Purpose – The main purpose of this article is to discuss if an enterprise system (ES) is a part of an organization’s administrative paradox. The questions raised here is which role the ES has in organizing, focusing aspects of flexibility and stability.
Design/Methodology/Approach – This study is a qualitative, longitudinal, case study of how an ES maintain, and even reinforce, existing administrative organizational structures. The theoretical lens used is mainly structuration theory.
Findings – This article argues that an ES can take the part of an organization’s administrative paradox. An administrative paradox is two sides of the same coin when coordinating organizations – the concurrent striving for flexibility and stability. The studied ES even centralizes control, creates norms, and enhances power for actors in positions of authority (top management). Due to its structure and configuration the ES is a powerful tool to coordinate. The ES is considered to be organizationally ungainly, but at the same time indispensable.
Practical implications – the case study how the administrative paradox becomes present in an organization implementing and using and ES. The case also provides valuable insights on how the studied organizations tries to deal with standardization/stability and flexibility that can be valuable for other system users or implementers to learn from, as well as the analysis as a whole.
Originality/value – This paper originally combines structuration theory and theories covering the administrative paradox and aspects of coordination in order to analyze and discuss the implementation and use of an ES.
Emerald , 2010. Vol. 23, no 2, 181-200 p.