The tool that has to build itself: The case of Dutch geo-data

Publication Type:

Book Chapter


Volume 7443 LNCS, p.137–148 (2012)




Standardisation is one of tools of Electronic Government (EGov). It refers to the development where individuals and organizations develop and/or adhere to standard IT solutions and associated work processes. Studies on standardization in information technology (IT) emphasize either only the technical side of standard construction (the 'what' and 'how'), or the socio-organizational side of the contextual processes in which standards emerge (the 'who' and 'when'). Our article has an alternative, socio-technical, approach, which emphasizes 'where' standards crystallize. Our empirical field to find where crystallization occurs concerns the geoIT sector. Through a qualitative approach, the data show that standard crystallization occurs at the hubs of inter-organizational relations, rather than at the top or the bottom of formal organizations. This claim is important because it contradicts the common strategy of standardization, which is largely centralized. Even though government has centralized the creation and distribution of geoIT standards, their actual creation and crystallization occurs at a more decentralized level: across municipalities. The conclusion is that bringing the standardization discussion to a point of where standardization actually happens, provides a better understanding of the socio-technical dynamic of governance of inter-organizational IT. © 2012 IFIP International Federation for Information Processing.