ERP Customization Failure: Institutionalized Accounting Practices, Power Relations and Market Forces

A.O.R. Kholeif, M. Abdel-Kader, M. Sherer

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


Purpose The paper aims to examine a detailed case study of enterprise resource planning (ERP) customization failure in an Egyptian state-owned company (AML) by drawing on new institutional sociology (NIS) and its extensions. It explains how ERP customization failure is shaped by the interplay between institutionalised accounting practices, conflicting institutions, power relations and market forces. Design/methodology/approach The research methodology is based on using an intensive case study informed by NIS, especially the interplay between conflicting institutions, power relations and market forces. Data were collected from multiple sources, including interviews, observations, discussions and documentary analysis. Findings The findings revealed that the inability of the ERP system to meet the core accounting requirements of the control authorities (the central agency for accountability) was the explicit reason cited for the ERP failure. The externally imposed requirements of the uniform accounting system and planning budgets were used to resist both other institutional pressures (from the holding company for engineering industries) and market and competitive pressures. Research limitations/implications There are some limitations associated with the use of the case study method, including the inability to generalize from the findings of a single case study, some selectivity in the individuals interviewed, and the subjective interpretation by the researchers of the empirical data. Practical implications The paper identifies that the interplay between institutional pressures, institutionalised accounting practices, intra-organizational power relations, and market forces contributed to the failure to embed ERP in a major company. Understanding such relationships can help other organisations to become more aware of the factors affecting successful implementation of new ERP systems and provide a better basis for planning the introduction of new technologies. Originality/value This paper draws on recent research and thinking in sociology, especially the development and application of NIS. In addition, the paper is concerned with ERP implementation and use and management accounting in a transitional economy, Egypt, and hence contributes to debate about exporting Western accounting practices and other technologies to countries with different cultures and different stages of economic and political development
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)250-269
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Accounting & Organizational Change
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 25 Sept 2007


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