Information systems and the allure of organisational integration: a cautionary tale from the Irish financial services sector

Anita Mangan, Séamas Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper we draw on evidence from an in-depth, longitudinal, interpretive study of an ambitious attempt to implement a large-scale information systems (IS) infrastructure (the ILCUTECH Standard Information System (ISIS) project) within the Irish credit union movement, to explore some of the difficulties and contradictions associated with information and communication technology (ICT)-enabled organisational integration. We argue that, in their enthusiasm for facilitating IS innovation, the leadership of the movement neglected more deep-seated organisational issues that were, to that point, largely unarticulated. In an attempt to get to the heart of these issues, we synthesise a distinctive theoretical perspective that draws mainly on institutional theory. This helps untangle the complex institutional heritage of the credit union movement, which resulted in the emergence of an interesting hybridity of institutional logics and latent contradictions. These contradictions provoked the emergence of a particular kind of institutional entrepreneurship, which was deeply implicated in reshaping institutionalised ways of thinking and doing. We emphasise the political nature of the change process and argue that the institutional arrangements for governing the ISIS project, which also underpinned the governance of the broader movement, were not well suited to manage the risk associated with such an enterprise. We conclude by suggesting that the case described might be an example of the workings of a broader kind of change dynamics around ICT. Specifically, the scale and scope of the change project acted as a trigger that brought tensions underlying existing competing institutional logics to a head, thus provoking institutional reform.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66–78
JournalEuropean Journal of Information Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


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