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Abstract

The implementation of information systems (IS) in organizations often triggers new situations in which users experience a disruption of existing work patterns and routines. Sensemaking becomes central in making users’ meanings explicit, serving as a foundation for further actions and interactions with the new technology. The purpose of this paper is to study how users make sense of new technologies by building on existing response repertoires. Empirically, we present findings from a study of an Electronic Patient Record (EPR) system implementation in two Danish hospital wards. Our findings illustrate: (1) how doctors’ and nurses’ existing routines are disrupted by the new technology, (2) how identity construction plays an important part in the users’ meaning construction process, and (3) how self-fulfilling prophecies are formed as a natural part of their sensemaking. The study contributes to existing literature by providing a detailed account of how users’ early sensemaking of a technology influences their subsequent actions and reactions towards it. Our findings support managers in understanding users’ perceptions of a new technology, helping them in planning and executing the implementation process.

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