Applying Turner’s Three-Process Theory of Power to the Study of Power Relations in a Troubled Information Systems Implementation

Michelle Yaqian Ye, Kristy de Salas, Nadia Ollington, Judy McKay


This paper explores the nature and exercise of power in an interpretive case study of a troubled information systems (IS) implementation in a university in the Asia Pacific region using Turner’s Three-Process Theory of Power based on Social Identity Theory and Self-Categorisation Theory. The findings demonstrate the value of Turner’s theoretical lens as well as its insufficiency for explaining all power related activities. This research has led to the development of an extended Three-Process Theory of Power by adding the alternative components that emerged from the data in the case study in relation to the nature and exercises of power. Based on the findings, we further recommend specific guidelines for IS theoreticians and practitioners including advice to project managers on a range of key issues. Thus, this paper contributes theorising the sources of power and tactical applications of power in given situations, particularly in IS implementation projects.


Power; power relations; IT project; IS implementation; resistance; social identity; psychological group

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ISSN: Online: 1326-2238 Hard copy: 1449-8618
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