The Influence of Organisational Memory Mismatches and Coping Strategies on ERP Outcomes


  • Brian O'Donovan
  • Lisa seymour
  • Johannes Geldenhuys
  • Mogamat Isaacs
  • Kaziwe Kaulule


ERP systems, organisational memory, ERP usage, ERP customising, ERP training, enterprise systems


ERP systems are intended to encompass and integrate functions of an organisation resulting in organisational efficiencies. However, during the ERP usage stage these intended efficiencies are not always realised. One cause of this is organisational memory mismatches and the resultant coping strategies employed. Organisational memory can be described as the capability of organisations to retain and transmit information from past to future members and is evident in the persistence of organisational features after the implementation of ERP systems. Therefore to realise operational efficiencies, organisational memory mismatches between organisational memory and the ERP system need to be addressed. This is not possible without an understanding of the causes of mismatches and the subsequent coping strategies employed. To address this need, this paper presents an analysis of these mismatches, their causes as well as short‑ and long‑term coping strategies employed, and presents a resultant framework. This paper achieved its purpose through an interpretive case study of a large in‑use ERP system. The main data source was in‑depth interviews with users from 12 functional departments. The research identified causes of mismatches and the long and short‑term coping strategies adopted as a result of these mismatches. Mismatches and short‑term coping strategies were found to contribute to ERP underperformance. However, mismatches did not occur in isolation. Over time, coping strategies employed for one type of mismatch would result in another type of mismatch. In other cases coping strategies merely increased the mismatch. Only long‑term coping strategies rectified mismatches, contributing to ERP efficiency. The findings argue for providing sufficient resources for ongoing organisational capacity for customising and upgrading the system as well as for the training and support of end users. While previous research has focussed on identifying organisational memory mismatches, little research has been done on identifying the causes and the coping strategies. These findings will be useful for ERP implementation teams as well as organisations struggling to achieve organisational efficiencies with their ERP systems.



1 Oct 2010