Title

DISCOURSE ON POWER RELATIONS AND ITS IMPACT ON ERP SYSTEMS SECURITY

Abstract

This article conceptualises the effects of power relations wielded by project members and stakeholders during Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) implementation and the impact this has towards ERP system security. Social Exchange Theory (SET) is applied as a lens towards this conceptulaisation. SET is premised on the notion that there is a reward exchange between actors, the main purpose being to maximise benefits and minimise costs. The study looks at SET’s three independent constructs: exchange relation, dependency, and power in relation to ERP system security. Pertinent discourse dwells on power and exchange relations that occur during ERP implementation and how these relations influence ERP systems security generally. The research uses a qualitative approach. Hermeneutical exegesis is used qualitatively towards understanding power, dependency and exchange relation, and how these manifest during ERP implementation on a selected case. Exegesis techniques used include textual criticism and reduction criticism. The contribution of the article is twofold: the article provides for understanding ERP systems security through a developed framework; the article also shows how hermeneutics could be applied in the discipline. Tentative findings reveal for the selected case, that middle level management had applied coercive power to garner support of fellow project members when they felt ERP implementation would threaten specific status quo. For this case, coercive power seemed to have stood out much more (relative to other power typologies) and tended to erode certain controls (segregation of duties) envisaged for a secure ERP system.

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