The Journal of the Southern Association for Information Systems

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Previous research on information technology (IT) implementation and organizational change postulates that neither technology nor human agency determines the new structure of the organization, but rather the new structure emerges as a result of the interplay between technology and human agency. A majority of these studies assume a linear relationship between contingencies and outcome during the emergence process. However, during the implementation process, the characteristics of organizations become non-linear, almost chaotic. Therefore, we postulate that approaching to IT-enabled change from complexity theory would be better suited to explain the emergence process. We propose a framework based on dissipative structure theory and specify four stages that organizations undergo during the implementation process. While the emergence process is considered unpredictable, we argue that with the help of certain organizational practices (i.e., organizational learning/unlearning) and managerial interventions (i.e., use of rhetoric), organizations can condition the emergence of the new structure for the success of the implementation.