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The panoptic gaze: analysing the interaction between enterprise resource planning technology and organisational culture

Kayas, Oliver G. and McLean, Rachel and Hines, Tony and Wright, Gillian H. (2008) The panoptic gaze: analysing the interaction between enterprise resource planning technology and organisational culture. International journal of information management, 28 (6). pp. 446-452. ISSN 0268-4012

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Abstract

The use of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems to deploy the panoptic gaze remains unresearched in the UK. Though there are studies outside the UK which use panoptic theory to investigate ERP systems, they do not analyse the influence the interaction between ERP technology and organisational culture have on the development of the panoptic gaze. The aim emerging from these issues was to understand whether ERP technology, organisational culture, or a combination of both could support development of the panoptic gaze in an organisation from the UK. The method selected was a qualitative case study of a UK organisation’s finance division, and the techniques used were semi-structured interviews and observations. The study suggests the ERP technology provided an infrastructure from which the panoptic gaze could be deployed. It was not deployed in this instance however, as the finance division’s culture did not emphasise workforce surveillance. The study therefore suggests that in addition to ERP technology a culture emphasising workforce surveillance was needed to develop the panoptic gaze. The findings support the social shaping concept as it was the finance division’s cultural context that influenced whether the ERP technology would be used to deploy the panoptic gaze.

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