Beyond The ERP Implementation Study: A New Approach To The Study Of Packaged Information Systems: The Biography Of Artifacts Framework
Scholarship addressing the social and organizational issues surrounding enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems is blossoming. However, many of these studies produce unhelpful readings of the characteristics of ERP and its implications for organizations. The typical ‘ERP implementation case study’ has been given undue emphasis within Information Systems (IS) research. Often influenced by constructivist frameworks and qualitative methodologies, including Actor Network Theory and ethnography, these approaches encourages actor-centered analysis and rich local pictures of the immediate response by organizations to these systems. However we are skeptical that the most useful way to study ERP is solely at the place where the user encounters it. One implication is that important influences from other levels and timeframes are missed from analysis. We propose an alternative research approach - the emerging ‘Biography of Artifacts Framework’ - that takes seriously the multiple locations and different timeframes in which ERP systems operate and evolve.