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This paper reports the findings of a large-scale case study of implementing enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) in a long-established multinational company within the telecommunication sector. The company has recently streamlined its operations through an ambitious business process redesign initiative and introduced an ERP system. The study examines the process of change enacted during the implementation of the ERP system over time. The findings indicate that much of the changes emerged as the project team sought to improvise technological features and changes to the context of use to overcome embedded constraints in the existing system, organizational context and in the ERP system itself. The team also took advantage of evolving capabilities and emerging opportunities to continuously enact changes as an ongoing process of project life. The paper argues that the process of technology-related change may be seen as a form of a 'drift' involving a series of purposeful actions with unplanned outcomes.
Date of Conference: 6-9 Jan. 2003