Date of Graduation

5-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Information Systems

Advisor

Fred D. Davis

Committee Member

Timothy P. Cronan

Second Committee Member

Christine C. Davis

Third Committee Member

Gary Peters

Keywords

Education; Social sciences; Applied sciences; Enterprise resource planning; Enterprise systems; Knowledge structures; Pathfinder network; Rea accounting; Simulation-based information systems; User satisfaction

Abstract

Enterprise systems implementations are often high cost and high risk with many companies failing to achieve their targeted business objectives. At the individual level, negative user reactions to enterprise systems lead to resistance to IT use, counter-productive adaptations, and reduced job satisfaction. Factors that contribute to these individual level effects include a lack of understanding of reengineered business processes and a lack of understanding of economic interdependencies. In this research, a computer-based business simulation educational intervention is investigated to determine its effectiveness in facilitating enterprise systems knowledge acquisition and promoting job satisfaction. Simulation-based education utilizes an experiential learning model, immersing participants in a realistic, dynamic business environment. This dissertation consists of three related essays. Two essays compare simulation-based education against traditional education to determine their relative effectiveness at imparting enterprise business process knowledge (essay 1), business motivational knowledge of economic interdependencies (essay 2), and at influencing job satisfaction. In essays 1 and 2, user knowledge structures are assessed using concept relatedness measures and analyzed using established Pathfinder network structure techniques. Results support the importance of accurate business process knowledge and understanding of enterprise economic interdependencies as antecedents to improved job satisfaction but the two types of knowledge appear to operate differently. Business process knowledge has a relatively stronger effect on perceptions of opportunities and control over the technology; whereas business motivational knowledge resulted in stronger reductions to perceptions of threat relative to a positive influence on opportunity. These influences all led to greater enterprise systems satisfaction among users. Essay 3 investigates salient factors of simulation-based education as an effective transitional intervention for enterprise change management. Based on the organizational behavior concept of realistic job previews, a new concept of realistic technology previews is introduced to IT change management. Simulation education is evaluated for its ability to provide a safe and supportive `transitional space' facilitating IT adaptation by improving IT self-efficacy and improving cognitive appraisals which influence ES job satisfaction. Overall, results of these essays support the importance of user knowledge of business processes and economic relations to improve job satisfaction and adaption to enterprise systems. Simulation-based education is found to be superior to traditional education in imparting business process knowledge. Further, use of simulation-based enterprise systems education is found to positively influence IT self-efficacy and to provide a realistic technology preview, both of which improve cognitive appraisals resulting in higher enterprise systems job satisfaction.

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