American Journal of Information Systems
ISSN (Print): 2374-1953 ISSN (Online): 2374-1988 Website: Editor-in-chief: Sergii Kavun
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American Journal of Information Systems. 2016, 4(2), 32-44
DOI: 10.12691/ajis-4-2-2
Open AccessArticle

An Institutional Perspective to Understand FOSS Adoption in Public Sectors: Case Studies in Ethiopia and India

Selamawit Molla Mekonnen1, and Zegaye Seifu Wubishet1

1Department of Informatics, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Pub. Date: May 05, 2016

Cite this paper:
Selamawit Molla Mekonnen and Zegaye Seifu Wubishet. An Institutional Perspective to Understand FOSS Adoption in Public Sectors: Case Studies in Ethiopia and India. American Journal of Information Systems. 2016; 4(2):32-44. doi: 10.12691/ajis-4-2-2


This paper is aimed at understanding institutional influences on Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) adoption in public sectors. It explores strategies, policies, and technical infrastructure so as to harness FOSS as an alternative technical solution in organizations such as the health sector. The study was conducted in India/Kerala and Ethiopia following interpretive qualitative research tradition. Data was collected at micro and macro level. While the micro level explored the acceptance of specific FOSS in Kerala and rejection in Ethiopia, the macro level studied how institutions outside the health sector were drawn upon to legitimize decisions. Data collection was conducted while at the same time analyzing and refining the data to find common themes for both settings. Subsequently, the themes were categorized interpretively into regulative, normative and cultural-cognitive institutions as provided by Scott (2001). The result shows regulative and normative institutions influence FOSS adoption in public sectors positively and that integrating FOSS with the proprietary dominated public sector of developing countries should begin by cultivating the normative institutional aspect. The normative aspect focuses on issues related to FOSS education and professional associations. Moreover, the study shows, technology by itself can facilitate its own adoption once it has gained large installed base; expanding the institutional framework to include a technological element. Practically, the study contributes to our understanding of the field level challenges in realizing the potential of FOSS for the benefits of public sector organizations in general and health sectors in particular in developing countries.

FOSS institutional theory Health Information Systems public sector institutional pillars

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