Examining Impact of Simulation on Knowledge Structures: An Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Study

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


In response to increasing competitive pressures, rapid changes in the business environment, and dynamic and unpredictable economic conditions, most large organizations are seeking to optimize their operations. One way to optimize operations is by streamlining business processes such as sales, marketing, and procurement is the implementation of ERP systems to achieve functional efficiency. Traditionally, colleges have delivered education in specific functions (Cannon, Klein, Koste, & Magal, 2004) such as marketing, operations, and accounting. This type of approach has been criticized, as it does not adequately prepare students for careers that increasingly span across functional systems (Malekzadeh, 1998), and corporations struggle to find adequately train employees (Downe, Loke, Ho & Taiwo, 2012). Thus, more research on ERP training is needed. Extant research on the effectiveness of ERP training has largely focused on perceptual measures of training effectiveness as well as on the case studies. Despite recognizing the importance of user training, theoretically grounded research on ERP training interventions is rare. This paper intends to fill the aforementioned gap by quantifying the change in knowledge structures of trainees as a result of ERP training. The mental model theory is used as a lens to examine training effectiveness. We hypothesize that ERP training using simulation leads to an observable change in the knowledge structures of the trainees. To test this hypothesis, knowledge structures of 75 trainees (students in an ERP class) were measured before and after ERP training. Knowledge structures were measured as a “mental map” of related concepts in the ERP domain. These concepts were derived after discussion with instructors and practitioners of ERP. Trainee knowledge structures were compared to a referent set of knowledge structures obtained from ERP experts before and after training using Pathfinder software. Results indicate that there is an observable change in trainee’s knowledge structure toward the experts, providing the objective evidence of training effectiveness. We also measure other training outcomes such as business process knowledge, self-efficacy, integration knowledge, and transaction knowledge before and after the training. These variable serve as additional indicators of training effectiveness and are borrowed from prior research on ERP training.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Aug 2016
EventGlobal Information Technology Management Association (GITMA) -
Duration: Aug 1 2016Aug 31 2016


ConferenceGlobal Information Technology Management Association (GITMA)


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