Deconstructing information packages : organizational and behavioural implications of large scale information systems.
Information technology and people, 17
In this article I argue that the organizational involvement of large scale information technology packages, such as those known as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), has important implications that go far beyond the acknowledged effects of keeping the organizational operations accountable and integrated across functions and production sites. My claim is that ERP packages are predicated upon an understanding of human agency as a procedural affair and of organizations as an extended series of functional or cross-functional transactions. Accordingly, the massive introduction of ERP packages to organizations is bound to have serious implications that precisely recount the procedural forms by which such packages instrument organizational operations and fashion organizational roles. The conception of human agency and organizational operations in procedural terms may seem reasonable yet it recounts a very specific and, in a sense, limited understanding of humans and organizations. The distinctive status of framing human agency and organizations in procedural terms becomes evident in its juxtaposition with other forms of human action like improvisation, exploration or playing. These latter forms of human involvement stand out against the serial fragmentation underlying procedural action. They imply acting upon the world on loose premises that trade off a variety of forms of knowledge and courses of action in attempts to explore and discover alternative ways of coping with reality.
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