PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to adopt an institutional theory perspective to investigate the adoption of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems by medium-sized firms in India. The rationale for this study is to provide a more complete understanding of ERP adoption, moving beyond the traditional technical and economic perspectives to include social, cultural and structural influences. These later influences are more implicit, insidious and pervasive and hence require elucidatory studies such as this, but offer a greater understanding of the adoption of information systems (IS).Design/methodology/approachThe study is undertaken by means of nine case studies of medium-sized firms in India that have adopted ERP systems. Qualitative interviews were undertaken with a range of staff in each firm and are supplemented by data from other sources such as site visit notes.FindingsInstitutionally based studies have tended to focus on three high-level isomorphic pressures: coercive, normative and mimetic. The study identifies number of more detailed factors that contribute to each of these three pressures. These more detailed factors are then used to consider how factors can interact and how they can explain aspects of the Indian context of the study.Originality/valueThe conceptual contribution of this study is to move beyond the technical and economic rationales frequently identified for the adoption of IS by identifying influences that are social, cultural and structural in nature. The study shows that the three high-level isomorphic pressures, mimetic, coercive and normative are comprised of more detailed factors. The empirical contribution of the paper is to identify these detailed factors, and to explore their influence, in the case of ERP adoption by Indian medium-sized firms. The study is of value to practitioners, since it is at the detailed level of factors that managers can recognize the forces they are subject to and can take action. It is also valuable to researchers since the detailed factors help address two limitations of institutional theory; a lack of agency perspective and a degree of conceptual ambiguity.
Journal of Enterprise Information Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Oct 10, 2016
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