What is IT?: SAP, accounting, and visibility in a multinational organisation

Quattrone, Paolo and Hopper, Trevor (2006) What is IT?: SAP, accounting, and visibility in a multinational organisation. Information and Organization, 16 (3). pp. 212-250. ISSN 1471-7727

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Recent work on Information Systems tries to reconcile the apparent homogeneity of Information Technologies (IT) with the heterogeneity of their use by recognising that users can render IT systems flexible and malleable. This paper advances theorisation of this apparent paradox by reflecting on the nature of IT, i.e. its ontology. Observations of an ERP (SAP) implementation in a large USA multi-national cast within Actor-Network Theory and Science and Technology Studies approaches help illustrate how an object like IT can possess diversity and heterogeneity whilst being a homogeneous and operative technology. The paper argues that IT appears homogeneous for it attracts and generates heterogeneous uses. This paradox is labelled 'heteromogeneous'. An IT system is theorised as an absence which establishes a presence by mobilising and attracting other actors and technologies, in this instance accounting, seeking visibility in organisations. IT emerges from multiple and continuous translations involving customisations of SAP. Thus the definition of IT is neither stable nor singular across time and space, which enables IT and SAP to travel across organisations.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: University of Sussex Business School > Accounting and Finance
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2022 12:24
Last Modified: 07 Jan 2022 12:30
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/103681

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