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Biography of an ERP: Tracing the fabrication of a virtual object

This paper provides an account of the way Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems change over time. These changes are conceptualised as a biographical accumulation that gives the specific ERP technology its present character, attributes and historicity. The paper presents empirics from the implementations of an ERP package within a single Australasian organisation. Changes to the ERP take place as a result of imperatives which arise during the implementations. Our research and evidence then extends to a different time and place where the new release of the ERP software was being ‘sold’ to client firms in the UK. We theorise our research through a lens based on ideas from ANT ( actor network theory) and the concept of biography. The paper seeks to contribute an additional theorization for ANT studies that places the focus on the technological object and frees it from the ties of the implementation setting. We contrast this approach with Dechow and Mouritsen’s (2005) path dependency. The research illustrates the opportunistic and contested fabrications of a technological object and emphasizes the stability as well as the fluidity of its techno-logic.
Working Paper
Type of thesis
Department of Economics Working Paper Series
Lowe, A. & Locke, J. (2007). Biography of an ERP: Tracing the fabrication of a virtual object. (Department of Accounting Working Paper Series, Number 93). Hamilton, New Zealand: University of Waikato.
Waikato Management School