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A multiple narrative approach to information systems failure: a successful system that failed

Bartis, Eszter and Mitev, Nathalie N. (2008) A multiple narrative approach to information systems failure: a successful system that failed. European Journal of Information Systems, 17 (2). pp. 112-124. ISSN 0960-085X

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Identification Number: 10.1057/ejis.2008.3


We discuss the introduction of an information system where the dominant coalition claimed project success. While the key users did not use the system as intended and the project goals were not achieved, the project committee reported success to the top management board. Using a multi-methodological approach, we can follow how different stakeholders attributed different meanings to the system introduced over time. The rhetorical tools used are analysed using a narrative methodology. We draw on the social construction of technology and use the concept of relevant social groups to understand the different interests influencing the organisational dynamics. We complement this approach by employing the concepts of organisational power and cultural fit between the new system and the different subcultures. We found that this multiple approach explains well how the acceptance of the new software processes was interpreted differently within the organisation, and also by the software supplier. Although limited, our case study reveals the process of socially constructing the success or failure of an information system using this multiple research approach. We compare our results with the literature on IS failures and we consider the value of combining constructionist and critical approaches through a narrative methodology.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Palgrave Macmillan
Divisions: Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Date Deposited: 26 Jan 2012 12:06
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2024 16:06

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