Reductionism and complex thinking in ERP systems implementations

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This paper contrasts complex thinking and reductionism during broad organizational transformation processes, focusing on Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) rage. ERP implementations have resulted in huge investments for companies around the globe over the last few years, and have been promoted as a management panacea. Not surprisingly, many implementations have failed to live up to expectations. For those dealing with organizational change, the ERP phenomenon may sound uncomfortably familiar. This study introduces the phenomenon, presents a summary of an exploratory field survey of 28 implementation experiences and discusses reductionism in the realm of ERP implementations. It is argued that by applying complex thinking, rather than techno-reductionism and systemic-reductionism, we may open new avenues towards explaining the phenomenon.

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