Chen Wenbo: How do enterprises unify their understanding in information technology?


The implementation of informatization or large-scale information systems in enterprises is a process of change. In order to effectively implement this change, enterprises need to have a unified understanding among different management levels and functional departments, such as high, medium, and low levels, in order to effectively guide enterprise behavior. So, how does an organization achieve a unified understanding of informatization in the process of enterprise informatization?

Using a case study method, Associate Professor Chen Wenbo and collaborators from SBM have established a meaning construction model for enterprise informatization implementation based on a tracking case study of a 25 year informatization process of a large enterprise. Research has found that existing IT knowledge, environment, especially policy environment, and organizational culture constitute the main external conditions for meaning construction; The specific process of meaning construction is influenced by the technological and social structure of the enterprise. The technological structure affects the initiation and execution of meaning construction; The social structure affects the selection and retention stages of meaning construction. In the social structure of meaning construction, there are four modes: unidirectional meaning bestowal by leadership, bidirectional meaning bestowal by IT and functional departments, IT and business collaboration, and tripartite collaboration. Different modes generate different collective understandings. These different collective understandings directly lead to different informationization outcomes.

The establishment of a meaning construction process model for the implementation of enterprise information systems is of great value for a deep understanding of enterprise informatization. In theory, meaning construction reflects the deep structure and process of enterprise informatization; In practice, enterprises can use this model to optimize the communication and learning process in the process of enterprise informatization and digitalization, so as to achieve higher quality collective understanding and guide more optimized implementation process and results.

Barney Tan, Shan L. Pan, Wenbo Chen, and Lihua Huang. 2020. “Organizational Sensemaking in ERP Implementation: The Influence of Sensemaking Structure,” MIS Quarterly (44:4), pp. 1773–1809. (

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