Researching ERP adoption: an internet‐based grounded theory approach

Dave Oliver (Faculty of Informatics and Communication, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia)
Greg Whymark (Faculty of Informatics and Communication, Central Queensland University, Rockhampton, Australia)
Celia Romm (Information Systems and Manufacturing, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Online Information Review

ISSN: 1468-4527

Publication date: 1 December 2005



This research seeks to investigate the introduction of new information and communication technology systems and to describe the development of a conceptual model of enterprise resource‐planning systems adoption based on the published rationales organizations use to justify their adoption.


The study uses a grounded theory approach to building the conceptual model from electronically distributed documents. These documents were selected from a sample of universities which adopted enterprise resource‐planning systems.


This paper reports on the use of grounded theory in the internet context. The study found that there were strong similarities between justifications and reported motives. The study noted that justifications concerning financial, work‐life and organisational‐mission issues were relatively minor.

Research limitations/implications

This model is built on published justifications, which should not be confused with motives. This picture may distort reality by over‐emphasising some rationales and under‐representing others.

Practical implications

This paper may be of interest to researchers considering the use of grounded theory in their research project.


This paper describes how grounded theory was used to construct a model of the rationales for adopting enterprise resource‐planning systems from electronically sourced documents. The paper is of interest to researchers in information systems and those conducting grounded theory research on the internet.



Oliver, D., Whymark, G. and Romm, C. (2005), "Researching ERP adoption: an internet‐based grounded theory approach", Online Information Review, Vol. 29 No. 6, pp. 585-603.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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