Panel Paper: Designing Web-Based Systems for Quasi-Governmental Organizations: Examining the Information Characteristics and Socio-Technical Factors of a Guardian Ad Litem Program

Saturday, November 9, 2013 : 3:50 PM
Thomas Salon (Washington Marriott)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Charles Hinnant, Jisue Lee and Lorri Mon, Florida State University
As government budgets are reduced in times of economic austerity, public programs are forced to rely more on hybrid, or quasi-governmental, organizations that employ a broad array of stakeholders and operational mechanisms to carry out key activities.  In their execution of core program tasks, such organizations often rely on highly varied groups of stakeholders such as professional staff, voluntary labor, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies.  Likewise, they often rely on information and communication technologies (ICT) to improve operational efficiencies and effectiveness by improving information sharing and coordination with their stakeholders. This heightened dependence on ICT to facilitate information sharing and coordination activities with stakeholders brings a need for better systems that are designed to match stakeholder expectations and capabilities.  In recent years, the necessity for better ICT systems has led to a growth in so-called human-centered design that is predicated on matching information and technological design with stakeholder needs and abilities.   This paper seeks to highlight and discuss human-centered design characteristics as they pertain to one quasi-governmental social service organization, Florida Guardian ad Litem which provides court-appointed advocates for approximately 27,000 children each year.  Survey data collected from key organizational stakeholders is analyzed in order to investigate relationships between information characteristics, perceptions of online technology, and user characteristics.  Findings show the importance of tailoring an organization’s online ICT systems to the stakeholders that are relied upon to carry out core organizational tasks. The paper then uses the findings to illuminate more successful ICT design practices for such organizations.