Explaining the use of an Implementation Methodology in Enterprise Systems Implementation context: a critical realist perspective

Forskningsoutput: AvhandlingDoktorsavhandling (monografi)


Investments in Enterprise Systems (ES) represent a significant part of many organisations’ investments. Time and budget overruns have been more a rule than an exception in ES implementations. One critical success factor for improving ES implementation is Enterprise Systems Implementation Methodologies (ESIMs). There is a lack of research on the use of ESIMs; however, the scant research does show contradictory findings regarding the potential of ESIMs and their use in ES implementation contexts. The aim of this study is to describe and explain the use of ESIMs with emphasis on how they are used by implementers and on the conditions for their use in ES implementation contexts.

Informed by research in Information System (IS) development, particularly by Fitzgerald, Russo and Stolterman’s method-in-action framework and underpinned by critical realism, more specifically Margaret Archer’s Realist Social Theory (RST), a realist explanation of the use of ESIMs is advanced. The explanation incorporates the tenets of RST, i.e., analytical dualism, morphogenetic cycle and reflexivity taxonomy and suggests an interpretation of the use of ESIMs as reflexive adaptation strategies. Using this interpretation as a conceptual guide, a longitudinal case study of an ESIM provided by an international ES provider, is carried out. Two qualitative data collection methods, documentation and semi-structured interviews with implementers are used to gather information.

Through a qualitative analysis of the case, an evolutionary pattern of four types of use of ESIMs is identified: fragmented, aggregated, integrated and infrastructural. Each type depicts a particular configuration of a reflexive adaptation strategy. By integrating disparate lines of existing research in IS development and ES research, this work offers an alternative way of theoretically framing and interpreting the use of ESIMs. The descriptive and explanatory insights advanced in this study provide a more coherent and context-sensitive account of the use of ESIMs over time. This study facilitates the identification of potential configurations of reflexive adaptation strategies and the anticipation of changes in the use of ESIMs and their potentials.


  • Daniela Mihailescu
Enheter & grupper

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Systemvetenskap, informationssystem och informatik med samhällsvetenskaplig inriktning


Tilldelande institution
Handledare/Biträdande handledare
Tilldelningsdatum2013 maj 30
Tryckta ISBN978-91-977186-4-6
StatusPublished - 2013