ERP Implementations – the pitfalls of a positivist outlook
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Abstract Research into Enterprises Resource Planning Systems (ERP) has shown a disconcerting failure of implementations in organisations. This is alarming considering the phenomenal industry uptake of ERP's over the past decade. The reasons for such failure are not forthcoming however it is argued that domination of a positivist research paradigm gives little or no insight into why ERP's fail. Such research approaches are insufficient in that the focus is on surface elements (i.e. empirical data from one perspective) and cannot account accurately for large scale ERP implementations which involve complex interaction of social, technical and political elements. The case for a broader multidisciplinary research perspective that draws from existing models, methodologies and philosophises is advanced in order to establish a more holistic view of the reasons why ERP systems fail. This paper establishes two parallel trends, namely the scope of ERP failures and reliance of Information Systems research on positivist methods. A key argument is then made for a more diverse approach to Information Systems research in order to gain a more comprehensive understanding of ERP failures which could be used to generate more effective implementation solutions. The paper concludes with an exploration of the implications for widening the methodologies employed in Information Systems research.
Proceedings of the 10th Annual Conference of Asia-Pacific Decision Sciences Institute