Scandinavian Working Papers in Business Administration

SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration,
Stockholm School of Economics

No 2005:3: Consultant supported ERP implementation – a learning opportunity?

Andreas Werr ()
Additional contact information
Andreas Werr: Center for People and Organization, The Economic Research Institute, Postal: Stockholm School of Economics, P.O. Box 6501, SE-113 83 Stockholm, Sweden

Abstract: Management consultants are often described as accumulators, generators and disseminators of knowledge in the business world. Little research has however been devoted to the extent to which and the processes by which organizations hiring management consultants learn. This issue is addressed in the current paper based on a study of a consultant-supported ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) implementation project. It is concluded, that projects in which consultants and employees of the hiring organization interact extensively provide large opportunities for individual learning. This learning is facilitated by the braking down of organizational boundaries in the improvement project, enabling open and intense interaction. Tensions were however observed between the improvement project and employees in day-to-day operations. The collaboration in this interface was more strained and thus impeded learning and knowledge creation within the day-to-day business. These barriers between the improvement project and the daily operations were created by the same forces that created the open atmosphere between consultants and client personnel in the project.

Keywords: Management Consulting; Learning; Knowledge transfer; ERP implementation

25 pages, April 22, 2005

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