Cross-cultural Frictions in Information System Management: Research Perspectives on ERP Implementation Misfits in Thailand

  •  Régis Meissonier    
  •  Emmanuel Houzé    
  •  Véronique Bessière    


Today, enterprise systems (ERP) are considered as ones of most impacting IT on business and decision processes because of their cross-functional perspective and readiness to change. As a consequence, a lack of “organisational fit” is observed as the main failure cause of ERP implementation. A lot of acts of resistance are observed as being task oriented and related to the non-appropriateness of IT that users have to cope with. Existing literature provides practical knowledge about conflict types and conflict management styles related to process and task misalignment between ERP and corporation needs. However, few researches were made about cultural misfits. Indeed, when an organisation is composed of several sub-cultures, the use of ERP can be problematic because mandating one epistemological position through the software design is based on “best practices”. Subsidiaries of multinational corporations have their own subculture varying in their national cultural content. Value conflicts may arise from inconsistency between cultural principles of users or groups of users and the perceived underlying strategic objectives assigned to IT implementation. Expending the classical Schein triadic model with the concept of “cultural friction”, this paper provides a critical analysis of cultural dimension misalignment between ERP standard processes and Thai managerial culture. Key theoretic discussed dimensions are Ego orientation (“Kreng Jai”) and, Social orientation (“Bunkhun”). The article concludes that failing projects are more about the way ERP ought to be implemented than about the system itself.

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