Enterprise wide integrated systems (ES) have been extensively procured in large organizations but much research fails to develop sociotechnically informed approaches that facilitate their implementation within complex organizational environments. In this paper the authors take a critically informed sociotechnical approach to power and improvisation in ES implementation. A review and synthesis of the pertinent literature, has led to the development of an analytical framework. This framework has been used to explore these concepts through a longitudinal, ethnographic study of an ES within a UK university. The contribution of this paper is a combined ‘circuits of power-improvisation' (CPI) framework which can facilitate a better understanding of ES implementation, sociotechnical theory and practice. Lessons learnt from the study may potentially be used to avoid some of the problems experienced due to the lack of recognition of the important role of power and improvisation in what may be misrepresented as planned strategic and deliberate organizational change.