An investigation into the adoption and implementation of computer-aided production management systems using the Rogers model of adoption and implementation and a social constructionist account of technology.
The research investigates the processes of adoption and implementation, by organisations, of computer aided production management systems (CAPM). It is organised around two different theoretical perspectives. The first part is informed by the Rogers model of the diffusion, adoption and implementation of innovations, and the second part by a social constructionist approach to technology. Rogers' work is critically evaluated and a model of adoption and implementation is distilled from it and applied to a set of empirical case studies. In the light of the case study data, strengths and weaknesses of the model are identified. It is argued that the model is too rational and linear to provide an adequate explanation of adoption processes. It is useful for understanding processes of implementation but requires further development. The model is not able to adequately encompass complex computer based technologies. However, the idea of 'reinvention' is identified as Roger's key concept but it needs to be conceptually extended. Both Roger's model and definition of CAPM found in the literature from production engineering tend to treat CAPM in objectivist terms. The problems with this view are addressed through a review of the literature on the sociology of technology, and it is argued that a social constructionist approach offers a more useful framework for understanding CAPM, its nature, adoption, implementation, and use. CAPM it is argued, must be understood on terms of the ways in which it is constituted in discourse, as part of a 'struggle for meaning' on the part of academics, professional engineers, suppliers, and users.