Purpose: This paper aims to examine the role of information and communication technologies (ICT) on moral agents, and in turn, governance structures in western societies. Design/methodology/approach: This conceptual paper takes a holistic approach to governance and recasts popular notions of e-governance by answering fundamental questions about the potential roles of governance in individuals, communities, organizations, governments and society. Findings: The authors argue that it is only when the context of the moral agent is fully understood that it is possible to begin to unravel whether ICT is likely to have beneficial or detrimental effects on fundamental governance goals. Research limitations/implications: Future research into e-governance topics would be well served by discussing the governance goal that ICT is designed to improve or enhance. Whether ICT can make aspects of e-government quicker and faster is not in dispute; however, whether ICT will actually achieve deeper governance goals requires reframing research questions. Social implications: When viewed as moral agents, individuals, communities, organizations, governments and societies can use governance goals to enhance both self-actualization and social order in line with community values. Originality/value: By recasting the question "What can ICT contribute to governance and government?" to "How will ICT affect governance?", we move away from the presumption of a positive influence, and suggest that contributions to governance goals should guide our discussions surrounding ICT utility.

Additional Metadata
Keywords Communication technologies, Governance, Government, Moral responsibility, Society, Values
Persistent URL dx.doi.org/10.1108/14720701211275541
Journal Corporate Governance (Bradford)
McIntyre, M, & Murphy, S.A. (Steven A.). (2012). The role of information and communication technologies on moral agents and governance in society. Corporate Governance (Bradford), 12(5), 616–628. doi:10.1108/14720701211275541