Year

2005

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Information Systems - Faculty of Informatics

Abstract

Throughout the world, contemporary business organisations rely heavily for their operations on various software packages. The choice of particular operational systems and software can have a significant influence on a company's competitive advantage. Managerial decisions regarding all aspects of IT (computer hardware, software and human resources) are central to the success of a company, and cannot be made without a good understanding of available software options. By the same token, the success of the software companies designing software solutions for such companies depends on a rich understanding of the very specific needs of contemporary businesses. The more shared understanding between the needs of a specific type of company and the possibilities of software development, the better the outcome for both sides. This study has identified a problematic lack of knowledge regarding how companies identify their system needs and choose appropriate software vendors and products for one of their most significant areas of operation. The primary purpose of this study was to develop a rich picture of the basis upon which Thai-owned and multinational companies in Thailand make major decisions regarding the software underpinning their various business operations, and what they need to know in order to make the most effective decisions. The study aimed to identify issues, factors and problems as critically involved in IT adoption, and reveal any significant factors in the needs of Thai-owned and multinational companies in Thailand. Specifically, the study began by examining typical application software used to serve major business functions. These include accounting, human resources (HR), customer relationship management (CRM) and supply chain management (SCM); internal IT usage such as the Internet and e-mail; IT platforms, resources and policies or strategies; as well as the specific enterprise system known as an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system. From an initial quantitative study it emerged that ERP systems are currently the most significant IT application of concern for both Thai-owned and multinational companies. As this seems an area of major growth opportunity, a further study was conducted, using qualitative methods, to ascertain exactly how the various companies made their decisions on ERP system adoption. Grounded theory was chosen as a method of qualitative data collection and analysis. The study contributes to the literature on ERP system adoption, which is currently under-researched particularly in developing countries such as Thailand. Even in developed countries where most research into ERP systems has taken place, published research mainly focuses on issues related to the implementation phase of the ERP lifecycle. The study provides insights into adopters' attitudes, decisions, implementation and usage of an ERP system. It is believed that attitude and behavioural intention towards ERP system adoption are correlated. The study contributes to attitude-behaviour relationship theory, refining in particular the Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA). Furthermore, not only does this research contribute to the academic literature on this topic but it should be of value to practitioners in large organisations, government agencies and IT vendors at large, but also particularly to those who have business in Thailand or other Asian or developing countries.

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