Enterprise Systems Complexity and its Antecedents: A Grounded-Theory Approach
2010, International Journal of Operations & Production Mgmt
Tobias Schoenherr, Ditmar Hilpert, Ashok K. Soni, M.A. Venkataramanan, Vincent A. Mabert
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to develop a better understanding about drivers of enterprise systems complexity (ESC), as well as its multi-faceted conceptualization. Design/methodology/approach Case studies were conducted among German Mittelstand companies by an international research team. A grounded theory approach was followed, with the first phase of the case studies being exploratory, and the second phase being more focused. Findings Case study findings suggest that ESC is a multi-dimensional construct consisting of the following dimensions: seamlessness, adoption date, number of integrated subsystems, system type/composition, number of functional areas linked, and number of users. Drivers of ESC identified via the case studies include the multi-dimensional constructs of competition, complexity of processes, complexity of products, global operations, and the firm's customer base. Grounded theory development is used to conceptualize the measures of these drivers. Founded in these exploratory observations propositions for future research are developed. Originality/value The research reports on the experiences of companies with enterprise systems (ES), and explores organizational factors determining system complexity; as a sampling frame Mittelstand companies in Southwest Germany are chosen, making this study one of the few exploring ES within this context. The paper also places ESC within theoretical domains, especially the STS theory. The conceptualization of ESC and its antecedents presented provides a starting point for future academic research into this area.
Schoenherr, Tobias, Ditmar Hilpert, Ashok K. Soni, M. A. Venkataramanan, and Vincent A. Mabert (2010), “Enterprise Systems Complexity and its Antecedents: A Grounded-Theory Approach,” International Journal of Operations and Production Management, Vol. 30, No. 6, pp. 639-668.