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Title: User interactions in enterprise systems : the role of virtual co-presence on collective activity
Author: Subramaniam, Niran
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 7170
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This research stems from the premise that Enterprise Systems (ES) are perceived to be challenging to use as these systems impose rigid processes and practices on ES users. Scholars argue that the mismatch between the embedded business processes of ES and the work practices of people in organisations places constraints on how tasks are coordinated and completed in practice. They propose that in order to be responsive, ES not only need to integrate data and processes, but also need to resolve the interdependencies of tasks of different divisions. Recent academic research argues that social technologies provide a more flexible, ‘people-centric’ platform that offers better alignment between processes and the way people actually work. Social technologies are acknowledged for their capabilities in connecting people with one another in getting work done collectively in the contemporary organisational contexts. ES that are enhanced with capabilities for user interactions in contemporary organisational contexts have become a digital medium for efficient user interaction and collective activity across the divisions of an organisation. This thesis explores user interactions in ES and investigates the impact of social technologies in the completion of tasks in Enterprise Systems (ES). The research is focused on an exploratory field study and an in-depth field study of ES use contexts. The exploratory field study sought to explore the ‘sense of presence’ of users in their interactions in the use contexts of ES at a western Canadian University. Subsequently, the in-depth field study investigated how co-present, dispersed user interactions afforded collective activity in the completion of tasks at a large telecommunication organisation in Europe. The users interviewed, integrated various social technologies in their use contexts of ES and collectively executed tasks from three different countries at this organisation. Findings demonstrate that a ‘sense of co-presence’ of users in the digitally mediated network of ES enabled focused interactions, and affected collective completion of tasks. Through successive focused interactions, virtual co-present users changed roles depending on their privileges for specific tasks, forming an interaction order. The thesis argues that different interaction orders form based on the intensity of virtual co-presence of users and the regularity of their focused interactions, that the interaction orders sediment to serve as memory traces for successive interactions and, that these recursive interactions structure collective action to facilitate the emergence of digital platforms for collective activity. Drawing on the insights gained on the effect of virtual co-presence on ES users’ interaction, the thesis outlines some implications for the theory and practice of collective activity in ES for the contemporary organisations.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD28 Management. Industrial Management ; QA76 Electronic computers. Computer science. Computer software