پیاده سازی پشت سر هم برنامه ریزی منابع سازمانی و سیستم های مدیریت دانش: پرورش بهره وری و نوآوری تکمیلی
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||تعداد صفحات مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی|
|12159||2003||28 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید|
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Information and Organization, Volume 13, Issue 1, January 2003, Pages 25–52
This paper examines the simultaneous implementation within a single organization of two contemporary managerial information systems—Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and Knowledge Management (KM). Exploring their simultaneous deployment within an organization provides an opportunity to examine the resulting interactions and impacts. More specifically, we examine their combined influence on improving organizational efficiency and flexibility, two outcomes which traditional organizational theory suggests are incompatible. Through an interpretative case study, the research confirms that: (1) the two systems can be implemented in tandem to good effect; (2) complementarity between the two systems is possible, although this is not an automatic outcome, it has to be fostered. This complementarity is analyzed in relation to the four mechanisms (namely partitioning, enrichment, metaroutines and switching) proposed by Adler, Goldoftas and Levine (Organization Science 10 (1999) 43), as vital for the simultaneous development of organizational efficiency and flexibility.
Within the field of IS/IT there has been a tendency to embrace new concepts so that the field has been populated by example after example of one fad or fashion after another (Galliers & Newell, 2001). A key problem here is that these ‘latest fads’ often appear to disregard past learning from the IS/IT literature. So, for example, while Davenport (1996) belatedly referred to Business Process Reengineering (BPR) as ‘the fad that forgot people’, so Knowledge Management (KM) has been criticized for emphasizing technology at the expense of people (Scarbrough, Swan & Preston, 1999). Moreover, these different IS/IT fashions are often conceptually rather different from one another. Indeed, it has been argued that each new fashion follows on from the last in the sense that it addresses the problems that were an unintended negative consequence of the previous one (Benders & van Veen, 2001). For example, BPR was typically associated with down-sizing, which meant that many employees were made redundant as organizations sought to improve the efficiency of their business processes and reduce costs. Many organizations subsequently found that an unintended negative consequence of their BPR initiative was a loss of organizational knowledge, which they had quite literally allowed to ‘walk out the door’ in the form of redundant employees. Subsequent KM initiatives were arguably a response to this problem. What this faddishness means in practice is that many companies introduce new IS/IT concepts, often in quick succession. Indeed, two or more new IS/IT fashions may be being implemented simultaneously within a given company. Given that the implementation of multiple systems is likely to produce effects that are different than the effects of implementing a single system, research investigating the simultaneous implementation of IS/IT concepts would seem to be an issue worthy of investigation. This is so especially where the particular IS/IT concepts being introduced concurrently are rather different in their underlying philosophy. This then, is the focus of this paper. We explore the impact of the concurrent implementation of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and a Knowledge Management (KM) system within a single case company. Both ERP and KM systems are currently being widely implemented across organizations (see, for example, respectively Communications of the ACM, 2000 and Alavi and Leidner, 2001). In all probability they are being implemented simultaneously, or at least their implementations overlap in many companies, as in the case company described in this paper. Specifically, we examine the impact of introducing these two initiatives simultaneously within a single organization. In this introductory section we examine the key defining characteristics of ERP and KM systems. ERP systems have been defined as enterprise-wide packages that tightly integrate business functions into a single system with a shared database (Lee & Lee, 2000). They have also been characterized as comprehensive software solutions that integrate organizational processes through shared information and data flows (Shanks & Seddon, 2000). Thus, ERP systems are marketed as a vehicle for integrating the core business activities of an enterprise, such as finance, logistics and human resources, and as a means of overcoming problems associated with so-called “legacy systems” (Communications of the ACM, 2000). They are based on developing a common IT infrastructure and common business processes. Previously, especially in larger globally distributed corporations, many incompatible systems and processes co-existed, making integration difficult. The suggestion is that ERP systems can play an important part in leveraging organizational competitiveness through improving the way in which strategically valuable information is produced, shared and managed across functions and locations. ERP systems, then, have been strongly promoted, promising improved competitiveness through increasing productivity, reducing costs and improving decision quality and resource control, thereby enabling leaner production (Communications of the ACM, 2000). In other words, ERP systems are promoted as systems that will improve organizational efficiency through both enhanced information capture and organizational redesign around defined best practices. Thus, the hope of increasing productivity and efficiency, particularly the management of global operations (Glover, Prawitt & Romney, 1999), as a means of raising organizational competitiveness (Davenport, 1998), underlies firms’ motivations for adopting ERP systems. KM systems emphasize how firms can enhance competitive advantage through more effective utilization of their knowledge assets. This is to be achieved by allowing free flow of knowledge across organizations (Starbuck, 1992). Through improved knowledge sharing and knowledge creation, flexibility and innovation should be enhanced (von Krogh, Ichijo & Nonaka, 2000). In the growing body of literature on KM it has become clear that there are different approaches that can be adopted to the management of knowledge. For example, Hansen, Nohria and Tierney (1999) differentiate between a personalization and a codification strategy. They argue for the adoption of one or other approach (using the 80–20 rule) as it is unlikely that a firm will be strong in both. In their terms, a personalization strategy focuses on sharing and creating knowledge through face-to-face interaction; in particular relying on teams and communities of practice (Brown & Duguid, 1991). A codification strategy, on the other hand, relies on IT to transfer written documents—explicit knowledge in other words—between individuals and groups. In a similar way, Scarbrough et al. (1999) distinguish between a cognitive and community approach to KM and argue that each is relevant in different contexts. The cognitive approach, like the codification strategy, involves the transfer of explicit knowledge and is useful where senders and receivers share a common understanding. The community approach, like the personalization strategy, involves the sharing of tacit knowledge (Polanyi, 1966) and is useful where the goal is knowledge creation in the context of multi-disciplinary teams (von Krogh et al., 2000). In many ways, this distinction between a personalization/community approach and a codification/cognitive approach to KM mirrors the distinction between organizational designs that promote either efficiency or flexibility (see below). More importantly, the literature is increasingly emphasizing the importance of the personalization/community approach, at least for promoting innovation and flexibility. For example, McElroy (2000) distinguishes between KM strategies that emphasize dissemination, imitation and exploitation (i.e. first-generation KM) and those that promote education, innovation and exploration (i.e. second-generation KM). In second-generation KM the focus moves from the supply of knowledge to creating and maintaining the conditions required for the production of knowledge. McElroy argues that there is a need to shift the emphasis from first-generation to second-generation KM. Whether in practice such a shift is happening is more debatable. The research evidence to date on firms’ KM initiatives suggests that IT solutions dominate (Alavi & Leidner, 2001). Nevertheless, in the case company to be discussed here, the KM initiative was very much within the frame of second-generation KM, focusing on building communities, training and developing staff, and on improving innovation and flexibility. Thus, the key characteristics of ERP and KM systems suggest that they are rather different in their orientation: with ERP systems focusing primarily on efficiency and KM systems, at least second-generation KM systems, on flexibility and innovation. Yet, as we will consider in more detail in the next section, organizational theory has traditionally posited a dilemma or tension between efficiency and flexibility/innovation. In other words, traditionally it has been assumed that a company must either focus on efficiency or flexibility since it cannot do both ( Thompson, 1967). This would suggest that there may be problems for a company attempting to introduce ERP and KM systems simultaneously. In the case company we specifically focus on the impact of this joint implementation on organizational efficiency and flexibility. Before turning to the efficiency–flexibility debate, it is important to note that, in practice, any given IT/IS system has interpretative flexibility (Weick, 2001). As a result, the outcome of any IT implementation is emergent (Brown & Eisenhardt, 1997), since there will always be scope for improvisation (Ciborra, 1999) in technology and technology use. As Orlikowski (2000; 407) notes: “Through their regular engagement with a particular technology (and some or all of its inscribed properties) in particular ways in particular conditions, users repeatedly enact a set of rules and resources which structures their ongoing interaction with that technology”. Indeed, in the literature on management fashions the conceptual ambiguity of new ideas is seen as a key ingredient to promote widespread diffusion (Kieser, 1997). Specifically, a concept’s ambiguity means that potential users can eclectically select those elements that appeal to them and fit their current purposes (Benders & van Veen, 2001). Thus, Ortmann (1995) maintains that a concept must have ‘interpretative viability’ to stand a chance of broad dissemination. Within the context of adoption, therefore, the concept must be translated. Put more eloquently, it must “fight its way through a semipermeable organizational membrane consisting of existing power networks, organizational cultures and subcultures” (Doorewaard & van Bijsterveld, 2001; 55). For this reason, IS/IT implementation projects often have unanticipated and contradictory consequences (Robey & Boudreau, 1999). We take up this issue in this paper and explore the ways in which the ERP and KM systems were interpreted by the different groups within the case company and how this impacted on organizational efficiency and flexibility. The paper is structured as follows. We first briefly introduce the conceptual foundations of this research by reviewing aspects of the literature concerned with organizational efficiency and flexibility in dealing with environmental opportunities and imperatives. This is followed by a description of the research context and the methods employed in this empirical study. We go on to discuss the findings arising from the case study and conclude by identifying both theoretical and practical implications.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
We have noted the tendency in the fi eld of IS/IT to embrace new concepts and technologies without due regard to past learning, and in isolation one from another. BPR was one such fad (Davenport, 1996); ERP and KM are in danger of being the latest in a long line of similar examples. This study has attempted to counter this trend in two respects. First, by considering the implementation of ERP and KM systems simultaneously, it has demonstrated how a particular organization was able to promote both fl exibility/innovation as well as ef fi ciency. Second, it reinforces the point that IT initiatives work best in contexts where there are socio-political process initiatives taking place in tandem (Markus, 1983). Rather than arguing on the side of the personalization/community approach as against its codi fi cation/cognitive counterpart (Hansen et al., 1999; Scarbrough, Swan & Preston, 1999), we have attempted an interpretation of a particular case example that tends to demonstrate that a balanced perspective can assist in exploiting explicit knowledge and in explor- ing, sharing and creating tacit knowledge simultaneously. With careful and astute management, we interpret the experience of Company A as giving some optimism in “ squaring the circle ” of the long-standing ef fi ciency- fl exibility trade-off (Clark & Staunton, 1989) through the strategic implementation of potentially complementary IS/IT initiatives. More speci fi cally, the discussion of similarities and differences of ERP and KM initiatives has revealed that the two systems can be implemented in tandem to good effect. Thus, while ERP emphasizes the improvement of information processing ef fi ciency, KM can facilitate the simultaneous development of organizational knowl- edge exploration and exploitation capability. The distinctive orientation and focus of each system has indicated how a speci fi c set of managerial issues can be addressedthrough the implementation of either ERP or KM. More critically, their distinc- tiveness surfaces the potential to implement simultaneously the two systems based on their complementary characteristics, thus leveraging their respective strengths. As is evident from the analysis, playing to the respective strengths of ERP and KM in tandem enables a process by which organizational ef fi ciency and fl exibility can be simultaneously developed. Moreover, overcoming their limitations can be enabled by the alignment of organizational capabilities in information processing, knowledge exploration and exploitation. Notwithstanding, there will doubtless be unexpected, and at times negative outcomes resulting, in addition to the positive and planned for bene fi ts.