Understanding Contradictions in Enterprise System Implementations: A Case for Stakeholder Theory

  • Stig Nordheim
  • Kai R. Moseid-Vårhus
  • Arnfinn Min Bærø
Conference paper


Enterprise Systems (ES) implementation is challenging, and handling conflicting interests may be vital for success. Previous research has established how ES implementation involves dialectics, often related to multiple stakeholders. Involved stakeholders have in previous studies been analyzed in a power perspective, through the lens of organizational influence processes. Stakeholder theory (ST) takes a wider perspective, by including legitimacy and urgency in addition to power. An interesting perspective is therefore a suggested combination of ST and dialectics. This paper presents an ES implementation case where the explicit combination of ST and dialectics was tried out in the data analysis. In this case, two types of contradictions surfaced in implementation process. The case demonstrates that stakeholder theory contributes to a richer understanding of these contradictions than a focus on power only. Based on previous research, power would be expected to be decisive for the outcome of contradictions. However, in this case urgency and legitimacy compensated for lack of power. This suggests that the combination of ST and dialectics is a useful theoretical perspective on ES implementation processes, to better understand contradictions.


Enterprise systems Implementation Dialectics Stakeholder theory Contradictions 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stig Nordheim
    • 1
  • Kai R. Moseid-Vårhus
    • 2
  • Arnfinn Min Bærø
    • 2
  1. 1.University of AgderKristiansandNorway
  2. 2.Norwegian Tax AdministrationOsloNorway

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