Enterprise thinking role transitions in enterprise system process improvement teams

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Information Transfer


Michelle L. Kaarst-Brown


Enterprise systems, ERP, Business process redesign, Information systems teams, Role/identity theory, Higher education, Role transitions, Process improvement teams

Subject Categories

Library and Information Science | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The research described in this document represents a 5½-year longitudinal case study of a process improvement initiative at a mid-sized American research university following implementation of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. The study addresses the question of how organizations, and more specifically, the IS function within organizations, are able to achieve enterprise integration following the implementation of enterprise systems . Enterprise integration is viewed as the end goal of enterprise systems, such as ERP, and comprises enterprise-level system, process and social integration. The research focuses on the Enterprise Support Office (ESO) at Demeter University. The ESO department was created following a post implementation assessment of the ERP project by an external consulting firm. The consultant's report indicated that the University had been largely successful in implementing the ERP from a technical standpoint, but was less successful in realizing the goal of enterprise business process improvement which had been part of the 'promise' of the ERP system. With strong support coming from the newly created position of Chief Information Officer (CIO), the University President issued a report calling for the creation of the ESO department, led by a Chief Process Architect (CPA), and staffed by a team of Functional Process Analysts (FPAs). Viewing the site as a critical case , the researcher observed and documented the evolution of the Enterprise Support Office at Demeter University using an intensive qualitative methodology. The case focuses on the conflict in organizational identity confronting team members of the ESO as the demands of a major ERP upgrade caused them to defer their original mission of identifying and improving enterprise processes in favor of leading ERP upgrade projects in business units. Following the work of Ashforth (2001), the researcher uses an identity-based perspective on role transitions for analysis. A model is proposed demonstrating how the in-practice role identities of Process Analyst and Project Manager become more integrated (versus segmented) through role boundary work enabled by mythic boundary roles . The study serves as a critical case in illustrating how individual and group-level conceptions of roles and organizational identity contribute to the elusive technical, process and social goals of enterprise integration following implementations of enterprise systems (ES).


Surface provides description only. Full text is available to ProQuest subscribers. Ask your Librarian for assistance.