Despite the increasing popularity of enterprise architecture management (EAM) in practice, many EAM initiatives do not fully meet the expected targets or even fail. EAM frameworks have been suggested as guidelines to EAM implementation, but our practical experience reveals that companies apply very diverse approaches in implementing EAM. This paper strives for gaining a broader understanding about EAM adoption. We aim to answer two questions: (1) how do companies adopt EAM, and (2) what factors influence the EAM adoption To answer these questions, an analysis framework was developed to conceptualize EAM adoption and its situational factors. Based on four critical case studies, situational EAM designs were explored. Our main results are four different EAM archetypes, which illustrate very diverse EAM adoption approaches in different contingencies. Our research contributes to broaden the knowledge on EAM adoption by considering context-dependent implementation approaches and relativizing the importance of frameworks and modeling - that are over-emphasized in existing EA researches. It offers starting points for prescriptive EAM research supporting the successful introduction of EAM in organization by taking contingencies into account.