This article challenges the tendency of the information systems literature to subsume IT innovation in processes of organizational change, either with the role of “enabler” of organizational objectives, or as an instrument appropriated by situated organizational actors. Using institutionalist theory, the relationship between information systems development and organizational transformation is studied as the interaction of two institutionalization processes: the increasing momentum and legitimation of IT innovation; and the organizational efforts for the substitution of established structures and activities with new ones which often do not command adequate legitimacy. Such analysis suggests that IT innovation in organizations is to a large extent sustainable by its own institutional forces, irrespective of contribution to the processes of organizational change. This perspective is demonstrated with the case study of the Mexican oil company, Pemex, where IT projects have played a large part in its transformation from a state‐owned to private enterprise.
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