Learning from screens: Does ideology prevail over lived experience? The example of ERP systems

Francois-Regis Puyou

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    This chapter explores some of the impacts of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) visual interfaces on organizational learning processes. Inspired by the work of the phenomenologist Michel Henry, it suggests that the visual design of ERP outputs (graphs, figures, images) are abstract representations constitutive of an ideology that make users privilege virtual management over subjective experience to guide their actions and gain knowledge from situations. A video, available online between 2005 and 2007 on the SAP website, illustrates how the clarity, simplicity, aesthetic and formal coherence of ERPs screens make the long known managerial myth of “being in control at a distance” look closer at hand than ever. The video exemplifies ideal notions of learning, managing and organizing “with a click” urging users to follow the instructions of the instrument and rely on indirect communication channels to go on with the work at hand to the detriment of learning and innovation. Empirical evidence from a case study yet illustrate that not all managers are permanently lured by ERP’s prescriptions. Efforts to confront and combine lived experience with abstract representations contribute for example to unexpected and innovative operational developments and new knowledge.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLearning Organizations
    Subtitle of host publicationextending the field
    EditorsAriane Berthoin-Antal, Peter Meusberger, Laura Suarsana
    ISBN (Electronic)9789400772205
    ISBN (Print)9789400772199
    Publication statusPublished - 2014


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