In this paper, we focus on making software work in practice, an important issue given the high failure rate that many companies experience with software products, especially ERP, the focus of this paper. We explore the ways that social order is produced to create a workable information system—accepted and used within the organization. We argue that there are many different ways people solve problems in projects and the practices may be characterized according to stable patterns of coordinated action where compromise is sought or common goals are worked toward. We focus on theories of social ordering in order to illuminate what was occurring at the case organization. More specifically, we examine how despite common aims within an organization there will be different stakeholder groups with unique goals and beliefs about how to achieve their objectives. To overcome these differences, the norm of reciprocity is often adopted in order to produce an orderly state. We look at contentious episodes experienced during an ERP implementation to illustrate the difficulty of trying to always achieve common aims and illustrate the way in which reciprocity helped to move the project forward at these points of conflict. This highlights the importance of establishing reciprocity during controversies where creating a “good enough” solution for all parties takes precedence over the agenda of one particular functional group.
Wagner, Erica and Newell, Sue, "Making Software Work: Producing Social Order via Problem Solving in a Troubled ERP Implementation" (2005). ICIS 2005 Proceedings. Paper 37.