شبکه، مذاکرات، و دوران جدید : پیاده سازی برنامه ریزی منابع سازمانی در یک مدیریت دانشگاهی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|12243||2003||29 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Information and Organization, Volume 13, Issue 4, October 2003, Pages 285–313
Higher education is a sector entering an era of IT-enabled modernization in which it may have to cope with an influx of unfamiliar corporate concepts and practices. This paper analyzes one of the first Enterprise Resource Planning implementation projects within the academic administration of an Ivy League university. We contribute to existing qualitative literature in information systems by developing the theme of temporality within actor–network theory to support our analysis. This enables us to extend process-oriented ERP research by focusing on the identification of temporal zones and creation of durable work times designed to re-order priorities between competing visions for the future of higher education. We analyze detailed negotiations during periods of controversy to reveal how standard work practices come to be created and recreated. We consider how the ERP that emerges is affected by progressive trials of strength during the project and analyze the achievement of order as an on-going process. Our findings highlight the distinctive contribution that a ‘temporal turn’ can bring to longitudinal research studies by providing insight into the technical agency of ERP packages and how its temporal inscriptions shaped the emergence of a socio-technical information system. This reordered organizational work life and created a hybrid temporality that still needs to be negotiated into the working rhythms of the University’s actors.
The widespread adoption and appropriation of enterprise resource planning (ERP) technology across a variety of organizational contexts and geographical locations in recent years is well documented (Davenport, 2000, Soh, Kien and Tay-Yap, 2000 and Hossain, Patrick & Rashid, 2002). A significant body of work has emerged identifying the issues that organizations confront in localizing these standard packages (see Rogowsky & Somers, 2002), emphasizing the importance of our continued efforts to understand the effects of large systems projects such as ERP on organizational agendas. This literature provides the necessary groundwork for thinking about how technologies are introduced, shaped, and reshaped over time and with significant organizational consequences. In this research paper we attempt to contribute to the development of theoretical approaches focused on this process of technological design and implementation. Our case study highlights how contradictions are created by attempts to include multiple perspectives into an ERP system that is expected to be used in daily operations by diverse stakeholders in an Ivy League university. We draw on and extend contemporary thinking about technology design, actor–networks, and agency by foregrounding implicit temporal features involved in negotiating and translating interests. Our aim is to understand how organizations negotiate with ERP technology in an attempt to create a local information system. We begin by providing some background into the ERP information systems phenomena. The last decade of the 20th century heralded ‘The Enterprise Resource Planning Revolution’ (Ross, 1998) with enterprise systems implemented within most Fortune 500 companies (Kumar & van Hillegersberg, 2000). Business leaders, persuaded by the concept of an emerging global marketplace (see Castells, 1996 and Held, 1999), were convinced by the technology’s promise to streamline organizational activities, eliminate duplication of effort and data, and co-ordinate business operations across geographically dispersed locations (Davenport, 2000 and Markus, Tanis and Fenema, 2000). International management consultancies were a driving force (Walsham, 2001) behind the proliferation of the trend, as they worked with software vendors to sell ERP as an appropriate ‘solution’ for multiple markets (Soh, Kien and Tay-Yap, 2000 and Walsham, 2001). Fuelled by media coverage of the feared year two-thousand (Y2K) millennium bug, the trend increased as a mass of organizations from a variety of industries, jumped on the ERP bandwagon (Kremers and Dissel, 2000; Kumar & van Hillegersberg, 2000). By early 2000, ERP-related sales generated $40 billion in revenue split between software vendors and consulting firms (Willcocks & Sykes, 2000) and literature claimed that “the business world’s embrace of enterprise systems may in fact be the most important development in the corporate use of information technology in the 1990s” (Davenport, 1998, p. 122). While a great deal of support can be generated for adopting the fashionable business trends of ERP, Swanson (2003, p. 24) notes that these grand visions offer promises that distract organizations from ‘knowing why they selected the ERP, and how to successfully realize its promises’ as a workable socio-technical infrastructure. The financial investment required to implement ERP technology is exponentially higher than other IS initiatives with costs reaching over $500 million (Markus, 1999) sending companies into litigation (Nash, 2000, Boudette, 1999 and MacDonald, 1999) and bankruptcy (Nash, 2000 and Montoya, 1998). This level of investment has the potential to increase the risk position of even the wealthiest organizations and intensify the pressure for the ERP to deliver breakthroughs in organization-wide efficiency. High expectations sit upon the shoulders of project teams mandated to fulfill whole-house requirements in which functionality must be robust within and across individual software modules. In sum, organizations are finding themselves caught between the perceived need to implement ERP and the challenge of realizing the benefits from them. The scope of ERP projects and their inherent risks challenge IS researchers to draw insights from the analysis of historically situated studies to inform the work of practitioners (Markus, 1999). In this paper we respond by proposing a theoretical approach that sheds light on negotiating multiple agencies of change and order over time and provides insight into the relationship between technological design and organizational work life. Theorizing the technical agency of information technology, and how design decisions shape the emergence of a socio-technical infrastructure and its accompanying work practices, is fundamental to conceptualizing the boundaries of the technology and ways in which human agency fits within its borders. We author three project narratives identified during our analysis that highlight the complex interplay between actor networks and the ERP technology over time as they work to achieve their preferred future during the flow of events surrounding this program of enterprise-wide IT-enabled change. Although we identify the preferred futures of different actor–networks, our conclusions do not suggest a simple polarity of winners and losers. Instead, the findings presented indicate a messier hybrid socio-technical system in which conditions of dependence come to be recognized and uncomfortably accommodated with repairs, bolt-on or shadow systems in order to ‘make it work’. Whether or not this constitutes a success or failure becomes an expression of political position amongst those involved. Despite internal organizational turmoil or politics this ERP is a present day ‘matter of fact’, a part of on-going work experience, and the work involved in making it function has to be reluctantly absorbed by those whose work lives it touches. We suggest that this highlights the significant social ‘cost’ that may be associated with the process of replacing an existing infrastructure with another. Through our narrative analysis we reveal the effort involved in establishing new forms of permanence that, for better or worse, must become accepted as ‘part of the furniture’. The main theme that we explore centers around the question: what constitutes the achievement of order in the context of this organization-wide ERP project? Trials of strength between the competing actor–networks we describe over the course of a three-year ERP project highlight on-going processes of ‘ordering’ and ‘changing’. Our temporal turn within ANT provides insight into popular notions such as windows of opportunity (Orlikowski & Tyre, 1994), emergence (Mead, 1980) and drift (Ciborra, 1996), not only through a study of ERP in context, but by explicitly examining information systems implementation in the flow of time. We suggest that effective ERP implementation is not just about involving stakeholders, but also about the timing and nature of that participation. Finally, we maintain that it is important to understand the process through which some things go forward and others get left behind during an ERP project as this influences the quality of continuity and permanence achieved. In the next section we present the theoretical foundations of the paper and introduce key terms and concepts used in the analysis.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Three years of clock time were invested in the establishment of a working ERP system for academic administration by the prestigious actor – network of Ivy and Oracle. The public announcement that the system was ‘ live ’ gave the impression of an achievement of order to the outside world and sent ripples of expectation through the academic community. The Ivy project has helped Oracle sell ERP systems and fuelled the trajectory of management careers in Ivy and Oracle. Although outwardly the clock time invested in this ERP system might be taken as an implication of its quality we have suggested clock time is only one of multiple times experienced during a software project. We have explored the way in which multiple times, especially subjective temporal perceptions may shape an IT-enabled program of organizational change. For example, in our case study we have shown that the determination of the VP ’ s actor network to integrate ‘ global times ’ into Ivy ’ s local social present was highly signi fi - cant as was his claim that ‘ now is the time ’ to implement ERP. From among the multiple temporal zones mingling with the Ivy social form, we chose to cluster parti- cular subjective temporal perceptions and construct the notion of ‘ project times ’ .We maintain that multiple project times came to bear upon the ERP implementation process simultaneously each articulating different interpretations of priorities, inter- ests and rationales. The manifestation of a distinctive project time at Ivy was shaped by the efforts of an actor – network to in fl uence the ordering of issues such as: whose priorities should be taken into account when deciding the project deadlines? When should users be involved? What is the timeframe for acceptable levels of Oracle involvement? The ERP that has emerged affects the progressive trials of strength that occurred over such issues during the 3-year project at Ivy. These processes of negotiations were not discrete events, but were deeply embedded in the respective organizational contexts of Ivy and Oracle; each actor network called upon allies based upon their understanding of the past, their perception of the present, and their projection of the future in an effort to persuade others to subscribe to their de fi nition of what project time should mean to Ivy. Compromises crafted during these times about what goes forward and what gets left behind account for the distinctive consequences of the ERP at Ivy and in fl uenced the quality of order achieved. Our micronarrative analysis of these negotiations are, we maintain, an illumination of the dynamic constitution of phenomenon such as windows of opportunity ( Orlikowski & Tyre, 1994 ) and project drift ( Ciborra, 1996 ) in the academic literatureThe implementation of ERP systems is particularly vulnerable to becoming entangled in multiple project times because by design they traverse multiple com- munities attempting to connect up previously discrete silos business activity into an enterprise view. ERP infrastructures have to enroll multiple levels of meaning, inter- est, and functionality across time if they are to achieve durability ( Star & Ruhleder, 1996 ). The technological capability of the ERP itself forms an important part of the broad range of agencies across which actor networks negotiate as they seek to have their priorities and interests accommodated into the ERP standard. However, in direct contrast to the other analyses, which regard ERP as uncontrollable, “ everybody ’ s enemy by resisting all organizational change ” ( Hanseth and Braa, 1998 , p. 195), our fi ndings illustrate the strength of the local. We fi nd evidence that the voice of suppos- edly silenced can penetrate the technological monster ( Monteiro, 1999 ) and create a hybrid working rhythm that is inscribed into its socio-technical infrastructure. An ERP may become ‘ part of the furniture ’ but as many organizations have found its effective naturalization is a complex process, whilst collective harmony sought for the ERP can at times exist as hybrid dissonance. For example, according to a 2001 survey of over 100 fi rms the level of productivity decreased within 75% of ERP-enabled organizations ( Cooke, Gelman, & Peterson, 2001 ). We interpret such statistics as artifacts representing a speci fi c time in the history of ERP technology. While this information is helpful for quantifying the effects of a trend, quantitative measures also have the effect of freezing a moving target by labeling evolving socio- technical infrastructures as static. Our research approach supports an analysis of the ebb and fl ow of agencies in the fl ow of time and take into account both human and non-human actors. What does the Ivy case teach us about the participatory design approach that they attempted to use? We suggest that practitioners extend the now standard consider- ation of who and what to enroll and engage with the more subtle question of when to involve. For example, although it was dif fi cult to enroll the faculty in the early phases of the project, subsequently silencing them once their interest became appar- ent led the medical school to splinter off and create a costly alternative to the ERP. The lack of temporal insight about when to enroll and inscribe the interests of actors diminished their initial attempts at a participatory approach. Researchers have acknowledged the side effects that may emerge from ‘ letting the concrete set ’ on ERP technological standards ( Hanseth & Braa, 1998 ). However, we call for further research into the legacy engendered by the temporal features of human actors net- work inscription, as well as non-human, to redress the balance. The temporal turn within actor network theory provides an helpful methodology for such an endeavor highlighting the effort involved, not only in initiating and managing large-scale pro- grams of IT-enabled change, but also the social cost of living with them on a long- term basis. Swanson (2003) notes that when the discourse of a technology trend winds down, organizational actors are left to pick up the pieces and move forward in an attempt to rede fi ne their failures. Our research highlights this point through the study of bolt- on and shadow systems necessary to make the ERP system work at Ivy. The intense negotiations between actor networks surrounding this ERP repair process makeclaims that its implementation is a ‘ success ’ or ‘ failure ’ highly situated. For example, whilst the VP imposed order through the negotiation of a phase one/phase two demar- cation enabling his actor – network to claim ‘ successful progress ’ this stability was quickly lost once the ERP interacted with the professional academic community at Ivy. We therefore conclude by proposing that judgments of ERP success or failure are closely related to the timing of evaluation and the vantage point from which such observations are made.