Knowledge Transfer within ERP Implementations : A Phenomenological Investigation
Abstract: Background The importance of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems is that they redesign organizational processes and structure. The new knowledge embedded in the ERP systems induces substantial changes in the businesses which adopt ERP systems. Furthermore, ERP implementations are socially complex and knowledge-intensive activities as several companies may be involved in a single ERP project and intensive knowledge transfer among these companies is vital for the success of the implementation projects. Purpose To date limited amount of research has been performed in the area of knowledge transfer in ERP implementations. My study answered the following questions: 1. What is the effect of the transfer of knowledge that is associated with ERP implementations? 2. What (if any) knowledge transfer barriers have been identified during the ERP implementation process? 3. What types of activities did the firms initiate to enable the knowledge transfer during the ERP implementation process? Method My research consisted of theoretical and empirical parts. Theoretical part entailed a thorough review of current literature on the ERP systems and knowledge management. Adopting a phenomenological approach I next collected the primary data through interviews and surveys with experts in the ERP implementation projects. Results I have described the area of knowledge transfer within ERP implementation projects and identified connections between ERP implementations and organizational learning. I have also uncovered and analyzed the origins of a number of factors that potentially inhibit or enable the knowledge transfer within implementation projects. I was able to connect the theoretical part of the thesis with empirical data and gained a comprehensive understanding of the phenomena at hand. Major barriers to the knowledge transfer stem from the tacit nature of the knowledge itself and the lack of social relationships within the various stakeholders. Activities organizations engage in are ‘knowledge conversion’ and relationships facilitation within the project team.
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