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Abstract

Modern organizations are increasingly choosing to adopt off-the-shelf software applications (e.g., Enterprise Systems, ES) rather than develop tailor-made solutions. However, many studies have shown that adopting prepackaged software is difficult with these highly integrated systems amplifying the potential for organizational conflict; especially once the system is rolled out to users. There is a gap in the literature related to this changing pattern of systems development, and researchers have begun investigating it. We contribute to this emerging literature while also shifting the focus of ES implementation research by offering a new perspective to understand the processes of mutual adaptation of the technical and social during system implementation and maintenance of large scale systems (ES). We focus on the turnaround process by which a troubled project at go-live becomes a working information system. Much IS literature to date has focused on the problems associated with configuration and implementation or the immediate (often negative) reaction to, and use of, packaged software. Yet, there is significant evidence that projects often do survive and yield a working information system in the face of, and despite, a negative release. Based on data from an intensive qualitative field study within a university, we find that practices are negotiated through processes of use rather than being permanently and systematically selected at a particular moment in time and, in so doing, we offer one of the first works to address the issue of sociomateriality and its implications for understanding the evolution of large scale IT systems.

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