Exploring Enterprise Information Systems Procurement in Public Service Organisations
Keywords:enterprise information system, EIS, procurement, acquisition, socio-technical systems
AbstractEnterprise Information Systems (EIS) are often used by organisations to automate and integrate their business processes to create value and efficiency. However, the majority of EIS research is centred on the implementation phase with relatively little work on the pre‑implementation phase. Another gap in the existing literature is that it usually ignores the wider institutional context when determining the generalisability of research findings. This study focuses on the procurement process and analyses three instances of EIS procurement in a public service organisation. The data collection is conducted using a socio‑technical systems framework embedded within a case study methodology. Narrative analysis with a processual lens is used as an analytical tool in this study. In contrast to the existing conception of the procurement process as a completely rational and linear decision‑making process, our findings explain it as a multi‑level process where factors from the work‑system and the macrosocial level play a crucial role in influencing the decisions at the organisational level. Technological imperative (work‑system level) and business case (organisational level) are found to be critical factors in EIS procurement, in line with previous findings. However, the findings suggest a greater role of the macrosocial factors – EIS market, EIS vendor, and the institutional context. This study also notes the demonstrative nature of certain elements of the EIS procurement process in public service organisations. Thus, this study brings out the complexity and contextual nature of EIS procurement in public service organisations by demonstrating the interplay of factors operating at the work‑system, organisational, and macrosocial levels.
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