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Journal articles (2020), Information Systems Journal, 30 (4), pp. 639-663

Learning from Workaround Practices: the Challenge of Enterprise System Implementations in Multinational Corporations

MALAURENT Julien , KARANASIOS Stan

Based on a four‐year longitudinal case study of a French multinational corporation (MNC) this research explains how a global enterprise system, initially designed to provide greater control by headquarters across its MNC sites, led to the emergence of unexpected practices – known as workarounds – in its Chinese subsidiaries. Drawing on concepts from activity theory our findings provide greater theoretical understanding of workarounds in three ways. First, users are involved in collectively constructing and implementing workaround practices rather than simply being passive users or reduced to the dichotomous framing of ‘accepting’ or ‘rejecting’ an information system. Workarounds are not simple individual user improvizations but are collectively developed and become unofficial local rules. Second, workarounds are part of learning which goes beyond the view of workarounds as deviant and non‐compliant behavior. Third, learning activities are not restricted to users and their practices. Rather, as we demonstrate learning and evolution take place between the users, managers, processes and the system; that is, workarounds are not only a critical part of ‘getting work done’ but also an integral part of the institutionalization of an enterprise system. Link to the article

MALAURENT, J. and KARANASIOS, S. (2020). Learning from Workaround Practices: the Challenge of Enterprise System Implementations in Multinational Corporations. Information Systems Journal, 30(4), pp. 639-663.

Keywords : #activity-theory, #contradictions, #information-systems-in-use, #learning-activities, #longitudinal-case-study, #workarounds