‘Best’ for whom?: the tension between ‘best practice’ ERP packages and diverse epistemic cultures in a university context

Wagner, Erica L and Newell, Sue (2004) ‘Best’ for whom?: the tension between ‘best practice’ ERP packages and diverse epistemic cultures in a university context. The Journal of Strategic Information Systems, 13 (4). pp. 305-328. ISSN 09638687

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Abstract

The idea that so-called ‘best’ business practices can be transferred to organizations when they purchase enterprise resource planning (ERP) software packages is a major selling point of these packages. Yet recent research has illustrated a gap between the espoused theory of a best practice solution and the theory-in-use experienced by those who install software with such a design. As researchers begin to examine the difficult process by which organizations recast the best practices model handed down to them by consultancies and software vendors in an effort to make the software ‘work for them’ in practice, it is equally important that we begin to understand the reasons that such a gap exists. To this end, we analyze the strategic partnership between a multinational software vendor and a university who together designed a ‘best practice’ ERP package for the higher education industry. Through the theoretical lens of ‘epistemic cultures’ we argue that in organizational contexts made up of more than one epistemic culture, the use of a best practice model will be problematic because, by definition, the model mandates one epistemological position through the software design. This is counter to a university's loosely coupled organizational form.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > Business and Management
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce > HF5001 Business
Depositing User: Catrina Hey
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2014 15:28
Last Modified: 10 Dec 2014 15:28
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/51660
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