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Using social networks and communities of practice to support information systems implementation

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  • Communication
  • Economics
  • Education


Information System (IS) implementations are a risky business with studies showing only a 16% - 29% success rate. This research explores the use of social network analysis (SNA) to inform the creation of a Community of Practice (CoP) to support a Finance Management System implementation in a higher education organization. IS implementations can be equated to the diffusion of innovation. The successful diffusion of an innovation requires it to be communicated through a social system. Organizations rarely know what their social network looks like - it is not the formal organization chart. SNA can be used to gain an understanding of the social network and how individuals with high social capital can be identified. There is growing evidence that CoP support successful organizational change initiatives but it is less clear how CoP membership might be agreed. SNA provides an evidence-based approach to CoP formation. The IS implementation case described in the paper demonstrates a new approach to IS implementation grounded in social capital and CoP and illustrates how it might be conducted in practice.

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