This paper focuses on the integration of generic software such as enterprise resource planning (ERP) into organisational life. These applications have gained prominence as the IT systems of choice in many organisations. The perspective that dominates the literature studying these applications reflects a rationality based on alignment of the software and organisational processes and fails to consider the ethical issues that arise when a new work system is being constructed, such as the possibilities for end‐user participation. Drawing on the strand of research that studies implementations of new technologies as social relations, this paper considers the experiences of end user groups as they engage in adaptation of the software and embed technology in contexts of local use. Design and use activities are complex and multifaceted and the embedding of software for local use represents an overlap between them. This paper explores whether the shift towards large scale generic software allows for a blurring of a boundary between what are construed as design activities and use activities in applications for office work. It is significant to the construction of this boundary that office work is gendered female in the U.K. where clerical and secretarial work is usually done by and considered to be suited to women. The paper draws on a case study of the introduction and integration of a generic software application for supporting the administration of student records at a UK university to explore the social relations of end‐user participation in the implementation of these software packages. The paper presents an analysis of the implementation activity, IToffice worker relations, and the different constructions of skills and knowledge understood to be required as the workers attempted to deal with this software application.
Stepulevage, L. and Mukasa, M. (2005), "The social relations of large scale software system implementation", Journal of Information, Communication and Ethics in Society, Vol. 3 No. 4, pp. 189-197. https://doi.org/10.1108/14779960580000272Download as .RIS
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