Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level



Information Systems


Fred D. Davis

Committee Member

Paul Cronan

Second Committee Member

Viswanath Venkatesh

Third Committee Member

Rene Riedl

Fourth Committee Member

Pankaj Setia


Social sciences, Applied sciences, Psychology, Business processes, Enterprise systems, Knowledge structures


As competitive pressures mount, organizations must continue to evolve their business processes in order to survive. Increasingly, firms are developing new IT-enabled business processes in response to rising competition, greater customer expectations, and challenging economic conditions. The success rate of these projects remains low despite much industry experience and extensive academic study. Managerial and organizational cognition represents a potentially fruitful lens for studying the design and implementation of IT-enabled business processes. This view assumes that individuals are information workers who spend their days absorbing, processing, and disseminating information as they pursue their goals and objectives. Individuals develop cognitive representations, called knowledge structures, to represent their complex informational environment. Knowledge structures in turn help individuals to assimilate and process a bewildering flow of informational cues. Given the large degree of communication and information sharing required during the design and implementation of new business processes, it follows that knowledge structures likely play a large role in the success of these projects.

This dissertation, organized as three essays, attempts to address this gap by investigating the influence of knowledge structures on the successful design and implementation of IT-enabled business processes. Essay 1 utilizes a case study method to observe the evolution of knowledge processes and the role of knowledge structures across three large-scale IT projects occurring over a ten-year period at a Fortune 100 company. Essay 2 investigates the knowledge building potential of business process models for both individual- and group-level knowledge. Essay 3 develops an individual-level model of business process appraisal by incorporating constructs from the job/role literatures into a popular IT appraisal mechanism. The resulting business process appraisal model is then tested as an early indicator of project success. Essay 2 and 3 hypotheses were tested using a field study in an organization which recently implemented a new purchasing and receiving process as part of a larger ERP project. Results suggest support for the proposed models. Important implications for research and practice are discussed.