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Exploring the Relationships between Information Technology Adoption and Business Process Reengineering

By Lee, Ya-Ching; Chu, Pin-Yu et al. | Journal of Management and Organization, May 2009 | Go to article overview

Exploring the Relationships between Information Technology Adoption and Business Process Reengineering


Lee, Ya-Ching, Chu, Pin-Yu, Tseng, Hsien-Lee, Journal of Management and Organization


ABSTRACT

This study investigates the impacts of information technology on business process reengineering from intra- and extra-organizational perspectives. This research proposes a framework for facilitating business process reengineering efforts towards competitive organizations. The framework was tested using data from a sample of 382 chief information officers or senior information systems managers, each of whom completed a survey. The survey results indicate that organizational innovation, market pressure and competitive intensity positively affect information technology adoption, which in turn trigger changes or business process in terms of workplace, workforce and business structure.

Keywords: information technology adoption, business process reengineering, organizational innovation

Many firms engaged in business process reengineering (BPR) projects and reported success in costs saving, quality breakthrough, better customer services, time reduction and revenue increases (Davenport & Short 1990; Hammer & Champy 1993; Morris & Brandon 1993). Various experts argue that information technology (IT) is one of the enablers of BPR because technologies can help business to reinforce their competitiveness (Zuboff 1988; Shin 2006). For example, Sarkar and Singh (2006) and Ziaul, Faizul and Ken (2006) think that electronic commerce and enterprise resource planning technologies may change business practices to re-optimize business processes, which leads to increased efficiency and improved performance. Yet, how these technologies affect business practices and business processes remain unclear. Our research objective is to study how IT adoption/diffusion (hereafter, IT adoption) shapes business reengineering process. Prior research usually focuses on one or two enterprise applications, such as electronic commerce or enterprise resource planning. Most of them investigate critical success antecedents or factors affecting adoption of a particular IT (Nah, Zuckweiler & Lau 2003; Wymer & Regan 2005; Al- Qirim 2007; Kang, Park & Yang 2008). As Henderson and Venkatvasman (1991, 1992) and Buckby, Best and Steward (2008) argue that strategic alignment of business and IT is necessary to efficiently use IT assets to assist business management and practices, enterprises have to change organization structure and processes to functionally integrated with internal and external variables. Business value can thus be delivered. We first argue that examination of one kind of technologies will not be a good approach to studying business reengineering. It ignores the mixed effects of various ITs on BPR and misses to offer a complete picture of the relationships between IT adoption and BPR. This paper therefore investigates two common enterprise-wide applications: Resource planning and e-commerce infrastructures (ZDNet Asia 2001; Epicor Software Corporation 2008a,b) to see how technology choices affect and shape BPR. The findings will be valuable in understanding the complexity of IT adoption and predicting outcome of BPR. Second, we identify key intra-organizational factors by including the aspects of innovation that would lead to organizational changes. Third, we argue that extra-organizational factors, competition intensity, market pressure, dynamic environment, could affect IT infrastructure and BPR. Fourth, we distinguish three dimensions of business process changes: long-distance working, impacts of outsourcing to work force and organizational structure to provide insights of organizational changes. Finally, we use data from CIOs in Taiwan top 2000 corporations to test our model.

Despite the importance of effects of IT adoption on BPR, previous studies either focused on theoretical discussion of successful factors of BPR and employed a case study approach that offers concrete lessons for implementation strategies based on a specific firm's experience (e.g. Barber & Weston 1998; Orman 1998; Paper & Chang 2005; Shin 2006).

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