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Government Professor Connects Information Technology and Public Administration

  • November 10, 2015
In Department of Government Professor Dr. Akhlaque Haque's new book “Surveillance, Transparency, & Democracy: Public Administration in the Information Age,” he explores how information technology can influence decision making by public policy leaders.
Dr. Akhlaque Haque, Professor of Government and Director of the Master of Public Administration Graduate Program, has a new book entitled “Surveillance, Transparency, & Democracy: Public Administration in the Information Age.” In it, he explores how information technology can influence decision making by public policy leaders.

Surveillance Transparency & DemocracyDr. Akhlaque HaqueDr. Haque explains that there are two purposes for information gathering: to learn how to do things, and to know why to do things. A wealth of information is available to those looking to become an expert in a given field. But what’s missing is the why.

According to Dr. Haque, decisions aren’t being powered by the “‘why”’ because we’re more interested in the tangible information we need to achieve a certain task. “Technology influences information gathering to the point where we become cogs, machines powered by how to achieve the best grades, how to complete the project, and how to best fix a problem. What we’re missing is the why, the passion for how we do things,” he explains. With an unlimited technology readily available, Haque argues that public leaders should use information to deepen their understanding of human behavior and help them be better public servants.

“We put faith in technology because it gives us such perfect answers, but we find ourselves in a trap,” Haque says. “We become dependent on information from others rather than creating our own.” Such dependency limits our ability to expand our understanding of the larger issues at work. “What I’m asking is for leaders to utilize technology to understand citizens and their values, rather than just looking at numbers,” Haque says.” If we can do that, we can really get somewhere.”

For more information on the book, see the UA Press page for “Surveillance, Transparency, & Democracy: Public Administration in the Information Age.”

To learn more about the Department of Government, see the department's website.
Raizel Coiman is a 2015-2016 UAB Digital Media fellow and a marketing student with a concentration in social media.