Institutionalization as a rhetorical process and its effect on appropriating ERP-technology : a case study
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- Master of Science 
This thesis will explore an ongoing change process in a large Norwegian Railroad Corporation (NRC). The corporation has recently implemented an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in order to integrate human resource processes across all units and divisions in a well-organized and consistent manner. We sought to explore how organizational agents within the different units appropriated the new technology, and how institutionalization at the micro level could influence these appropriation patterns. To carry out our research agenda, we pursued a social constructivist approach, with structuration theory as a central tenet. Through a series of depth interviews we inquired into the argument structure applied by the organizational agents with the aim of exploring to what extent the practice of implementing ERP-systems was institutionalized. Our inclination was that the degree to which the application of ERP-systems had been taken for granted amongst organizational agents, it would be related to how the agents appropriated the technology. Appropriation highlights the importance of the agents‟ understanding of the technology‟s goals, as well as how well their use of the system supports these goals. Our findings suggested a relationship between the two constructs. An argument structure which indicated a partial institutionalization of the practice was found to be related to an appropriation pattern which bolstered the technology‟s intent. However, a discursive style which suggested institutionalization to the extent where the practice had been taken for granted, was related to a less faithful appropriation of the system. This is in congruence with the „institutional argument‟. In the event where no evidence of institutionalization was established, the least faithful patterns of appropriation were found.
Masteroppgave(MSc) in Master of Science in Leadership and Organizational Psychology - Handelshøyskolen BI, 2013