ENTERPRISE SYSTEM (ES) software is often supplemented indepen-dently by end users who develop personal solutions that establish connections be-tween the required business practices and the ES. One solution is a type ofinformation and communications technology workaro und, a feral information sys-tem (FIS) – deﬁned as a workaround designed to achieve certain requirementsby using any information technology tool that an end user uses in conjunction with,or instead of, the mandated information system. To explore this, we conducted acase study at a large utility company. We conclude that feral information systemsare not a behavioural deviance. FISs are by-products of end users seeking opera-tional efﬁciency, namely, to nullify additional transactional costs imposed by the ES.Our ﬁndings suggest that end users of ES will fall into one of four modes of opera-tion: mode 1, where end users submit to the ES; mode 2, where they dismiss theES; mode 3, where they develop an FIS that remains hidden from the ES propo-nents; and mode 4, where they operate the FIS in open deﬁance of the ES propo-nents. In this research, we deliberately take the practitioner view and, therefore,outline how different pressures help to create an FIS as a response to a poorlymandated ES. We also make a theoretical contribution by exploring issues thatlead to workarounds and suggest that future research into these modes of opera-tion can be theorized in future proposed studies.
Information Systems Journal / Vol. Article in press