Five Roles of an Information System: A Social Constructionist Approach to Analysing the Use of ERP Systems
2003 (English)In: Informing Science, ISSN 1521-4672, Vol. 6, 209-220 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
This paper presents a novel way of thinking about how information systems are used in organisations.
Traditionally, computerised information systems are viewed as objects. In contrast, by viewing the information
system as an actor, the understanding of the structuration process increases. The user, being
influenced by the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system and giving it an actor role, thereby also
confers agency on the ERP system; through its very use it influences actions and thus also the structure.
Based on a case study of ERP use in an ABB company over a decade, five different roles played by the
ERP systems were identified. The ERP systems acted as Bureaucrat, Manipulator, Administrative assistant,
Consultant or were dismissed (Dismissed) in the sense that intended users chose to avoid using
them. These terms are defined in the full text.
The purpose of this approach here is not to -animate- the information systems, to give them life or a
mind of their own, but rather to make explicit the socially constructed roles conferred on them by users
and others who are affected by them. On this basis, it is possible to suggest how the roles can help us
open up new areas of exploration concerning the fruitful use of IT.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2003. Vol. 6, 209-220 p.
Interpreting information systems; Structuration theory; ERP systems; Information systems
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-40091Local ID: 52248OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-40091DiVA: diva2:260940