ERP use, control and drift: an agency perspective

  • Ioannis Ignatiadis

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisPhD


Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are information systems that integrate organizational activities across geographical and functional divisions. Being enterprise-wide systems, they are used within an organization in order to standardise its data and streamline its business processes. However, the envisaged benefits of installing an ERP system, such as better control over the company’s operations and seamless integration and data exchange, often fail to materialize. Although the literature has looked into the factors affecting a successful ERP implementation and adoption, it has largely overlooked the actual use of the system. However, as ERP systems have become widespread in many organizations, it is important to examine the use of such systems and their organizational consequences in-situ. This research is particularly concerned with the impact of the use of ERP systems on organizational control and drift. The main argument is that there are contextual factors, in the form of existing organizational control and drift, which influence the use of the ERP system by its users. The actual use of the ERP system can then also lead to organizational control or drift itself. This depends on the way the system is used by its users, as well as the affordances of the system. The former is characterized as human agency in this thesis, while the latter is characterized as machine agency. An interpretive case study approach is adopted to examine those issues. A main case study is examined in depth, aided by four auxiliary case studies. The main contribution of this research is the provision of rich insights regarding the use of ERP systems and their organizational consequences.
Date of Award1 Nov 2007
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
SupervisorJoe Nandhakumar (Supervisor)


  • control
  • enterprise resource planning
  • agency
  • drift
  • ERP

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