Enterprise architecture management (EAM) has long been propagated in research and practice as an approach for keeping local information systems projects in line with enterprise-wide, long-term objectives. EAM literature predominantly promotes strictly governed and centralized coordination mechanisms to achieve the promised alignment contributions. Notwithstanding the increasing maturity levels in practice, organizations still struggle with the successful establishment of EAM, mainly due to the inherent challenges of a firmly centralized approach in complex organizational settings. This study opts for cooperative learning as a theoretical lens to afford a distinctive, non-centralized conceptualization of EAM. We empirically demonstrate EAM as a stage-wise learning process in which knowledge acquisition and cooperative interactions among individuals contribute to project performance on the local level. Projects that benefit from this particular learning process, in turn, are found to significantly leverage enterprise-wide performance.