Chapter 5 Leadership and Management
112
Y2K and Planning
Year 2000 (Y2K) is a good example of IT planning working effectively, showing the
importance of effective leadership and management. There was a goal to prevent a
problem of the switch-over of dates for the new millennium and a solution was to
fix the dated information systems that experienced these problems. Given that there
were few incidents after the year 2000 began, one can say that this is an example
of the success of IT planning in public organizations. The Y2K problem provided
a lens to examine how governments plan for IT (Ho and Smith, 2001). The Y2K
problem was when computer systems that used two digits to represent the year might
interpret 2000 as 1900 and as a result shut down or make errors in their calcula-
tions. A survey of local governments in Iowa indicated the importance of senior man-
agement attitudes toward IT had a large impact on planning. The more concerned
senior management was about Y2K, the more likely they were to participate in plan-
ning.Essentially,apositiveattitudetowardITplanningmeansitwouldbeviewed
as not merely a technical issue, but something critical for organizational success.
If leaders embrace the strategic importance of IT in their public organization, this
will most likely impact change. The literature argues that leadership is essential for
the successful development of IT in public administration, as was evident for Y2K
planning.
Summary
This chapter examined the role of leadership and management on IT and public
administration. One of the most important differences leaders and managers face
in government is the goal ambiguity of their organization. Unlike the private sector,
where the goals of the organization are stable and known, the public sector faces
ambiguity in their goals. This translates into uncertainty in their mission, which
makes it more difficult for managers to effectively incorporate change in IT and
public administration. Leadership is critically important for the development and
advancement of IT in public sector organizations. It is important for public leaders
to incorporate IT into the mission and strategic direction for the organization. The
literature on the adoption of IT argues that top management support is critical for
its development. Public managers must be trained in the latest technology and the
importance of systems to change their organization. Federal government CIOs have
to balance many competing issues in their departments or agencies, with information
security demonstrated as one of the most important issues. Federal CIOs tend to be
baby boomers, be male, to have many years of experience in the federal govern-
ment, and be well educated. Several important federal laws have impacted IT and
public administration; some of the most notable are the Paperwork Reduction Act,
theClingerCohenAct,andthe E-government Act.Allthreepiecesoflegislation
have influenced performance and management of federal departments and agencies.
84607_CH05_FINAL.indd 112 7/27/11 4:46 PM

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