Through a grounded analysis of NASA's ERP implementation that spans the four years after the system went live, we motivate the importance of loose coupling to the study of enterprise systems, identify three forms of loose coupling associated with enterprise systems, and detail the evolution of activity that is loosely coupled from the system. We conclude by suggesting that loose coupling that is mediated by either system or human intermediaries follows a process of mutual adaptation and may result in a state of loosely coupled equilibrium that can be beneficial to the organization and its knowledge workers. Loose coupling that is mediated by human interpretation, on the other hand, results in drift that can enable individual flexibility and situated action, but may undermine imperatives of control and may render data in the enterprise system less meaningful.
Berente, Nicholas; Yoo, Youngjin; and Lyytinen, Kalle, "Alignment or Drift? Loose Coupling over Time in NASA's ERP Implementation" (2008). ICIS 2008 Proceedings. 180.