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The role of enterprise resource planning in entrenching business processes in a selected organisation in the Western Cape, South Africa
The main objective of research is to determine how business processes influenced by corporate strategy can be entrenched in an organisation. Organisations rely on business processes to deliver product and services to customers and meet organisational goals. Several process weaknesses prevail in organisations and impede process performance. Organisations merely focus on technical aspects of the transformation to address efficiency and effectiveness in business processes and tend to ignore the social elements attached to the transformation which bring considerable changes in the employees working environment. Human attitude and behaviour can thus impede process change and entrenchment. As a result, the change endeavour fails, and processes are not entrenched. The study thus gave due consideration to the socio-technical elements because process relies on human intervention to progress at some points. The study aimed to understand and interpret how business processes can be entrenched in an organisation and used a selected organisation in the Western Cape, Cape Town as a case study. To address the main research objective three subordinated objectives were developed and a main research question and three sub-research questions were investigated. Given the human element involved in the process transformation, the phenomenon is a socially constructed reality that can be understood and interpreted using a social theory. Actor Network Theory (ANT) was used as a lens through which to understand and interpret the factors influencing the entrenchment of business processes. It is argued that enterprise resource planning (ERP) influences both technical and non-technical factors involved in process entrenchment and that entrenchment emanates from the alignment of interests of social, process and technology actors. An interpretative paradigm applies to the study where qualitative philosophy was followed together with the underpinning theory. The theory and review of literature were used to develop semi-structured interview schedules to collect opinions from participants. The research participants included twenty-one managers at senior, middle and lower level positions from the Finance, HR and IST departments of the studied organisation. Ethical considerations applied to this research relate to the data collection process and the disclosure of the research findings. Data collection was approved by the institution under study to ensure confidentiality and non-violation of organisation policies. In addition, interview questions were reviewed by senior managers to ensure that the information obtained would not hurt the reputation of the organisation. The research findings revealed that actors need to be transformed and supported to accommodate the change and that the principles of ERP can be implemented as a strategy to lead the process transformation and entrenchment. The research generated a general framework to guide the use of technical and non-technical factors to influence process entrenchment. As such, recommendations are made to actors of process transformation to ensure entrenchment.