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Lookup NU author(s): Dr Neil Pollock,
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Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are widely used by large corporations around the world. Recently universities have turned to ERP as a means of replacing existing management and administration computer systems. This report is concerned with how ERP is contributing to the reshaping of universities, and, in turn, with how these systems are being reshaped for Universities. First we provide analysis of the rollout of an ERP system and discuss what it means for the university as an ‘organisation’. We argue that these systems appear to be reinforcing the establishment of a more ‘corporate’ form of organisation where both policy formation and policy implementation are far tighter and goals, roles, identities, abstract rules and standard operating procedures are made explicit and formalised. Then we focus on ERP as a ‘generic’ and ‘global’ solution and show how this presents universities with particular sets of issues regarding the control and shaping of their systems and ultimately their institutional and organisational autonomy. The report is based on an ongoing programme of academic research on the reshaping of universities and the role of Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) within that reshaping process. We conducted ethnographic research over a four-year period at a large red-brick university in the UK, and at SAP, the large German ERP supplier, as well as the associated higher education ‘user group’.
Author(s): Pollock N, Cornford J
Publication type: Report
Publication status: Published
Print publication date: 01/04/2005
Source Publication Date: April 2005
Institution: Observatory on Borderless Higher Education
Place Published: London, UK