How Organizations Motivate Users to Participate in Support Upgrades of Customized Packaged Software


Support upgrades are undertaken to correct errors, improve speed, and otherwise improve an existing version of customized packaged software. Motivating such projects is especially challenging, because users typically anticipate little benefit. We investigated ways of motivating user participation in maintenance upgrading projects via an in-depth case study using the method of communicative framing. This argues that (1) the positivity or negativity of a frame, and (2) the credibility, salience, and consistency of the diagnostic, prognostic and motivational elements of the frame influence others' willingness to believe and respond to a communication. Our case study explored user motivation and participation in an upgrade of SAP software in an organization where no upgrade had been performed in the past three years. We discovered that: (1) a negatively valenced communicative frame characterizing an external party as a threat is most likely to motivate users, and (2) framing the support upgrade simultaneously affected user motivation and reinforced the position of the IT support group.


Business and Information Technology

Keywords and Phrases

Enterprise resource planning; Enterprise systems; Framing; IT implementation; Maintenance strategies; Packaged software upgrade

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


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© 2011 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2011