This research traces the implementation of an information system in the form of ERP modules covering tenant and contract management in a Chinese service company. Misalignments between the ERP system specification and user needs led to the adoption of informal processes within the organisation. These processes are facilitated within an informal organisational structure and are based on human interactions undertaken within the formal organisation. Rather than to attempt to suppress the emergence of the informal organisation the company decided to channel the energies of staff involved in informal processes towards organisational goals. The company achieved this by harnessing the capabilities of what we term a hybrid ERP system, combining the functionality of a traditional (formal) ERP installation with the capabilities of Enterprise Social Software (ESS). However the company recognised that the successful operation of the hybrid ERP system would require a number of changes in organisational design in areas such as reporting structures and communication channels. A narrative provided by interviews with company personnel is thematised around the formal and informal characteristics of the organisation as defined in the literature. This leads to a definition of the characteristics of the hybrid organisation and strategies for enabling a hybrid organisation, facilitated by a hybrid ERP system, which directs formal and informal behaviour towards organisational goals and provides a template for future hybrid implementations.
Bibliographical note© 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
- enterprise resource planning (ERP)
- enterprise social software (ESS)
- hybrid organisation
- informal organisation