A multiple case study of ERP system implementations in Australia

Teo, L 2017, A multiple case study of ERP system implementations in Australia, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Business IT and Logistics, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title A multiple case study of ERP system implementations in Australia
Author(s) Teo, L
Year 2017
Abstract The plethora of business benefits that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems can potentially deliver has led to an unprecedented level of ERP systems adoption by business organisations in the last decade, resulting in a global market value of US$32 billion in 2016. While ERP systems are reputed for their many beneficial outcomes, both tangible and intangible, ERP implementation is also well-known to be full of challenges, generating organisational-wide disruptions. Not all adopters have been able to reap the anticipated ERP benefits, despite the huge investments they expended on ERP implementations. Though an extensive range of studies exists on how organisational factors, such as change management, organisational inertia, organisational learning and innovation, affect ERP implementation outcomes, few have examined how these factors interact with one another to drive ERP benefits. Fewer still have related the benefits achieved to the interactions between organisational factors. One of the reasons has been attributed to the reliance on cross-sectional analysis, such as focusing exclusively on evaluating post-implementation outcomes using finance and/or operational data, without accounting for the “lag and learning” process of ERP adoption. More importantly, the social dimension of ERP implementation has been given scant attention. This research explores the contributory role of organisational factors, covering both the technical and social aspects, in generating benefits from ERP implementation. Using a qualitative multiple case study approach, it investigated the ERP implementation journey of nine Australian companies that spanned systems acquisition to system extension post-implementation. Specifically, the study examined how the nine case organisations undertook change management, engaged in organisational learning and strategic innovations to derive a host of ERP-related benefits, both expected and unexpected. Expecting a disparate range of implementation tactics being employed by these companies, this study drew on the tenets of the Contingency Theory complemented by the Competing Value Framework (CVF) to address two research questions: • How do ERP adopting organisations respond to the contingent factors to secure ERP system benefits? What proactive actions do they take? • What has been the range of benefits achieved by ERP adopting organisations? How and why do these benefits change over time? This research is grounded on the epistemological belief that understanding social process warrants penetrating into the world of those generating it, which forms the undergirding principle of interpretivism. The study comprised two main stages. Stage One involved i) identifying and selecting business organisations that had implemented an ERP system, which went live recently, as case study candidates; ii) interviewing ERP managers with first-hand knowledge of the entire ERP implementation process; and iii) thematically coding the interview transcripts using hermeneutic principles. Stage Two was the data analysis, which consisted of a within-case analysis and a cross-case comparison. The within-case analysis unearthed 10 contingent constructs that underpinned the ERP implementation process of the nine case companies. The cross-case comparison led to the formulation of an ERP implementation process model that links the ERP implementation constructs to the benefits generated at different stages of the implementation. Putting the range of ERP benefits onto the CVF framework, this study offers seven working propositions for theory building. This study contributes to theory development in ERP implementation in three ways. First, by examining the ERP implementation process of organisations through the combined lens of contingency theory and CVF, this study has revealed how organisational factors can impact the types of ERP benefits derived at different implementation stages as well as post-implementation. Second, it developed a process model that shows how the benefit drivers embedded within the organisational factors interact to create opportunities for organisational learning and innovation, and promote a fit between the ERP technology, business and endusers. The process model could also serve as an ERP project implementation guide to aid project teams to manage changes, offering a tool for practitioners to direct appropriate resources to maximise the benefits expected during ERP implementation, optimise the ERP system capabilities and avoid costly unproductive expenditure. Lastly, grounded on the implementation experience of nine organisations, the working propositions derived offer basic building blocks for developing a theory of benefit-oriented ERP implementation management.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Business IT and Logistics
Subjects Information Systems Organisation
Information Systems not elsewhere classified
Information Systems Management
Keyword(s) ERP System
Enterprise Resource Planning
ERP Benefits
Contingency Theory
Competing Value Framework
ERP Implementation
ERP System Evaluation
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Created: Wed, 10 Jan 2018, 12:55:57 EST by Adam Rivett
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