“Impact of Mental Rehearsal and Enactive Learning on Knowledge Formation: An ERP Study”

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Training is very important for workplace performance (Barrett & O'Connell, 2000; Gupta& Bostrom, 2013). A total of $164.2 billion was spent on training in 2012 by US corporations(ASTD, 2013). Only 13% of the employees were able to perform the newly learned skills while on the job, and only 3% of the employees were able to translate the training provided to reduce cost and improved quality (ASTD, 2005). Corporations need human capital to gain a competitive advantage. Failure to maintain an adequately trained workforce can erode a firm’s competitive advantage. This is especially true in the current digital economy. In fact, training is deemed as a critical component for IS success (Medsker and Medsker, 1987; Nelson and Cheney, 1987; Cronan and Douglas, 1990; Yaverbaum and Nosek, 1992).<br><br>In this essay, enterprise resource planning (ERP) is chosen as the context to study the effectiveness of training interventions. Developing an effective ERP training intervention makes strong business sense due to the following characteristics of ERP systems:<br><br>(1) ERP systems have been plagued by high failure rates (Aladwani, 2001). As many as 60%of ERP implementations fail (May, Dhillon, and Caldeira, 2013). This has led researchers to list Critical Success Factors (CSFs) related to ERP implementation success, and nearly22 CSF are listed (Colmenares and Otieno, 2005). Although CSFs have provided invaluable guidance in ERP implementation, ERP failure rates continue to be high.<br><br>(2) ERP implementation often changes the focal organization’s business processes. It has been empirically shown that ERP implementation changes employees’ perceptions about the nature of their jobs (Morris and Venkatesh, 2010; Sykes, Venkatesh, and Johnson,2014). These changes can lead users to resist the ERP system (Klaus and Blanton,2010). Previous research has investigated the factors responsible for user resistance. It has been found that in addition to the job/task design changes espousing ERPresistance, many users genuinely do not know to perform their task in the face of process changes implemented by ERP systems. The following quote (Robey et al. 2002)illustrates this point, “For example, a PlastiCo respondent noted that practicing on sample data did not prepare employees for live implementation: It's like turning out the lights; people didn't know where they were going" (p. 28). Recent research ERP system use has shown that users with a lack of tacit knowledge about ERP business processes have difficulty in using the system (Freeze and Schmidt, 2015). <br><br>(3) In the wake of competitive pressures, rapid changes in the business environment, and dynamic and unpredictable economic conditions, most large organizations are seeking to optimize their operations (Cronan and Douglas, 2012). One way to optimize operations is to streamline business processes such as sales, marketing, and procurement (Cronan and Douglas, 2012) to achieve functional efficiencies. ERP systems promise to be the vehicle for achieving such functional efficiencies. As a result, ERP implementations across large corporations are on the rise. ERP implementation causes a focal firm’s business processes to undergo re-engineering and consolidation (Gattiker and Goodhue, 2005), leading to workflows that span across cross-functional systems. Thus, the need for adequately trained employees considerably. Traditionally, colleges have delivered education in specific functions (Cannon, Klein, Koste, and 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 cross-functional systems3(Malekzadeh, 1998). Against this backdrop, it becomes imperative that students are accustomed to basic business process integration (Downe, Loke, Ho, and Taiwo, 2012).Given the rapid adoption of ERP systems, the need for an adequately prepared workforce, and high failure rates of ERP systems, end-user training presents itself as a possible solution to improve the situation. In fact, training has been recognized as one of the most important critical success factors (CSFs) and is ranked the third most important factor for ERP success. (Carton, Adam, and Sammon, 2008).In spite of recognizing the importance of user training, theoretically grounded research onERP training interventions is rare (Dorobăţ, and Năstase, 2012). There are few empirical studies on ERP systems (Morris and Venkatesh 2010; Sykes et al. 2014), while the majority are in the form of case studies. Empirical ERP studies (Morris and Venkatesh 2010; Sykes et al. 2014)have explored issues of job satisfaction and job performance, but empirical investigation on ERP training intervention is scarce. Recent studies (Cronan and Douglas, 2012) have explored an ERPsimulation called ERPsim for training purposes. The promise of the ERP simulation to work effectively as a training tool, coupled with the fact that the research on effective ERP training interventions is scarce (King and Burgess 2008), and presents IS researchers an appropriate and timely opportunity to develop theory-based ERP training interventions. As explained earlier, in order to achieve the benefits of an ERP system, the users/employees need to be adequately trained in business processes and technical skills associated with ERP systems. This study addresses this issue by examining the effectiveness of an ERP training intervention using the enactive context of simulation. Theoretically, it is focused on the following objectives: <br><br>(1) Examine relationships between observational learning processes as the training is based on Bandura's SCT. According to SCT, humans learn and acquire new skills through four processes of observational learning (attention, retention, production, and motivation). (2) Examine the effectiveness of the training intervention which combines vicarious learning, enactive learning, and mental rehearsal in a technology-mediated context of ERPsimulation. Contingent on the effectiveness of the training intervention, I further conducted post-hoc analyses to understand the difference between the intervention and control group.<br><br>According to SCT, humans learn via observational learning (OL) processes of attention, retention, production, and motivation. This article developed and tested a nomological model of relationships among OL processes. It also examined the effectiveness of a mental rehearsal training intervention in the technology-mediated training context of Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) simulation. To do so, a between-subjects two-group quasi-experiment with n= 150 was conducted, where the control group received training which espoused vicarious learning as well as enactive learning to form the baseline. The treatment group was exposed to additional mental rehearsal. The results supported the hypothesized model of observational learning. Further, the mental rehearsal (i.e., intervention) group formed knowledge structures that shared greater similarity with ERP experts’ knowledge structures compared to the control group. The treatment group also scored significantly higher in terms of business process knowledge and integration knowledge compared to the control group.
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Jun 22 2020
EventGlobal Information Technology Management Association (GITMA) - Initally Paris, France (now online due to Covid 19)
Duration: Jun 22 2020Jun 22 2020


ConferenceGlobal Information Technology Management Association (GITMA)


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