The implementation of Enterprise Resource Planning Systems in different national and organisational cultures
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) packages provide generic off-the-shelf business and software solutions to customers. However, these packages are implemented in companies with different organisational and national cultures, and there is growing evidence that failure to adapt ERP packages to fit these cultures leads to projects which are expensive and overdue. This thesis investigates this impact of national and organisational cultures on the efficiency of ERP implementations. A theory of culture for ERP implementations is proposed. It draws on key theories and models of social and management science. The theory also includes a meta-schema of culture - a meta-model of the critical elements of national and organisational culture and ERP implementations. It provides the reader with a generic definition and model of culture. The theory was evaluated by two studies. The first study was conducted at the finance department of a higher educational establishment. The second study was conducted at 3 subsidiaries of a large multi-national pharmaceutical organisation in the UK, Germany and Scandinavia. Results provided evidence for the impact of organisational and national culture on the efficiency of ERP implementations. Furthermore, the results validated the theory of culture. They demonstrated that the culture-related problems arise because the changes associated with an ERP implementations, violated the employees' expectations (norms). The thesis also presents a method called CAREs (Culturally Aware Realisation of ERP systems) that aims to help ERP implementation teams to identify, explain and predict potential culture-related problems. Three experts evaluated the CAREs method. They were presented with a series of SAP implementation scenarios and were asked with a number of questionnaires to provide feedback on its utility, usability and effectiveness. The results demonstrated that the method is potentially useful to ERP implementation teams. Moreover, the results provided suggestions on how to improve the CAREs method. The thesis concludes with a review of the research hypotheses and a discussion of future work and future directions.