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Remembering and Recalling: The ERP System as an Organizational Memory
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Business Studies.
2011 (English)In: Proceedings of ECIME 2011: The 5th European Conference on Information Management and Evaluation / [ed] Elena Ferrari, 2011, 366-372 p.Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The purpose of an enterprise resource planning (ERP) system is to bring several benefits to the company by using a mutual database and real time data. Empirical studies yet show that several companies judge ERP projects as unsuccessful. Implementing and using ERP systems are complex processes. Organizations must decide what information and knowledge about processes, events and transactions needs to be saved in organizational memory (OM), and thereby be accessible for future use. Organizational procedural memory stores knowledge about how to do things in the organization, while declarative memory stores factual knowledge. How are ERP systems involved in the process of creating and maintaining a purposeful data base in an organization? What are the implications of ineffective information processing? What happens when social structures embedded in the organization come to meet with structures embedded in technology?


The paper is based on a case study of a medium sized Swedish manufacturing company during the process of implementing and using an ERP system. ERP systems are conceptualized as evolving and embedded systems, which are brought into a dynamic social context. The social dimension makes the process of implementing ERP systems complex and indeterminate. The analysis explores the role of ERP systems for successfully creating and maintaining information stored in OM. Particular attention is paid to obstacles that may occur during the process, and how they affect organizational effectiveness. The purpose is to develop an understanding of how ERP systems are involved in information processes characterized by embedded social structures.


The argument is that the aspect of maintenance of information is crucial to realizing the potential of an ERP system, because of the importance to decision making of what information is stored. ERP systems have the technical possibility to store information for a very long time. They will also store incorrect data forever, because they do not discriminate between high and low quality data. ERP systems per se do not create efficient information storage and maintenance. Managers and users need to consciously plan the ERP system as part of OM in order to utilize the potential benefits of the system. To address this need it is important that ERP implementations also deal with organizational, social issues, rather than primarily focus on technological aspects. A technological focus leads to considerations made only in relation to the declarative memory. Organizations need to develop specific procedural memory that concern how to do things connected to ERP system information processing, because the historical procedural memories in organizations do not answer to the needs and tasks connected to this type of ERP system usage.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. 366-372 p.
Keyword [en]
ERP systems, information maintenance, information processing, organizational memory, social structures
National Category
Business Administration
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-158081OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-158081DiVA: diva2:437766
ECIME 2011
Available from: 2011-08-30 Created: 2011-08-30 Last updated: 2011-12-21Bibliographically approved

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