Causal mechanisms and institutionalisation of open government data in Kenya

Paper by Paul W. Mungai: “Open data—including open government data (OGD)—has become a topic of prominence during the last decade. However, most governments have not realised the desired value streams or outcomes from OGD. The Kenya Open Data Initiative (KODI), a Government of Kenya initiative, is no exception with some moments of success but also sustainability struggles. Therefore, the focus for this paper is to understand the causal mechanisms that either enable or constrain institutionalisation of OGD initiatives. Critical realism is ideally suited as a paradigm to identify such mechanisms, but guides to its operationalisation are few. This study uses the operational approach of Bygstad, Munkvold & Volkoff’s six‐step framework, a hybrid approach that melds concepts from existing critical realism models with the idea of affordances. The findings suggest that data demand and supply mechanisms are critical in institutionalising KODI and that, underpinning basic data‐related affordances, are mechanisms engaging with institutional capacity, formal policy, and political support. It is the absence of such elements in the Kenya case which explains why it has experienced significant delays…(More)”.