What integrated management system to choose in SMEs? Multi-case study of selection criteria combinations



Sélection, intégration, ERP, PME, études de cas multiples, méthode QCA


The issue of information systems integration is now well known, even in the specific case of SMEs. The article advances knowledge of the mechanisms of adoption of integrated management systems by focusing on the following trade-off: choose an ERP or choose an alternative system? This trade-off, which some SMEs face, means choosing between two types of systems with different integration capabilities. In order to understand the reasons for this choice, the research mobilizes the qualitative comparative analysis (QCA) method and applies it to sixteen SME cases. Following a principle of equifinality, this method highlights different combinations of criteria guiding the SME’s selection of an ERP or an alternative system. The multi-criteria configurations identified underline the central role of the comparative complexity of the systems as a necessary, but not sufficient condition for ERP selection. The other criteria, depending on how they are combined, will also influence the choice at the time of the final selection. These different configurations make it possible to discuss the ambitions of the project desired by the SMEs, depending on the chosen integration capacity and the transformational objective targeted at the time of selection. The research contributes to a better understanding of the mechanisms of choice upstream of the project, as these mechanisms have direct implications for the implementation phase of the project.





Empirical research