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Institutional patterns of enterprise architecture adoption in government

Kristian Hjort‐Madsen (IT‐University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark)

Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy

ISSN: 1750-6166

Article publication date: 1 December 2007




The purpose of this paper is to understand why, and under which circumstances, enterprise architecture (EA) planning adoption improves information systems (IS) planning and supports administrative transformation in government.


About 12 cases in the USA were approached with a preliminary theoretical framework derived from the extant literature. Theory building had affinities with grounded‐theory approaches and came out of numerous iterations between the “deep cases” and the extant theory.


Three adoption patterns illustrate that the adoption of a new IS planning innovation does not create administrative or political transformation in itself. Compliance and imitation primarily drives the adoption process, while fundamental transformation to the tasks performed in government is only achieved if the institutional force at the micro‐and macro‐level promotes transformation.

Research limitations/implications

The neoinstitutional perspective proposed can be of value to other IS researchers as a basis for empirical work in other situations; the implications of the case study can be taken as starting point for further research into the important topic of IS‐based administrative transformation.

Practical implications

The research illustrate that EA adoption is an emergent, evolving, embedded, fragmented, and provisional social production that is shaped as much by cultural and structural forces in the organizational context in which they are implemented as rational technical and economic ones. The findings helps public organizations better understand and manage the adoption of new IS planning innovations.


In the IS literature, very few have recognized the contribution of “new” institutional theory. Thus, this paper helps us understand how administrative and political transformation is adopted in government from a new perspective.



Hjort‐Madsen, K. (2007), "Institutional patterns of enterprise architecture adoption in government", Transforming Government: People, Process and Policy, Vol. 1 No. 4, pp. 333-349.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2007, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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