Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. Katherine L. Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. John J. Venn

Third Advisor

Dr. Joyce T. Jones

Fourth Advisor

Dr. A. David Kline

Department Chair

Dr. John J. Venn

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


Case study research on enterprise systems in higher education organizations has shown that the challenges associated with implementing enterprise systems in higher education occur when unique organizational characteristics found in universities do not align with the standard characteristics built into the software programs. Based on such findings, the purpose of this study was to further explore the interaction between higher education organizations and enterprise systems during Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementations in order to gain insight into the effects of ERP implementations in higher education. Through the theoretical lens of actor-network theory, the purposes of this comparative case study at three universities were to identify (a) how higher education organizations re-structured to the standards of the enterprise software, (b) how ERP software was customized in order to adapt to the characteristics of higher education organizations, and (c) how the enterprise software and higher education organizations interacted and translated into a unique identity as a result of ERP implementation. The data for the study were collected through semi-structured interviews and institutional artifacts at three universities which were commonly bound by similar institutional characteristics and the same enterprise software. Further, the study was limited to the examination of the interaction between individuals associated with the registrars' offices at the three institutions and the student module found in each instance of the software. The data revealed that, while the institutions did not organizationally restructure or make policy changes in order to adapt their institutions with the infrastructure of the software, the registrars' offices made many reactionary changes in their business processes, procedures, and nature of work as a result of the enterprise system implementation. The data also revealed that the software customizations, developed to account for unique statutory requirements, caused overwhelming implementation challenges during the enterprise software implementation and post-implementation phases.