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The Impact of Culture on ERP Implementation: SAP in China


Ang, YN, The Impact of Culture on ERP Implementation: SAP in China (2010) [PhD]


The primary purpose of this research was to study the impact of culture on the implementation of a Western-developed ERP system (SAP) in an Asian environment from the local Chinese informantís perspective. Unlike the majority of IS cultural research into ERP implementation, this study used a qualitative approach. Unstructured interviews were used on two occasions to collect data from informants during the implementation with a focus on their personal perceptions and interactions. This approach was adopted to allow informants to freely express their experiences and opinions in relations to the implementation. This implies that the researcher did not direct the interviews with any predetermined questions but rather allow the informants to direct the focus base on what they saw as important. Data analysis was based on the Seven Steps framework from Colaizzi (1978). The overall result of this research was that culture had a positive influence on the implementation of a Western-developed ERP system (SAP) in China. The findings in the case study showed that while the implementation of an ERP system had introduced new elements into their work practices and created new challenges for the informants, they did not see them in terms of cultural differences and mismatches. Instead, they accepted them as changes that must be accommodated. They relied on their creativity and innovation to find a better way to make the ERP system more compatible to their work practices. This is important because contrary to the common view, cultural misalignment did not cause rejection of the SAP system, and further a non-Western culture did not necessarily make implementation of Western- developed ERP systems more difficult to implement in an Asian environment. Furthermore, the findings in the case study showed that the Chinese cultural values of Guanxi are important in the management of uncertainties created from environmental factors and deficiencies in the SAP system. The research described in this thesis confirmed the usefulness of the National Cultural Dimensions (Hofstede, 1980) and Situated Culture Theory (Weisinger & Salipante, 2000) for obtaining meaningful insights that drew together the influences of environmental factors and Chinese culture, and how the informants dealt with the SAP implementation. The outcome of this research has provided new insights into an appreciation of different cultural values and an understanding on how informants intuitively applied them as problem-solving tools. In addition based on this research, suggestions have been made for future research with a focus on how culture could be taken into account to support the implementation of new technologies.

Item Details

Item Type:PhD
Research Division:Information and Computing Sciences
Research Group:Information systems
Research Field:Information systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Culture and Society
Objective Group:Other culture and society
Objective Field:Other culture and society not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Ang, YN (Miss Yan Ang)
ID Code:64655
Year Published:2010
Deposited By:Information and Communication Technology
Deposited On:2010-08-16
Last Modified:2010-08-17

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