As organizations confront new information technologies, they are often forced to implement very expensive systems on the basis of little information about the product's benefits and potential ‘fit’ within the organization. This research examines the implementation process of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system and shows that implementation cannot be viewed solely in instrumental terms—that is, organizations do not simply make structural adjustments to the organization so that proper fit can be achieved. Instead, this research suggests that the activities of selecting and implementing new technologies at the same time serve to elaborate existing organizational values. Theorists have described such activities as a ‘mythmaking’ process. In that context, the ‘new’ ERP system and its implementation become the medium for (re-)constructing or (re- )constituting the organization’s values. A case study of an implementation at a large public organization is presented to demonstrate how myth-making served to construct an ERP system as an ‘ideal system’ and the legacy system as a ‘dying system.’ The myth functioned as a vehicle of consensual organizational reality, serving to align the acquisition of an ERP system with the organizational value of ‘integration,’ thereby garnering widespread support for a complex and unknown technology.
Alvarez, Rosio, "Examining an ERP Implementation through Myths: A Case Study of a Large Public Organization" (2000). AMCIS 2000 Proceedings. 203.