Resource title

Working in the Shadows - Understanding ERP Usage as Complex Responsive Processes of Conversations in the Daily Practices of a Special Operations Force

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Resource description

Organizations are met with increasing demands for being in strategic control. According to conventionalmanagerial wisdom, clearly defined tasks, uniform processes, thorough documentation and strategicoversight are all perceived as part and parcel of making large and unwieldy organizations manageable,transparent and efficient (Johnson, Scholes, & Whittington, 2008; Kaplan & Norton, 2008). To live up tothese demands, numerous efforts have been undertaken, including the design and implementation ofmanagement information systems. These systems, as epitomized in Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)systems, seek to bring the organization under strategic control by creating a unified infrastructure forcollecting and analyzing data from virtually all fields of organizational operations to enable planning andmonitoring of activities (Kallinikos, 2006). Expectations of these systems at all levels of the organization arehigh as they are expected to create organizational transparency and oversight for decision making(Hanseth, Ciborra, & Braa, 2001). In this paper, we explore how ERP systems are used and impact localpractice in a specialized unit within The Danish Defense. Specifically, we ask what role SAP R/31 plays inenabling and constraining everyday local practice and the handling of complexity and uncertainty at theorganizational front‐line. We draw on a case study conducted in a special operations force unit within theDanish Defense, “The Frogman Corps”. The case illuminates the difficulties of using ERP systems formanagement control in organizations experiencing complex operational conditions, including tensionbetween centralized control and uniformity on the one hand and unpredictability and need for decentralizeddecision making on the other hand.

Resource author

Ulrik Christiansen, Annemette Kjærgaard, Rasmus Koss Hartmann

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Resource language

eng

Resource content type

application/pdf

Resource resource URL

http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8364

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