An interpretive study on the role of top managers in enterprise resource planning (ERP) business value creation
Keywords:ERP, managerial agency, affordances, imbrication, interpretive, case study
This paper contributes to the growing body of literature on enterprise resource planning (ERP) business value by investigating organizational ERP development in view of the active involvement, vision, and direction of top management teams (TMTs). A top-down approach to ERP adoption and implementation was adopted with sociomaterial and social construction assumptions about the mechanisms that generate ERP business value. A single ERP case study was analyzed in an industrial setting by interpretive means, thus providing theoretically based, detailed and interesting insights. Our research suggests that ERP benefits emerge during the TMT’s encounters with the ERP system through pragmatic action and situated improvisations. Our findings suggest that ERP adoption is strongly influenced by TMT characteristics and social processes, while complementary process-change needs are perceived by the executive participation during implementation. We also suggest that when the ERP system goes live, a synergistic relationship termed TMT-IT imbrication will create the technological infrastructure perceived as ERP value. At this postimplementation stage, various TMT characteristics and processes are proposed that greatly influence top managers’ patterns of imbrication behavior. Several propositions are developed and summarized in a framework to enhance the current understanding of managerial agency in achieving business benefits from ERP systems. The paper concludes with implications for top managers and future research directions.