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Institutional Contradictions and Loose Coupling: Post-Implementation of NASA’s Enterprise Information System

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Berente N, Yoo Y. Institutional Contradictions and Loose Coupling: Post-Implementation of NASA’s Enterprise Information System. Information Systems Research. 2012;23(2):376-396.

Through a grounded analysis of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA's) enterprise information system (IS) implementation in the months immediately following the go-live, we show how NASA can be characterized as an institutionally plural organization, rife with diverse institutional logics, some consistent and some contradictory to each other. The enterprise system is introduced in accordance with the logic of managerial rationalism, but some of the institutional logics that organizational actors draw upon and reproduce contradict the logic of managerial rationalism in certain situations. In these situations, organizational actors loosely couple elements of their practices from the practices implied by the enterprise system, thus satisfying the demands associated with both institutional fields. We identify four generalizable forms of loose coupling that result from these institutional contradictions: temporal, material, procedural, and interpretive, and discuss their effects on both the system implementation and local practices. Further, we show how, through the use of institutional logics, researchers can identify fundamental institutional contradictions that explain regularities in the situated responses to enterprise system implementations—regularities that are consistently identified in the literature across a variety of organizational contexts.

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Type of Publication:

Journal article


institutional pluralism, institutional contradiction, institutional logic, institutional theory, loose coupling, loosely coupled, enterprise systems, ERP, NASA

Addresses these goal(s):

  • Learn about the field of team science: history, theory and concepts

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Resource created by Lauren Faulkner on 10/8/2014 1:34:40 PM.

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