The Influence of the Top Management Characteristics on the Success of the Enterprise Information System

The Influence of the Top Management Characteristics on the Success of the Enterprise Information System

Abdullah Ibrahim Alkhuraiji (King Fahd Security College, Saudi Arabia)
Copyright: © 2018 |Pages: 26
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5279-6.ch001
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The purpose of this chapter 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 required for the implementation of an enterprise resources planning system. It applies a case study methodology of two contradictory government organizations in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia: one with successful implementation and the other with a complete failure. 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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Overcapacity, reengineering, globalization, and dealing with constant change are some of the prime reasons why many organizations implement Enterprise information systems (EISs) (Loonam & McDonagh, 2005). EISs can replace multiple independent systems in an organization to allow sufficient interaction between the delivery of high-quality products and services to stakeholders within the optimal time (Loonam & McDonagh, 2005). Through the streamlining of workflow, EISs can help organizations to achieve profitable growth, such as ensuring competency and competitiveness, increasing productivity, reducing expenses, and improving decision-making quality and resource control (Howcroft et al., 2004). In addition, EIS software packages are built based on a suite of best practices afforded to implementing organizations; this would help organizations to efficiently improve their overall performance (Liang et al., 2007).

Despite such attractive strategic importance for EISs, the literature exposes the fact that obtaining EIS benefits is not as straightforward as organizations would like to believe (Buonanno et al., 2005; Howcroftet al., 2004; Yen Teoh &Pan, 2008). One common challenge is that EISs limit the overall flexibility of the organization’s operations owing to the technical rigidity of the EIS by nature (Yen Teoh &Pan, 2008). This requires the implementer organizations to align their business practices—including their strategies and cultures—to the EIS practices with limited customizations. In some cases, the standardization of practices—according to predefined standards—cannot provide a competitive advantage (Mayère et al., 2008; Yen Teoh &Pan, 2008); therefore, cultural factors should be taken into account during EIS selection (Mayère et al., 2008), as the organizational culture becomes strategic capital and thus a source of competitive advantage (Yen Teoh &Pan, 2008).

Scholars have highlighted multiple and multi-dimensional influences in EISs project success, for example, top management (TM) support has been repeatedly emphasized as a direct predictor of project success (Liu et al., 2015). The role of TM support is not only allocating the required resources, but most importantly their participation, involvement and commitment throughout the project implementation stages (Dong et al., 2009). Although top management (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. According to Armstrong and Sambamurthy (1999) and Hambrick and Mason (1984), TM is defined as the person(s) with overall responsibility for the organization (Armstrong & Sambamurthy, 1999; Hambrick & Mason, 1984). Existing literature on EIS project implementation tends to focus primarily 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. This means gaining an understanding that the necessary supports and dissimilar needs from TM might be less important than understanding the TMCs and their influence on the success of EIS projects in order to stimulate these characteristics for more involvement and stronger commitment. In so doing, there is a need to investigate 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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