsibilities (debiting and crediting taxpayer accounts, verifying eligibility 
for entitlement programs and documentation). 

Technology Benefits and Costs 

Transformational technology efforts are undertaken on the basis of 
important organizational decisions regarding the flow and access of 
information. These decisions are predicated on answering important 
organizational questions on whether the overall productive value of the 
investment is worth the overall acquisition and operational costs. Literature 
examining technology utilization identifies both external (client centered) and 
internal (organization centered) benefits; including enhanced and expanded 
service delivery, greater organizational efficiency and effectiveness (Kraemer, 
et. alT985; Lucas, 1981; Orilkowski, 1992; Kling, 1993). The results of this 
statewide municipal survey replicate these findings. 

When asked to identify organizational benefits respondents identified 
saving time (79.2%), greater accuracy and work (66.8%), saving money 
(64.6%), immediacy of information access (56.1%) and better internal 
communication (43.6%). Perceived external benefits included enhanced 
ability for external communication (73.5%), better customer service (70.2%), 
and enhanced opportunities for expanded/improved services (61.3%). High 

53 



Innovation, Technology and Municipal Governments 

performance computing does not automatically translate into improvement in 
organizational performance. While both public and private sector managers 
place a substantial reliance on technology there is a growing body of research 
suggesting that "technology alone is sufficient to the task" (Chisholm, 1988; 
Zuboff, 1985; Weik, 1987). The value-added worth of computer systems 
is based in part, on the processes used to introduce technology in the 
workplace. In the public sector, the value-added nature of technology, both 
in meeting increasing information demands, places a high premium on 
unparalleled information access (technology) and technology's appeal and 
potential power affecting both the individuals and organizations that use 
it (Kraemer and King, 1986). 

The attractiveness of technology in achieving greater outcomes of 
effectiveness and efficiency is offset by a number of organizational costs. The 
organizational price of technology reflects a number of interrelated issues 
including vendor dependency and effectiveness, cost issues (whether capital, 
production and/or human resource), workforce outcomes (productivity and 
performance) and employee attitudes towards technology and computerization. 
When asked to indicate the most likely areas considered to be problematic 
with the implementation of technology, respondents in the Maine municipal 
survey indicated that internal and external workforce factors and attitudinal 
issues were the most significant. The external workforce problems identified 
include; (1) the quality of vendor support during transition (70.0%); (2) 
the reliability of vendor training (67.8%); (3) the availability of resources 
for ongoing training/development of employees (67.1%), (4) the loss of 
employee productivity during training (62.0%), and (5) the cost of employee 
training (42.6%). These results echo Northrop et al.'s (1994) investigation 
of data from over three thousand municipal employees which found training 
to be an important and underutilized asset, and instrumental in overcoming 
limitations in both software and employee experience in computing. While 
new systems training is an important element in ensuring the success of new 
technology, of equal if not greater importance are the activities leading up 
to training (Caudron, 1998). Training and development efforts for public 
sector employees receive short shrift as many agencies have limited resources 
for training costs. Less than three percent of municipal and state budgets are 
allocated for the training and development of public employees. Often smaller 
statewide agencies, municipalities or limited size nonprofit organizations' 
lack of resources add to the constraints of providing in-house technological 
expertise. Overall, training and development is often intermittent, resulting 
in little formal planning to keep workers' knowledge on the cutting edge. 

54 



Dehlia Bradshaw Lynn 

The ability to provide ongoing training and development opportunities to 
develop a cadre of trained personnel often becomes a political decision as 
agencies compete for limited resources. Yet, everything suggests that a positive 
outcome of launching new technology in organizations is highly dependent 
on the training and career development of employees. 

The value of training, from the perspective of the survey respondents is 
tempered by externalities associated with vendor availability, support and 
reliability during the transition and training process. Given the importance 
of computer literacy and prior training to the success of technology adoption, 
the "short shelf life" of many computer and technology-consulting firms is a 
significant issue for municipal managers in the survey as there is no guarantee 
that even a well-known vendor won't vanish unexpectedly. 

As significant as vendor performance, the debate over the value of 
information technology investment has not gone unnoticed by public sector 
managers and local leaders. Municipal governments find themselves (as with 
other public sector organizations) increasing expected to "do more with less." 
Calculating the return in the public sector is difficult given the provision of 
public services (Kraemer and Dedrick, 1994). Just as a greater emphasis on 
workplace flexibility and team or project management is replacing traditional 
command structures in organizations, so too are productivity measures altered 
by technology. The speed of technology impacts workplace rhythm increasing 
in both load and rate of work. Employees find themselves under pressure 
with newly available technology to increase productivity at the same time 
they are learning new systems and software. The National Research Council's 
report, "Information Technology in the Service Society," recognizes that the 
public sector has not adopted information technology with uniform success 
(NRC, 2000). The report notes that most problems in achieving payoffs from 
investments in information technology have arisen from inadequate planning 
and implementation— including failures to provide adequate training for 
workers, to pay sufficient attention to customer/client needs, and to rethink 
how institutions should operate. 

Clearly, technological innovation changes the way work is completed, 
often forcing workers to reprioritize tasks, project deadlines and other 
schedules to handle the communications overload (Pitney Bowes Inc., 1998). 
The complexity of organizational adaptation to technology and information 
management systems is evident when technology is optimized without 
addressing other aspects of the organizational behavioral systems whether 
cultural, social or psychological. Employee's reasons for resisting technology 
are often based on their disconnection to the new initiatives, decreasing 

55 



Innovation, Technology and Municipal Governments 

self-confidence in their ability to learn new skills, assumptions of difficulty in 
adapting to new systems and fear of displacement. Decreases in productivity, 
employee turnover, low morale, turf battles or employee indecisiveness often 
characterizes employee resistance to the pace or degree of change. 

As indicated in the following summary findings, the municipal survey 
respondents see attitudinal issues as significant barriers to technology 
implementation. These obstacles included, (1) employee resistance to the 
computerization of tasks (71.2%); (2) under-utilization of software, new 
systems or computerized operations (69.2%); (3) decreased employee 
productivity due to resistance (66.2); and (4) managerial/supervisory 
resistance to technology (56.0%). 

Resistance can be based on employee limitations - barriers that represent 
their understanding of the new technologies, including concerns: workers age, 
culture, ways of working, social needs and educational levels. Additionally, 
there may be limitations embedded in the technology that even committed 
employees may be unable to resolve. Winslow and Bramer identify several 
types of resistance to technology launches in organizations including culture, 
age, socio-economic status, habit, education, and systems design familiarity. 
Each of these factors can provide insights into the ways in which systems 
design can address the needs of real workers rather than creating systems 
designed to address the needs of employee profiles. 

Public sector managers who traditionally based their role in the organization 
on pay grade and job classification see their status often disregarded in the 
pursuit of a solution. New information alliances within organizations are 
based less on organizational charts and more across organizational boundaries 
- following the information, rather than job function or title. Trying to 
avoid the discomfort of change provides for rear guard action and fights as 
individuals and organizations seek to avoid obsolescence (Synder, 1996). 
Resistance to technological innovation may be reflective of the way in which 
computing is viewed, traditionally as an electronic version of secretarial 
duties. The cultural context of employee's lives frames the way one is oriented 
towards work - and technology is a part of that framework. In many public 
sector organizations, where often seniority is linked to time in grade, older 
employers may feel a greater trepidation of technology. The unfamiliarity 
of new technology coupled with the projected fear of fatal errors, resulting 
in disciplinary action or even job loss encourages the long and safe route 
over one that is short and risk filled. The more risk adverse employees are 
the more unwilling they are to sacrifice the long and safe over short and risk 
filled. Numerous stories are evident of employees who seek to avoid new 

56 



Dehlia Bradshaw Lynn 

technologies in the workplace. Organizations install sophisticated scanning 
equipment only to discover employees downloading and printing out copies 
of materials, hidden in their desks or who duplicate electronic documentation 
systems, preferring paper trails to electronic files. Implementation problems 
also develop given the broad range of educational levels and skill levels of many 
workers, and the limited power of performance systems to overcome certain 
educational deficiencies. Lastly, systems design resistance is often a response 
of the designer's efforts to avoid centering on unique aspects of organizational 
and individual performance, assuming that one size fits all. 

Technology represents change. Resistance to technology is not only 
resistance to innovation but also apprehension, anticipation and acceptance 
of change. The nature of organizational transformation is linked to the ability 
of its members to transition not only systems associated with the production 
of work and communication but also their conceptualization of the nature of 
the work they perform. This involves both the learning of new technologies 
and the unlearning of outdated and outmoded skills. The resistance expressed 
by employees can be traced to two specific issues: technologies' effect on 
employment and the impact of computing on the quality of work life. 
Examples of employee resistance to technology are widespread, giving 
evidence to the reluctance of employees to support change. Staff's placing 
little trust in automated systems, maintaining old paper trails or even creating 
new, parallel manual systems expresses mistrust of technology. Poor "buy-in" 
occurred recently in a local health and human service agency implementing 
new technology to enable scanning of applications for certain assistance 
programs. The system was envisioned to enable case managers to input data 
directly into client files, providing for instantaneous updating of information. 
City caseworkers, fearful of loosing information, maintained the original 
paper forms in hidden file drawers. 

As organizations cope with employee acceptance of new technology, 
employees struggle with issues of job security. The replacement of people 
by machines, or job displacement based on office or process automation has 
been debated - are there more or less jobs after computing? While there is 
minimal evidence to suggest that displacement, or the reduction of employees 
based on automation of manual activities actually occurs, there is a strong 
sense among employees that the dark side of technology ultimately risks 
continued employment even with the benefits of possible job expansion or job 
creation. Computers can and do alter the nature of work life; by changing the 
nature of social interaction among employees and the nature of the job skills 
they possess and ultimately are awarded for performance. 

57 



Innovation, Technology and Municipal Governments 

New technologies often create uncertainty among employees who face the 
acquisition of new skills and increased comfort levels with overlapping work 
assignments, task responsibilities and duties associated with new professional 
roles. The ability to determine individual employee performance is altering, 
as new technologies in public sector organizations require re-examination 
of traditional civil service systems performance measures linked to specific 
tasks and outputs. Today, new technologies point to creating an environment 
where performance is linked to system functionality, point of delivery support 
systems and performance centered vision. Actual usability is at the center of 
the work performance debate: testing of new technology often occurs at the 
implementation rather than at the development stage placing employees at 
perceived risk. Funding limitations of government or other public sector 
technology projects places options such as usability labs or beta-testing 
new systems with actual users as unrealistic options for determining system 
acceptability. This lessens the organization's ability to keep employees 
informed about desirable features and ultimately how new systems will 
improve quality and ease of work performance (Caudron, 1997). There is 
often little thought to the nature of work change facing individual employees. 
Assumptions regarding the ability of all employees to learn technology at the 
same rate, failure to adjust individual workloads while employees learn new 
systems and believing that computers can solve core personnel issues including 
poor productivity or morale results in a mal-adaptation in the workplace 
leading "to increased mental workloads, distortion of time, loss of control, 
social isolation and employee disappointment" (Brod, 1994, p. 39). 

Conclusions 

This paper has examined technological innovation and the factors 
attributing to both success and obstacles to technology in municipal 
governments throughout the state of Maine. As the survey results indicate, 
computing in these public sector entities are embedded in key organizational 
processes. As more and more citizens expect higher levels of convenience 
and services from local government, communities are responding to these 
demands with electronic services. 

However, the impact of technology is not just in the electronic delivery of 
community services but also in the social and organizational designs within 
these organizations. The introduction of any technology into the workplace 
must be accompanied by sensitivity to its impact on the real human beings 
that use it (Winslow and Bramer, 1998). The redesign of both business 
processes and information flow ideally incorporates both the technical system 

58 






Dehlia Bradshaw Lynn 

design (process, workflow, and equipment) and the social system design (roles, 
structures, and relationships). Successful implementation is most likely when 
the people who do the work are involved in both the technical and social 
design aspects and where individual and structural changes are addressed. 
Additionally, value systems of those involved in organizational change 
are critical to building the support to sustain launching new technology. 
"Values, assumptions and beliefs cut two ways; they may offer access to new 
opportunities at the same time as they may constrain particular behaviors, 
organizational arrangements, and managerial styles" (Kolodny, Liu, Stymne 
and Denis, 1996). 

Public organizations will undoubtedly continue to face pressures to 
increase productivity, improve the delivery of services to clients and do so 
under increasing financial pressures to contain costs. Technology does 
offer a means to bring about enhancements in productivity and efficiency, 
however; the strict "technological fix" does present important limitations 
(Chisholm, 1988). Often the promise has been less than hoped for 
(Dixon et al., 1994; Champy, 1995). As survey results indicate, these 
local governments are encountering barriers such as staffing, employee 
opposition, resource limitations and the lack of technology expertise. 
The enthusiasm and excitement generated during the formative stages of 
technology implementation often becomes elusive as organizations struggle 
to accommodate new work patterns, training limitations, vendor dependence 
and employee resistance to change. As local governments experience 
increases in technology expenditures and technical staffing, and greater 
demands for sophisticated applications, creative alternatives may provide 
relief. Municipalities, particularly those with limited resources should seek 
opportunities for the development of collective strategies such as consortiums 
or the creation of special purpose districts providing greater economies of 
scale for pilot projects and beta testing of electronic service delivery strategies. 
Successful efforts in transportation, emergency services and procurement 
provide proven models for collective strategies among municipalities seeking 
to address technological innovation. 

Municipalities less committed to technology implementation, with 
lower levels of automation, relatively unsophisticated applications and 
the smallest potential for the routinization of computing experience the 
greatest stress and lower payoffs from computerization while institutions 
with a strong commitment to advanced technology, resources, staffing and 
utilization experience the least amount of stress associated with launching 
new technologies (Kraemer and King, 1986). Given the contingent and often 

59 



Innovation, Technology and Municipal Governments 

evolutionary nature of determining the successes of technology, outcomes 
associated with greater efficiency, effectiveness and responsiveness are molded 
not only by citizen responses, but also by the experiences of public managers 
and employees who implement it, their work settings and even the nature of 
individual work experiences as well. 

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Management Review Vol 2 No. 29 pp. 1 12-127. 

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Notes 

'The Maine Municipal Association is a nonprofit, non-partisan organization whose 
goal is to "provide a unified voice of Maine's municipalities to promote and strengthen 
local government" (MMA, 2001 http:www.memun.org). 

* The Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at USM offers graduate programs 
in Community Planning and Development, Health Policy and Management, and 
Public Policy and Management. 



63 



Utilizing Technology to Revitalize 
And Modernize Pi Gamma Mu 

Barry D. Friedman 
North Georgia College & State University 

Pi Gamma Mu is a social-science honor society struggling to maintain its 
supply of faculty volunteers at the chapter level. The author argues that 
Pi Gamma Mu needs to provide rewards to faculty volunteers in order 
to preserve the connections between the honor society and the faculty 
members. In today's academic world, such rewards need to be consistent 
with demands for faculty members to publish and to engage in innovative 
teaching methods. The author proposes that Pi Gamma Mu encourage 
the development of on-line social-science "learning communities," so that 
faculty members may draw their students into these modern instruments 
of instruction, obtain credit for involvement in this innovation, and have 
opportunities to produce scholarly articles relating to this breakthrough 
in the Scholarship of Teaching. 

Pi Gamma Mu is an honor society for the social sciences that was founded 
at Southwestern College in 1924. There are active chapters at 170 colleges 
and universities in the United States and at two universities in the Philippine 
Islands. Over 200,000 persons have been initiated (Johnston 1999, pp. 7, 9). 
Pi Gamma Mu's international constitution includes history, political science, 
sociology, anthropology, economics, international relations, criminal justice, 
social work, social psychology, social philosophy, history of education, and 
cultural geography in its definition of the social sciences. 

This article examines the forces that are challenging Pi Gamma Mu's ability 
to keep and attract faculty officers for its chapters. The article continues by 
evaluating the usefulness of Pi Gamma Mu to colleges and universities and to 
the social-science community. Finally, the author proposes uses of technology 
that may modernize the honor society and create a mutually beneficial 
relationship between itself and its faculty constituency. 

The Challenge of Keeping and Attracting Faculty Officers 

The aspiration of keeping existing Pi Gamma Mu chapters and of creating 
new chapters is threatened by a shortage of faculty members who are 
willing to hold the offices of secretary-treasurer and faculty advisor of such 

65 



Utilizing Technology to Revitalize and Modernize Pi Gamma Mu 

chapters. Pi Gamma Mu officials report that the variable that best explains 
or predicts the deactivation of a chapter is the resignation or retirement 
of the faculty sponsor: Obviously, this sponsor was the only or the "last" 
faculty member at that institution who was willing to invest his time and 
effort to maintaining the chapter. 

Faculty sponsors, most of the time, seem to find student members to be 
of limited assistance in administering a Pi Gamma Mu chapter. When honor 
students receive recognition from honor societies, they appear to be thinking, 
"Oh, so this is what you get when you get good grades" — as if that must be 
the way it ought to be. The students enjoy the attention; on the other hand, 
they don't feel an obligation to generate the recognition and the attention 
themselves. This leaves the administrative work to the faculty officers, who, 
after five, 10, or 20 years on the job, burn out. 

In searching for sources in the literature that might provide a theoretical 
framework for analyzing this problem, two collections of sources come to 
mind. One literary collection would consider faculty sponsors and potential 
faculty sponsors as employees who need to be compensated for doing the 
work associated with operating a Pi Gamma Mu chapter. Another literary 
collection would consider faculty sponsors and potential faculty sponsors 
as volunteers. The collection to be selected would depend on whether it is 
apparent that faculty sponsors are compensated for their efforts, or that their 
supervisors disregard their efforts on behalf of Pi Gamma Mu in determining 
how they are to be rewarded. 

If faculty sponsors are being rewarded as generously for their efforts 
on behalf of the Pi Gamma Mu chapter as they are for their other job 
responsibilities, then the question presumably becomes a behavioral one, 
given the freedom of choice that professors traditionally have in deciding for 
themselves how to allocate their time. Is it as enjoyable to be the faculty advisor 
of a Pi Gamma Mu chapter as it is to be a member of a university committee? 
Does a faculty member derive as much of a feeling of accomplishment by 
advising a Pi Gamma Mu chapter as she does by taking on the responsibility 
of organizing the university's commencement ceremony? 

If this is the approach to be used, then the recruitment of faculty members 
to serve as faculty officers of Pi Gamma Mu chapters must depend on 
persuasive arguments, such as: 

I "Is it fair to your best students to send them into competition in 
the work force without honor-society memberships, when their 
peers at other universities enter the competition with honor-society 
memberships?" 

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Barry D. Friedman 

■ "Is it healthy for your university to provide no (or few) recognition 
opportunities to your most capable students? Wouldn't this lack of 
recognition suppress the level of achievement of your most capable 
students — thus driving down the overall level of academic excellence 
among your student body?" 

These arguments work occasionally, because professors are notoriously 
concerned about the well being of students. Not much of the modern 
pressures for research or anything else seems to have tampered substantially 
with professors' commitment to students at most colleges and universities. 
Not much having to do with pay seems to have the potential to disrupt 
professors' commitment to students, either. To some extent, attracting faculty 
members to serve as chapter officers of an honor society can be anchored to 
the concept of doing the right thing for their students. As-yet-unaffiliated 
faculty members need to be informed about (or "sold" on) the idea that their 
best students are being under-served if their academic performance is not 
fairly and publicly recognized and rewarded. 

These would be the normal arguments to make in a simple, competitive 
environment, where comparable tasks compete for the favor of faculty 
members. And they may, in fact, have some persuasive value. In applying 
pay-as-motivation theories to professors, one must take into account that 
the training that professors undertook to qualify for their positions would 
ordinarily attract substantially more compensation, as it would if they went 
to work in industry. However, professors understand their careers to be a 
"calling" that is not based on the creation of tangible commodities in exchange 
for pay that reflects the value that they added to the goods produced. Rather, 
the professors seek the opportunity to enhance the lives of students; in this 
process, the professors have a substantial amount of discretion in how they 
will organize this process. In many or most cases, the professors also have a 
substantial amount of discretion in terms of what they will deliver (e.g., what 
they will teach, what topics to emphasize, what other topics to disregard, and 
how to evaluate student performance). "The professional job involves many 
choices of what to do as well as how to proceed. Generally, these must be made 
by the professional doing the work" (Sibson 1981, pp. 189-190). Bennett 
(1983, p. 45) comments, "Faculty members are notoriously individualistic. 
Each faculty member prefers to go his or her way — on course construction, 
text selection, student evaluation, and research projects. Each cites the 
demands of professional judgment in justification." Only on occasion will 
a department head feel the need to intervene, and this would involve his 
perception that departmental needs are not being fulfilled. "... [T]he 

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Utilizing Technology to Revitalize and Modernize Pi Gamma Mu 

chairperson needs to create a context and set of circumstances in which 
the faculty see their own individual goals as achieved through meeting the 
departmental goals" (Bennett 1983, pp. 103-104). 

On the other hand, there are conspicuous pressures on and signals sent to 
professors that, to a not-insignificant degree, circumscribe their freedom to 
manage their work lives as they please. For example, there is the process by 
which students evaluate their professors' performance in class. Frequently, 
these evaluations serve as inputs to the professors' annual-evaluation process, 
which may partly determine pay raises. As another example, there are 
expectations from colleagues as well as administrators that all faculty members 
will share in the necessary workload and in the creation of essential outputs. 
At many institutions, publishing research is included among these essential 
outputs; at research universities, this requirement is essentially inescapable. 
Expectations for service cause faculty members to be active on some number 
of committees. At the end of the day, only a few faculty members lament that 
they don't have enough productive activities in which to be involved. 

In summary, faculty members are subject to a mixed-motive system of 
motivations and interests. While pay raises may have some impact on 
behavior, nevertheless faculty members have already shown a willingness to 
sacrifice pay potential and thus are obviously motivated by other factors. 
Peer pressure arguably is even more significant than pay in affecting 
faculty behavior. 

It has become increasingly and painfully apparent to Pi Gamma Mu's 
international officers that service to Pi Gamma Mu is not competing on 
a level playing field with other options available to professors. The most 
conspicuous pressure on professors is the demand that they engage in research 
that results in presentations of papers at academic conferences and, better yet, 
in publications that they generate, such as scholarly books and journal articles. 
While a department head is apt to provide an indication of appreciation to a 
professor who advises the Pi Gamma Mu chapter, she will probably express 
considerably more approval to that professor — or some other professor — who 
publishes an article in the Journal of Applied Psychology. At a research 
university, it is entirely possible that a department head will admonish a faculty 
member to "stop wasting your time" with honor societies and concentrate on 
publications. For an as-yet-untenured professor, that instruction may come 
with the trump card, "or else," at the end. 

I honestly doubt that there is anything that Pi Gamma Mu can do to 
overcome the "publish-or-else" atmosphere of many research universities. 



68 



Barry D. Friedman 

In any event, there are more teaching colleges and hybrid research/ teaching 
institutions than there are full-fledged research universities. Later in this 
paper, I will argue that Pi Gamma Mu can incorporate in its range of 
activities scholarly opportunities that may help to satisfy the job requirements 
of faculty members at the hybrid research/teaching universities and the 
teaching colleges and, thus, to make involvement in Pi Gamma Mu more 
"productive" for the professor while it generates benefits for honor students 
in the social sciences. 

If this analysis proceeds, instead, on the assumption that faculty sponsors 
act as volunteers — i.e., they do not expect to be rewarded for their efforts with 
money — there is still a need to cause the activity to be rewarding from the 
faculty members' perspective. As Ilsley (1990, p. 8) explains: 

[Because volunteers' motives are not solely or even mostly 
altruistic, vjolunteerism . . . can exist without altruism. Purely 
altruistic individuals, if they did exist, might present a problem 
for volunteer group managers, because their motivation would 
not be susceptible to organizational control. Rather than 
pretending that volunteers do not seek rewards, the wise manager 
will concentrate on learning just what rewards they do seek. 
This theoretical framework would require Pi Gamma Mu to understand 
that faculty sponsors need reinforcement. If institutions are not rewarding 
faculty sponsors with money, then Pi Gamma Mu itself must provide rewards 
to preserve its relationship with its faculty constituency. 

The Usefulness of Pi Gamma Mu 

If Pi Gamma Mu does not deliver benefits to colleges and universities, their 
faculties, and their students, further analysis of this problem would be of little 
value. Indeed, the international officers of Pi Gamma Mu sometimes hear 
arguments that this is the case. For example, one expression of skepticism says 
that the existence of discipline-specific honor societies — such as Alpha Kappa 
Delta (sociology), Phi Alpha Theta (history), and Pi Sigma Alpha (political 
science) — obviates the need for an interdisciplinary honor society for social 
science. If a student is being initiated into Psi Chi (psychology), the argument 
goes, then initiation into Pi Gamma Mu, too, is superfluous. 

To each his own, of course, but this author's observations and experiences 
convince him that this argument is not only faulty but, furthermore, 
carries a now-obsolete preference for discipline-specific study rather than 
interdisciplinary learning and experience. The traditional curriculum, 
wherein a student takes a few courses in English literature, a few courses in 

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Utilizing Technology to Revitalize and Modernize Pi Gamma Mu 

mathematics, a few courses in science, and one course after another in her 
major, is coming under withering attack. Here is one such challenge: 
Large, impersonal, bureaucratic, and fragmented, the 
American college is often an educational community only in 
theory. A variety of factors make the notion of meaningful 
educational community — the root of the word "college" — elusive 
in many of our institutions. . . . [In t]he idealized version 
of the campus of the past, . . . students and faculty shared 
a close and sustained fellowship, where day-to-day contacts 
reinforced previous classroom learning, . . . the curriculum 
was organized around common purposes, and the small scale 
of the institution promoted active learning, discussion, and 
individuality. . . . 

Many institutions today have little in common with the 

campus of the past. With huge enrollments, diverse students 

and faculty, competing missions, an increasing number of 

part-time faculty and students, and enormous specialization 

and fragmentation in the curriculum, many institutions are not 

experienced by students or faculty as an educational community 

at all. In many places, the institution can no longer even begin 

to assume responsibility for creating community (Gabelnick 

etal., 1990, pp. 9-10). 

Interdisciplinary learning, as in the form of "learning communities," and 

curricula that focus on outcomes rather than the completion of prescribed 

courses are touted now as the far more productive mode of educating students 

for their benefit rather than educating them in order to gratify professors 

who find personal comfort in isolating themselves and their students from 

other disciplines. 1 As Swiss (1991, pp. 139-140) would put it, learning 

communities are more apt to focus on the outputs (also known as outcomes) 

of the university's effort rather than inputs or processes (also known as 

throughputs); the emphasis on outcomes is more likely to produce valuable 

results. In this context, Pi Gamma Mu has placed itself (or, less charitably, 

one might say, "has luckily stumbled") into a most propitious niche: an arena 

for interdisciplinary interaction and learning. 

The other part of my argument against the preference for separating the 
disciplines is based on my experience with the model of cooperation among 
honor societies. At North Georgia College & State University (NGCSU), 
there are 16 honor societies affiliated with the Council of Honor Societies. 2 
Most of the honor societies find themselves thriving with the cooperation. 

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Barry D. Friedman 

The number of annual initiation banquets that are necessary has been slashed 
because of the council's Honor Societies' Initiation Banquet, which tends 
to reduce the workload of honor-society advisors by virtue of reducing 
the number of banquets that they must organize. Other cooperative 
efforts have strengthened the discipline-specific honor societies. Here 
is a case in point: 

NGCSU's Phi Alpha Theta chapter has always been an 
enthusiastic affiliate of the university's Council of Honor 
Societies and a good partner with the Pi Gamma Mu chapter. 
In the spring of 200 1 , that Phi Alpha Theta chapter found yet 
a new reason to appreciate its connection with Pi Gamma Mu 
and its affiliation with the council. The members of Phi Alpha 
Theta were working on a project to raise money to help build 
the World War II memorial site in Washington, D. C. Their 
goal was $1000, at which level the chapter would be recognized 
in the commemorative book that will be distributed when the 
memorial is dedicated. After months of exhausting fund raising, 
they had accumulated $625, and Dr. Georgia A. Mann, their 
faculty advisor, pleaded with them to concede the $1000 goal, 
which seemed beyond reach, and to comfort themselves that 
they had raised a substantial amount of money nonetheless. Dr. 
Mann asked me for a check in the amount of $625 (as executive 
director of the Council of Honor Societies, I hold funds for about 
seven of the affiliated honor societies in a checking account), and 
told me about the disappointment of the members. I suggested 
to her that she remember the purpose of the council, and ask 
for support from the other social-science honor societies. Pi 
Gamma Mu donated $150, the new chapter of Alpha Kappa 
Delta (sociology) donated $75, Alpha Phi Sigma (criminal 
justice) donated $75, and Pi Sigma Alpha (political science) 
donated $75 — for a grand total of $1000! The members of Phi 
Alpha Theta were ecstatic — even if they had to share some of the 
credit! — and exulted about it publicly during their part of the 
program of the Honor Societies' Initiation Banquet. 
This author argues vehemently that interdisciplinary honor societies and 
cooperation among honor societies are preferable forms of organization, 
compared to reliance on discipline-specific honor societies that must 
be self-reliant. Furthermore, the discipline-specific honor societies are 
arguably less capable of providing interdisciplinary-learning opportunities 

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Utilizing Technology to Revitalize and Modernize Pi Gamma Mu 

than an interdisciplinary honor society like Pi Gamma Mu has the ability 
to promote. 

Securing Pi Gamma Mu's Advantages 
Through the Use of Technology 

One of the modern emphases in higher education involves the creation of 
"learning communities" of scholars on one or more university campuses. In 
the definition of Gabelnick et al. (1990, p. 5): 

Learning communities . . . purposefully restructure the 
curriculum to link together courses or course work so that 
students find greater coherence in what they are learning as 
well as increased intellectual interaction with faculty and fellow 
students. . . . [L] earning communities are also usually associated 
with collaborative and active approaches to learning, some form 
of team teaching, and interdisciplinary themes. 
Because these learning communities tend to be interdisciplinary, 
participants with a diversity of academic backgrounds can trade ideas and 
compare a variety of critical-thinking approaches to problem solving. 

Palloff and Pratt describe on-line learning communities — i.e., learning 
communities in which the interaction takes place aboard the Internet. In 
some of these learning communities, interaction is "synchronous" — i.e., 
the participants log in to the Web site at a prearranged time and discuss 
course content simultaneously. In most learning communities, interaction is 
"asynchronous" — i.e., the participants log in to the Web site at any time of 
the day, subject only to an eventual deadline, and post messages on a bulletin 
board- type of instrument for discussion (1999, p. 4). 

The office of the chancellor of the University System of Georgia has 
devoted a great deal of resources to encourage the development of learning 
communities. In response to this emphasis, this author was a founding 
member of one of the first such learning communities at North Georgia 
College & State University. During the fall semester of 2000, two nursing 
professors and I brought our students into a learning community on the 
topic of "Health Care, Public Policy, and Ethics." My students were enrolled 
in an M.P.A. course in public policy analysis. The nursing students included 
those pursuing an associate's degree in nursing (Prof. Barbara Ann Tronsgard's 
students) and those pursuing a master's degree in nursing (Dr. Toni O. 
Barnett's students). We used WebCT on-line course software. The three 
courses otherwise took the same form that they would ordinarily have, but 
we added the learning-community component. This component operated 

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Barry D. Friedman 

in two phases. During the first phase, I wrote and posted an essay entitled 
"Plagiarism." 3 During a two-week period, each student was required to read 
my essay and then to post a comment reacting to the essay. In the one-week 
period that immediately followed, each student was required to post a 
reply to the comment of a student in a different class. During the second 
phase, I wrote and posted an essay entitled, "Policy and Economics of the 
Health-Care System." The students were required to repeat the same process 
of posting comments and replying to each other. The three participating 
professors were delighted with the interaction among the nursing and 
political science students. 

During the spring semester of 200 1 , the three professors agreed to bring 
their students into another learning community, but this time we brought 
two more professors and their students into the community. Both of them are 
members of Pi Gamma Mu, as I am, so that we now had three social-science 
professors along with the two nursing professors. This author was teaching 
an undergraduate/graduate course about the U. S. presidency. Dr. Thomas 
W. De Berry was teaching an undergraduate course in microeconomics. 
Dr. Rufus Larkin was teaching a graduate course in community counseling. 
The theme of this learning community was "Public-Policy Formulation 
of U. S. Government-Provided Health-Insurance Programs in the New 
Administration." The first essay, co-authored by Barnett and me, was entitled 
"Government-Provided Prescription-Drug Coverage." The second essay, 
co-authored by Tronsgard and me, was entitled "What Should the Bush 
Administration Do About Prescription-Drug Coverage? What Will It Do?" 
The interaction among the five groups of students was even more animated 
than that involving the fall-semester group. The interaction was reminiscent 
of the way in which college students interacted in a previous era; Gabelnick et 
al. (1990, p. 10) contrast college life of yesterday and today: 

As the number of full-time and residential students declines, 
community-creating activities such as late-night dorm sessions, 
hours spent lingering in a favorite coffee shop, or study break 
arguments in a library lounge also decline. For many students, 
the time and spaces for trying out new ideas in the company 
of peers no longer exists. The college experience is sandwiched 
between work and family, and the set of classes taken during 
any given term constitutes the only sustained contact students 
have with their colleges. In this environment, the curriculum 
must now assume responsibilities for building community formerly 



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Utilizing Technology to Revitalize and Modernize Pi Gamma Mu 

assumed by the college as a whole (emphasis is preserved from 
the original). 

During the vacation between the fall semester of 2000 and the spring 
semester of 2001 , the two students who serve on Pi Gamma Mu's international 
board of trustees — Lisa Contreras and Nilda Pyronneau — initiated their 
own version of the learning community. They sent an E-mail message to 
numerous chapter advisors, and invited them to share opinions about the 
continuing mystery surrounding whether Vice President Al Gore or Texas 
Governor George W. Bush had won the 2000 presidential election. To the 
delight of Contreras and Pyronneau, a spirited discussion arose. A pattern 
was emerging: Pi Gamma Mu members in various departments at NGCSU, 
and Pi Gamma Mu members on a variety of campuses, were engaging in 
discussions about issues of social science! This was an innovation that 
Contreras, De Berry, Larkin, Pyronneau, and I do not want to be abandoned. 
We consider it very desirable (and, I will soon argue, it is essential) that these 
inter-institutional and interdepartmental initiatives continue. 

Feedback from the students showed more enthusiasm than skepticism 
relative to the learning-community activity. For the professors — besides the 
satisfaction that we derived from watching our students learn with and from 
each other — the opportunities for scholarship, professional development, and 
service became apparent. One of the participating faculty members presented 
a paper co-authored by three of the faculty members (Barnett et al. 2001) at 
a professional conference. Three of the faculty members made a presentation 
at an assembly of the NGCSU faculty. Dr. Judy S. O'Neal, chairperson of 
the university's Curriculum and Technology Committee, praised the work of 
the faculty members as being groundbreaking. 

Pi Gamma Mu has an opportunity to foster the development of these 
learning communities on individual campuses through its chapters, and then 
to interconnect chapters and campuses through inter-institutional learning 
communities. The honor society can and must, for the sake of its growth if 
not its very survival, lead this activity. By doing so, it has the potential to 
establish itself as a force that strengthens its faculty constituents rather than 
burdening them. It has the potential to establish itself as a trailblazing force 
in promoting scholarship in social science, rather than an entity that has 
a parasitic effect on university social-science divisions. In the language of 
marketing (see e.g., Kotler and Andreasen, 1996, pp. 40-41), Pi Gamma 
Mu has an opportunity to deliver what its target market eagerly wants rather 
than to plead with its target market to accept what it wants to provide. The 
potential energy can transform Pi Gamma Mu into an envied position of 

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Barry D. Friedman 

leadership. What every learning community needs is "stable leadership and an 

administrative home." As Gabelnick et al. (1990, p. 41) state: 

If an administrator acts as the coordinator of the project and 
assumes responsibilities for logistics, the faculty can concentrate 
on curriculum development, instruction, and evaluation. Faculty 
are usually grateful for the assistance, but the downside of this 
largess is that the faculty may never develop the administrative 
savvy to manage the learning community. Still, an administra- 
tive point person who models a collaborative management 
style, alerts faculty to curricular quagmires, and smoothes 
administrative/staff networks is an invaluable resource. Obviously 
the best arrangement is a partnership of administrators and 
faculty who meet regularly to consider important learning 
community issues. 
Pi Gamma Mu has the opportunity to occupy this position as the 

administrative home — the anchor — for innovative inter-institutional learning 

communities. This opportunity should not be lost. 

Notes 

1. Swiss (1991, p. 90) refers to "goal displacement," an approach to organizing 
work such that "an organization or its members begin to pursue goals other than the 
proper' organizational ones. . . . [T]he organization is being run as if the goal were 
the comfort of the employees rather than the benefit of the public." 

2. Information about the council may be accessed at this URL address: 
http://l68.30.200.21/-CHonorSo/index.htm . This site links to the Web sites of Pi 
Gamma Mu and numerous other honor societies. 

3. This article may be accessed at this URL address: http://www.NGCSU.edu/ 
academic/Bus_Gov/Ps_cj/bfriedman/plgrm.htm . 

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Barnett, Toni O.; Friedman, Barry D.; and Tronsgard, Barbara Ann (2001). "Creat- 
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Bennett, John B. (1983). Managing the Academic Department: Cases and Notes. 
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Gabelnick, Faith; MacGregor, Jean; Matthews, Roberta S.; and Smith, Barbara 
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Utilizing Technology to Revitalize and Modernize Pi Gamma Mu 

Ilsley, Paul J. (1990). Enhancing the Volunteer Experience: New Insights on 

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Johnston, Scott D. (1999). Pi Gamma Mu International Honor Society in Social 
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Palloff, Rena M., and Pratt, Keith (1999). Building Learning Communities in Cyber- 
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Sibson, Ronald E. (1981). Compensation. Rev. ed. New York: AMACOM. 

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ISBN: 1-883199-14-X