Symmetry in Social Construction during ERP Implementation: A Systems Security Perspective


  • Kennedy Njenga University of Johannesburg



The principle of symmetry in enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems implementation holds that the researcher should deploy impartial explanation in cases of success as in cases of failure. This article examines the symmetry intrinsic in social construction within the various stages of the ERP development life cycle, from initiation to implementation. Discourse on symmetry focuses on whether social constructs are able to influence ERP implementation positively (success) or negatively (failure) and whether this exposes ERP systems to information security risk. The theoretical lens of social construction of technology (SCOT) theory, a theory premised on social interaction between agents and technology artefacts, is applied for this purpose. The research was quantitative with a survey having been conducted on information technology (IT) and information security (IS) practitioners. Results of the study highlight the significant role social construction plays because of the direct linkage it has with the implementation of information security controls in ERP systems.  The research delineated five social constructs, namely positional influence, reward influence, coercive influence, expert influence and referent influence. For purposes of this research and on the sampling criteria applied, the construct ‘expert influence’, a typology of social construction, is shown to be more domineering than other typologies of social construction and is seen as providing symmetrical balance between governing ERP security (success) and risk (failure). Implications of these results for theory and practice are discussed in the main article.