Original Research

Structuration theory perspective of Big Data in a typical South African municipality

Modjadji P. Kgoale, Mampilo Phahlane
South African Journal of Information Management | Vol 26, No 1 | a1780 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajim.v26i1.1780 | © 2024 Modjadji P. Kgoale, Mampilo Phahlane | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 October 2023 | Published: 22 May 2024

About the author(s)

Modjadji P. Kgoale, Department of Information Systems, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Mampilo Phahlane, Department of Information Systems, College of Science, Engineering and Technology, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


Background: Big Data, sourced from various digital sources, offers valuable insights for better decision-making, and organisations are implementing Big Data technologies to improve their services. This article is about how the City of Tshwane (CoT), a South African metropolitan municipality is using data collected from its various information and communication technology (ICT) projects to improve decision-making.

Objectives: The study aims to identify the type of Big Data generated by South African municipalities and to establish ways in which knowledge, expertise and suitable management techniques impact the efficient application of Big Data in these municipalities.

Method: A qualitative approach, a case study method and Semi-structured interviews were deemed fit to collect data while thematic analysis was employed to identify patterns and themes associated with participants’ experiences. Structuration Theory was used to analyse existing social structures that govern how Big Data is used in the CoT.

Results: There is a lack of data integration and a Big Data management system in the CoT. However, the CoT is ready to embrace Big Data and it is currently establishing a unit to effectively analyse collected data.

Conclusion: Big Data’s potential for developing effective data management systems has garnered significant attention in the public sector and the CoT is also ready to fully adopt and implement these technologies.

Contribution: South African municipalities can effectively utilise Big data by establishing skilled staff, good infrastructure and suitable policies for efficient data generation and interpretation.



Big Data; South African municipalities; CoT municipality; structuration theory; Decision making

JEL Codes

D78: Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation

Sustainable Development Goal

Goal 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure


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