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Multisite enterprise resource planning (ERP) system implementations are a challenge faced by organizations. One of the facets of this challenge is to balance the central control of the multisite implementation with the unique requirements desired by each of the sites. The competing interests of the individual sites against the other sites as well as the total organization are forces at work with respect to the collective interest of the organization’s ERP. The study seeks to gain insights into the dynamics of a multisite organizational ERP implementation by analyzing the motivations and challenges in the interactive relationship. The grounded theory approach is utilized in analyzing the data from this research to gain a deeper understanding of the underpinnings of the organization in relationship to its ERP system. This research examines the case of a multisite ERP system at the University of Nebraska where four campuses or sites are involved (i.e., University of Nebraska at Kearney, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Nebraska at Omaha, and iii University of Nebraska Medical Center). The scenario represented by this organization provides a multi-location example for understanding the ERP relationship challenges. The investigation will provide proposed guidelines and suggestions for organizations facing similar dynamic ERP issues. Through the search for an understanding of the dialectic relationship between a central governing body and the sites, nine dialectic forces in a multisite ERP system have been identified by this research. Three of them are bureaucracy, goal communication, and leadership by central governing body. The other six forces are goal alignment, solution frustration, size inequivalence among the sites, unique business models of sites, adequacy of communication, and site independence. These dialectic forces create challenges in managing multisite ERP implementations.
Advisor: Fiona Fui-Hoon Nah