This paper explores end-user perceptions of poorly implemented enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) from the perspective of a primary frontline user. This exploration analyses three case studies – from Australia, the United Kingdom and Denmark. Through these cases, we find three areas of concern: the reaction of implemented systems to existing work processes; the suspicion among workers that management has a hidden agenda in implementing an ERP system; and the perception that the implemented system is poorly aligned and leads to process duplication. The objective of this research is to see how ERP implementations have consequences that go beyond current research which, in the main, frames ERPs in a positive light and does not critically evaluate them. Our research demonstrates that, while major work groups in an organisation may appear to accommodate the ERP implementation, many individuals are very concerned about how the ERP disrupts their work. Our research demonstrates that there may be ‘dark’ consequences arising from an ERP implementation. These are likely to include unauthorised software development to fit previous work processes, confusion and little understanding of the new business processes. The result is an overall lack of trust in the efficacy of the system.
Al-Mashari, M., Al-Mudimigh, A. and Zairi, M. (2003) ‘Enterprise resource planning: a taxonomy of critical factors’, European Journal of Operational Research, 146, 2, pp.352–64.
Burgess, K., Kerr, D. and Houghton, L. (2013) ‘Paradigmatic approaches used in enterprise resource planning systems research: a systematic literature review’, Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 18, 1, pp.5–24.
Davenport, T. (2000) Mission Critical: Realizing the Promise of Enterprise Systems, Harvard Business School Press, Cambridge MA.
Davis, A. (1990) Software Requirements: Analysis and Specification, Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River NJ.
Dawson, J. and Owens, J. (2008) ‘Critical success factors in the chartering phase: a case study of an ERP implementation’, International Journal of Enterprise Information Systems, 4, 3, pp.9–24.
Deetz, S. (1996) ‘Describing differences in approaches to organization science: rethinking Burrell and Morgan and their legacy’, Organization Science, 7, 2, pp.191–207.
Dillard, J., Ruchala, L. and Yuthas, K. (2005) ‘Enterprise resource planning systems: a physical manifestation of administrative evil’, International Journal of Accounting Information Systems, 6, 2, pp.107–27.
Eisenhardt, K. and Graebner, M. (2007) ‘Theory building from cases: opportunities and challenges’, Academy of Management Journal, 50, 1, pp.25–32.
Häkkinen, L. and Hilmola, O. (2008) ‘Life after ERP implementation: long-term development of user perceptions of system success in an after-sales environment’, Journal of Enterprise Information Management, 21, 3, pp.285–309.
Holland, C. and Light, B. (2001) ‘A stage maturity model for enterprise resource planning systems use’, ACM SIGMIS Database, 32, 2, pp.34–45.
Houghton, L. and Kerr, D. (2006) ‘A study into the creation of feral information systems as a response to an ERP implementation within the supply chain of a large government-owned corporation’, International Journal of Internet and Enterprise Management, 4, 2, pp.135–47.
Kerr, D. and Houghton, L. (2010) ‘Just in time or just in case: a case study on the impact of context in ERP implementations’, Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 16, 2, pp.5–16.
Kerr, D., Houghton, L. and Burgess, K. (2007) ‘Power relationships that lead to the development of feral systems’, Australasian Journal of Information Systems, 14, 2, pp.141–52.
Klein, H. and Myers, M. (1999) ‘A set of principles for conducting and evaluating interpretive field studies in information systems’, MIS Quarterly, 23, 1, pp.67–93.
Kumta, G. and Shah, M. (2002) ‘Capability maturity model: a human perspective’, Delhi Business Review, 3, 1.
Leonardi, P. (2011) ‘When flexible routines meet flexible technologies: affordance, constraint, and the imbrication of human and material’, MIS Quarterly, 35, 1, pp.147–67.
Lindley, J., Topping, S. and Lindley, L. (2008) ‘The hidden financial costs of ERP software’, Managerial Finance, 34, 2, pp.78–90.
Paulk, M., Curtis, B., Chrissis, M. and Weber, C. (1993) ‘Capability maturity model version 1.1‘, IEEE Software, 10, 4, pp.18–27.
Ram, J., Corkindale, D. and Wu, M. (2013) ‘Implementation critical success factors (CSFs) for ERP: do they contribute to implementation success and post-implementation performance?‘, International Journal of Production Economics, 144, pp.157–74.
Sandberg, J. and Alvesson, M. (2011) ‘Ways of constructing research questions: gap-spotting or problematization?‘, Organization, 18, 1, pp.23–44.
Schwandt, T. (2007) The Sage Dictionary of Qualitative Inquiry, Sage, Thousand Oaks CA.
Stake, R. (1995) The Art of Case Study Research, Sage, New York, NY.
Tesch, D., Kloppenborg, T. and Frolick, M. (2007) ‘IT project risks: the project management professional perspective’, Journal of Computer Information Systems, 47, 4, pp. 61–9.
Van Akkeren, J. and Rowlands, B. (2009) ‘An epidemic of pain in an Australian radiology practice’, European Journal of Information Systems, 16, 6, pp.695–711.
Walsham, G. (1993) Interpreting Information Systems in Organisations, Wiley, Chichester.
Yeh, C.-H. and Xu, Y. (2013) ‘Managing critical success strategies for an enterprise resource planning project’, European Journal of Operational Research, 230, pp.604–14.
Yin, R. (2008) Case Study Design, Research and Methods, Sage, Thousand Oaks CA.