Living with enterprise resource planning (ERP) : an investigation of end user problems and coping mechanisms

Tajul Urus, S 2013, Living with enterprise resource planning (ERP) : an investigation of end user problems and coping mechanisms, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title Living with enterprise resource planning (ERP) : an investigation of end user problems and coping mechanisms
Author(s) Tajul Urus, S
Year 2013
Abstract The need for real time and integrated computing and information environment to support and enhance business operations has motivated companies to introduce Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems. ERP systems present a holistic view of a business from single information and IT architecture. However, the euphoria around ERP systems is wearing off and it has become clear that ERP systems do not automatically deliver business value. One of the reasons for this is the challenges and problems that organisations and their ERP users face in both the deployment and use of ERP. As such, successful implementation of an ERP system does not necessarily guarantee that the system will be comprehensively used or accepted by users of the system. ERP benefits can only be realised and sustained if users continue to have favourable experiences in using the system. While many previous studies have examined ERP problems during the implementation phase, only a few have revealed problems during the post-implementation use phase. Additionally, prior research has tended to focus more on analysing organisational rather than individual perspectives. Because of these gaps in post-implementation ERP research, the aim of this study is to investigate the problems that end users faces while using ERP, the antecedent factors behind the identified problems and the various coping mechanisms employed by end users to overcome the problems.

To achieve the aim, this research was guided by the ‘soft-positivism’ paradigm, a paradigm that combines elements of positivism and interpretivism. By using this paradigm, the investigator brought certain prior expectations to the data analysis which are consistent with positivist research and which also build rich explanations from the data, consistent with the interpretive assumption. First, a review of the literature and an exploratory study were undertaken to: (1) explore the extent of previous work on ERP problems during post implementation, (2) identify some of the known influencing factors on ERP usage problems and (3) gain insight into the strategies for dealing with ERP problems. Based on the results of the literature review and the exploratory study, and drawing from the two theoretical frameworks of Task-Technology Fit and Gap Framework, a preliminary conceptual framework was developed.

A qualitative approach using multiple case studies was followed to conduct the empirical research. Three Malaysian organisations that had implemented ERP were investigated by conducting 30 semi–structured interviews, reviewing archival records and documents, and observation. The interviews were guided by the research objectives and the initial conceptual framework. Data were analysed by using open and thematic coding.

The findings indicated four major areas of ERP usage problems: system, data, and technical infrastructure and interface problems. Besides that, several antecedent factors to the problems were identified. These factors fall into four major categories: organisation, user, task and technology, and include lack of support from either external or internal expertise, lack of individual strength and limited technology affordance. To cope with these problems, users rely on feral use of information technology, feral information systems and feral data.

The findings led to developing an original End Users’ Usage and Coping Mechanisms Model (EUPCOM Model) and 14 research propositions that will facilitate future study. The research contributes to practice by offering recommendations to managers as well as other ERP practitioners about the possible problems to anticipate while using ERP; actions to consider to minimise the factors that contribute to these problems; and how to improve users’ experiences with an ERP system.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Business IT and Logistics
Keyword(s) End user problems
Antecedent factors
coping mechanisms
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)
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Created: Fri, 22 Aug 2014, 12:30:04 EST by Denise Paciocco
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