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


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.