Enterprise systems are attractive exactly as they promise a stronger unity – integration, collaboration
and standardization – across distinct and different organisational units of a business. However,
empirical research on enterprise systems has documented convincingly how situated workarounds
undermine the unity of enterprise systems through local thus different practices and adoptions. This
produces an apparently paradoxical character of enterprise systems: unity in the face of multiplicity.
Our contribution is (i) to outline a theoretical middle-position effectively resolving the paradox and
(ii) identify and analyse empirical strategies for how the paradox gets resolved in practice. The
empirical basis for our study is a longitudinal (2007-2009) case study of a global oil and gas company
with 30.000 employees operating in 40 countries across 4 continents.
Gasparas, Jarulaitis and Monteiro, Eric, "Unity in Multiplicity: Towards Working Enterprise Systems" (2010). ECIS 2010 Proceedings. 107.