Enterprise systems projects: The role of liminal space in enterprise systems implementation

Erica L. Wagner, Portland State University
Sue Newell, Bentley University
William Kay, Ithaca College

Abstract

We investigate information systems (IS) projects as a liminal space 'betwixt and between' the status quo and the new environment, using a case study of the implementation of an enterprise system (ES). This liminal space provides a stabilizing platform whereupon the project team can develop new and potentially transformative IS. However, after a project team has completed its initial IS design for roll-out, this liminal space must be bridged to incorporate process-generated learning and new systems back into the organizational working environment. We demonstrate how this bridging involves negotiations that attempt to reconcile divergent perspectives by adopting a conciliatory or peacemaking attitude. As such, our analysis focuses on the IS project as a multi-phased process that includes the creation of a liminal space for the project team during development and on the negotiations that ensure the ES becomes a working IS in the post-implementation environment.