Monday, October 25th, 2010
A new technology policy book may have exposed faults in government
technology decision-making which have caused billions to be spent on failed
programmes. Taxpayer money could be better spent with more systematic
decision-making approach says book.

This year's online episode of "SPACEPOL Books This Autumn" has already
sparked a frenzy among those in the know. The author of the featured book
Gunnar K. A. Njalsson  is likely to be as impopular in the next few months
as Fortune journalist Bethany McLean when she asked exactly how Enron was
making its money. The featured book which was commenced already in 2002 is
pointing out its discovery that billions of taxpayer dollars have during
the past years been spent, almost without review, on information technology
programmes. Governments are being lobbied and have little idea of who is
doing the lobbying. They have no systematic tool for weeding out technology
hype and marketing from the facts they really need when making decisions
about public technology spending, according to the informational video put
out by SPACEPOL Academic Publishers this summer.

The textbook Techological Revolution as Political Coup D'etat: Developing
an Objective and Systematic Science of Public Technology Policy Analysis
seeks to do exactly as its title indicates- to give researchers and
government administrators a way of even attempting to judge the value of
e-government and other new information technology projects that they are
being asked to pump taxpayer money into. It may also provide them with more
ways to judge who is in fact dictating where the money goes and how it is

Finland, Sweden and Canada are taken as case studies by the author Gunnar
K. A. Njalsson, an expert in national innovation and technology policy who
also specializes in the subject of International Space Law. Fluent in
various languages including Finnish, Swedish, English, Norwegian, Danish
and Spanish textbook author Njalsson has gained access to documents and
international scholarship hidden from most academics by the language
barrier. Njalsson who is an active member of the IEEE also has a
multidisciplinary background in Technology, Economics and Public
Administration which seems to influence the text and vantage point
rendering the book much more systematic, critical and lucid than is the
case with many other textbooks covering the subject matter.

The textbook, which is officially due out in December 2010 after several
delays for last-minute updates and revisions, is logically structured to
present a complete model for technology policy analysis. A model referred
to by the author as the Integrated Model for Public Technology Policy
Analysis is gradually assembled chapter by chapter in the book.

Each chapter deals thoroughly with a particular segment of the model and
ties it to empirical data and previous research carried out by the author
himself and by other policy analysts. In the final chapters specific
methodologies are suggested as appropriate to be used in association with
the previously covered segments of the Integrated Model. Empirical examples
from Finland, Canada and Sweden are briefly examined using the model and

"This textbook is the culmination of numerous scientific articles,
empirical studies, interviews and a critical examination of the jungle of
theories and abstract models which came before" says Njalsson. "Policy
analysts, government, managers as well as university and college
instructors may have an easier time dealing with the subject manner now
that this book has at least in part systematized all of this information
and tried to present it critically and cogently for decision-makers" he

The textbook focuses on technology policy in countries such as Canada,
Finland and Sweden in part because they are OECD countries and considered
to be leaders in e-government. However, the author points out disparities
between Canada and the other two countries, including the seeming paradox
of Canada's low R&D investment and first place position as an effective
e-government country. The textbook isolates one of the success drivers as
being the local administrative culture with good coordination amongst
different agencies and the country's technology policy process which is
more open for influence by all stakeholders.

This in turn may explain why less investment per capita has not affected
Canada's status as the number one country for e-government in comparison
with Finland and Sweden- Nordic countries which are increasingly slipping
behind due to national stagnation as well as poor communication, cultural
insularism and resistance to wide participation or new impulses in their
systems of public administration.

"E-government or various information technology projects are not an end in
and of themselves; they are considered in most cases to be a tool for doing
what the government already does, but more efficiently and closer to
stakeholders" Njalsson points out. "If an organization is dysfunctional and
agencies cannot manage to work together and communicate effectively, then
national information technology projects are ultimately nothing more than a
sophisticated way of pouring taxpayer money into a black hole" Njalsson
warns. He points to previous information technology projects such as the
electronic identity card or FINEID in Finland and the IT Fornebu project in
Norway as examples of how the poor culture of communication between
agencies and with stakeholders has rendered potentially beneficial public
technology projects almost worthless and very costly for taxpayers.

The textbook Techological Revolution as Political Coup D'etat: Developing
an Objective and Systematic Science of Public Technology Policy Analysis
can be pre-ordered from Ingram Books by universities, libraries,
wholesalers and government agencies. Detailed information about this
upcoming textbook title is available from Library and Archives Canada.


Where to Order:

Link to official library info:

Link to author's ResearcherID:


File Library

Contact Profile

SPACEPOL Academic Publishers

The SPACEPOL Corporation is a Canadian-controlled and privately held corporation with two major business activities- academic publishing and government policy consulting.

SPACEPOL Academic Publishers is a Canadian-owned publisher specialising in the fields of Space Law, Public Administration, Government Online, Academic Entrepreneurship and High-knowledge Product Development. The company produces literature for the government, library, university and third sector markets. The academic literature produced is subject to stringent peer-review in addition to editorial review. The company was originally established in Finland in 1998 as a network for experts in the fields of Space Law and Public Administration. It became a commercial spin-off enterprise in 2005.
H. Anas
P: +1 514 313 5501


it, spacepol, government, technology, spending, taxes, budgets, innovation, policy, njalsson, enron, mclean, fortune, australia, canada, sweden, finland, scandal, economics, ap, upi, bbc, cbc



More Formats

View QR Code