Cross-Case Analysis of Top Management Characteristics and Enterprise Information System Success

Cross-Case Analysis of Top Management Characteristics and Enterprise Information System Success

Abdullah I. Alkraiji (Department of Information and Communications Technology, King Fahd Security College, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/JCIT.2016070104
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Although a large portion of the literature explains various supports by top management to enhance the overall success of the implementation of enterprise information systems, there remain some limitations in studies pertaining to how the characteristics of top management can have an influence on successful acquisition. The purpose of this paper is to investigate the effect of top management characteristics on the overall success of enterprise information systems. It aims to offer an in-depth understanding of the necessary characteristics through a cross-case analysis approach based on two contradictory government organizations in Saudi Arabia—one with successful implementation and the other with a failed enterprise resource planning system. The results expose various characteristics such as those related to business leadership and abilities and technological cognition and awareness. The results can be developed into a strategy to enhance awareness as well as top management participation.
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Improving the successful implementation rate of enterprise information systems (EISs) and the required management practices are the key focal areas for organizations today. One main reason is the need to direct special consideration to more contingent and situated dimensions of EIS projects (Gasson, 2006). Studies such as those by Carlsson et al. (2011), Gregor and Jones (2007), and Khan et al. (2010), for example, have argued that the implementation of EISs should concern not only prescriptions for designing technological tools, methods, and applications but also understanding the organization’s socio-technical system and accordingly designing methodologies and interventions.

McLeod and Doolin (2012) stressed the less clear-cut boundaries between the technological and social aspects throughout the implementation of EISs; therefore, the implementation process should be conceptualized as complex socio-technical (Orlikowski & Iacono, 2001). According to Mayère et al. (2008), identifying the various dimensions of the technical and social aspects of organizations and their impact on EIS implementation becomes a major and ongoing open problem. The underlying premise of the studies of socio-technical factors is concerned with better understanding the complex scenarios of the relationships among the social organization environment, the social enablers enacting business processes, and the system supporting such processes (McLeod & Doolin, 2012).

Although there appears to be categorical consensus that top management (TM) and strong commitment across the EIS project phases are indispensable to the achievement of success (e.g., Momoh, Roy, & Shehab, 2010; Somers & Nelson, 2004), that there is little empirical evidence to emphasize how the social groups or social enablers in an organization can be aligned with technical aspects for successful implementation. The question centers on the view that, although TM is consistently identified as the key social player in reaping the potential success of EISs and should not be a cause of disagreement between the researchers, nonetheless, there is a need to understand the top management characteristics (TMCs) that promote TM involvement as well as strong commitment to and support for successful implementation.

Existing literature on EIS project implementation tends to primarily focus on the different required supports by TM, leaving a gap in knowledge concerning the TMCs and their effects on successful EIS projects: for example, researchers should ask why there is strong participation, involvement, and commitment from TM during EIS project implementation in some organizations, whereas there are fewer supportive actions in other organizations. In so doing, there is a need to investigate TMCs that promote the involvement of TM and that allow for strong commitment to and support for the successful ERP system project. Two main questions have been formulated to achieve the aforementioned aim:

  • 1.

    How can the TMCs facilitate the acquisition of the nature of such required supports during the implementation of EIS projects?

  • 2.

    What are the TMCs that likely can promote the involvement and strong commitment, support, and interaction of TM during the implementation of EIS projects?

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