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The impact of culture on ERP implementation : SAP in China


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Ang, YN 2010 , 'The impact of culture on ERP implementation : SAP in China', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The primary purpose of this research was to study the impact of culture on the
implementation of a Western-developed ERP system (SAP) in an Asian environment
from the local Chinese informant's perspective. Unlike the majority of IS cultural
research into ERP implementation, this study used a qualitative approach. Unstructured
interviews were used on two occasions to collect data from informants during the
implementation with a focus on their personal perceptions and interactions. This
approach was adopted to allow informants to freely express their experiences and
opinions in relations to the implementation. This implies that the researcher did not direct
the interviews with any predetermined questions but rather allow the informants to direct
the focus base on what they saw as important. Data analysis was based on the Seven
Steps framework from Colaizzi (1978). The overall result of this research was that culture
had a positive influence on the implementation of a Western-developed ERP system
(SAP) in China. The findings in the case study showed that while the implementation of
an ERP system had introduced new elements into their work practices and created new
challenges for the informants, they did not see them in terms of cultural differences and
mismatches. Instead, they accepted them as changes that must be accommodated. They
relied on their creativity and innovation to find a better way to make the ERP system
more compatible to their work practices. This is important because contrary to the
common view, cultural misalignment did not cause rejection of the SAP system, and
further a non-Western culture did not necessarily make implementation of Westerndeveloped
ERP systems more difficult to implement in an Asian environment.
Furthermore, the findings in the case study showed that the Chinese cultural values of
Guanxi are important in the management of uncertainties created from environmental
factors and deficiencies in the SAP system. The research described in this thesis
confirmed the usefulness of the National Cultural Dimensions (Hofstede, 1980) and
Situated Culture Theory (Weisinger & Salipante, 2000) for obtaining meaningful insights
that drew together the influences of environmental factors and Chinese culture, and how
the informants dealt with the SAP implementation. The outcome of this research has
provided new insights into an appreciation of different cultural values and an
understanding on how informants intuitively applied them as problem-solving tools. In
addition based on this research, suggestions have been made for future research with a
focus on how culture could be taken into account to support the implementation of new

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Ang, YN
Keywords: Enterprise resource planning, Management information systems, Management information systems
Copyright Holders: The Author
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2010 the Author

Additional Information:

Available for use in the Library and copying in accordance with the Copyright Act 1968, as amended. Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2010. Includes bibliographical references. Ch.1: Introduction -- Ch. 2: Literature review -- Ch.3: Methodology -- Ch.4: Findings -- Ch.5: Discussion and conclusions

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