Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Meeting with a colleague

It seems that I didn't mention this during October, when I was working heavily on my literature review, but one of the papers on user satisfaction didn't seem to have a journal reference (it turns out that I was looking at a pre-print which has yet to be published). I looked at the list of authors and realised that most (if not all) of them are affiliated with Ben Gurion University in Israel. I contacted one of the authors only to be told that she was abroad and to try again in a few weeks.

Once contact was made, we discussed a few things and made a tentative date to meet. That date got postponed a few times but was kept yesterday. Ben Gurion University is in north Be'er Sheva and has a railway station within easy walking distance. Although there is no direct train from Bet Shemesh to Be'er Sheva, it's very easy to make the journey, which lasts only 80 minutes (including a 15 minute wait between trains). Thus yesterday I worked until lunchtime, drove to the railway station, caught the train and arrived at BGU an hour and a half later. I met the author (who is a part-time lecturer at BGU) and had a riveting one and a half hour conversation. Then it was back to the railway station and home by 5:30pm.

One of the conclusions from the discussion (which was by no means centered around my research) was that almost all research into user satisfaction and/or user resistance has taken place in companies moving from non-ERP to ERP systems. I want to look at more mature implementations, a subject which seems not to have been examined. An interesting point arose when I mentioned that earlier that day I had spoken to a new employee about training: although the ERP implementation in the company may be mature, most new employees normally start with no ERP experience. So this issue of mature implementations is not the only factor at play, here: the user's experience with ERP seems to be more important.

Another interesting issue came up when I mentioned the possibility of researching some British companies and comparing the results to Israeli companies. She thought that this was a very good idea (not necessarily for the doctorate but for a later paper) but suggested that this be carried out by means of a qualitative case study which could require researching only two or three companies in each country. This idea has 'game changing' potential but I think that it should be left aside for the time being.

We were talking about English comprehension and the difficulty that she has in preparing a paper in English, even though she knows exactly what she wants to write (maybe I can help here). Anyway, she mentioned a nice joke (which is funny to the cognoscenti): in her course on ERP implementation, she mentions that one of the important factors is change management (knowing how to manage change). One of her less capable students wrote in an exercise that an important factor in ERP implementation is changing the management - he understood 'change' to be the imperative form of the verb 'to change' and not the noun 'change'. It would seem that the lecture in which this topic arose was held in Hebrew but that the concept appeared in English, for otherwise it's difficult to understand how the student misunderstood. OK: it's not a funny joke.

[SO: 3693; 3, 15, 36
MPP: 574; 1, 1, 6]

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