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Narrating an organisational matter of fact : negotiating with enterprise resource planning technology to achieve order within a traditional academic administration

This thesis draws upon social science contributions related to the study of organisations in order to understand how working information systems are created. Its main concern is the process of negotiating through IT-enabled change as actors work to design, implement, install, and use a standard software package in their daily administrative activities. In other words we consider how Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software becomes accepted across diverse groups as an institutional matter of fact - an unquestioned part of the institutional narrative. We argue that in spite of the complexity of implementing ERP technology, the actions and events that lead to their creation as an organisational fact rely on communication and coordination across groups with conflicting political and social agendas. These groups negotiate with the ERP technology in an attempt to enrol the software as a delegate for their goals. To develop the argument, we employ a novel interpretation of actor-network theory routed in the field of science and technology studies (STS). These theoretical foundations inform the collection and analysis of narrative data from one in-depth study of longitudinal change. The case centres on an Ivy League University who partnered with a multinational ERP vendor to create a standard software package to be sold to higher education institutions around the world. The study follows the negotiations involved in creating a standard package and their subsequent attempts to naturalise the standard software into local administrative practices. The application of the theoretical concepts constitutes a contribution in information systems research because it presents a novel interpretation of technology's role within contemporary society. This thesis also contributes to the use of actor- network theory within the IS field because the narrative research approach adopted allowed us to highlight aspects of the theory that have as yet been under used. Furthermore, these findings are useful for business leaders, and IS professionals who might reconceptualise the details of negotiating through IT-enabled change initiatives. The thesis concludes by arguing that negotiating with technology necessarily implies the reordering of organisational reality through design, implementation, and customisation activities.

Identiferoai:union.ndltd.org:bl.uk/oai:ethos.bl.uk:586903
Date January 2003
CreatorsWagner, Erica Lynn
PublisherLondon School of Economics and Political Science (University of London)
Source SetsEthos UK
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeElectronic Thesis or Dissertation
Sourcehttp://etheses.lse.ac.uk/1684/

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