Date of Conferral







Keri Heitner


Organizational leaders have increasingly turned to enterprise resource planning (ERP) applications, also known as decision-support systems, to make their firms' operational, tactical, and strategic processes more efficient and effective in the changing global marketplace. High failure rates in ERP systems implementations make these projects risky, however. Most prior research on critical success factors for conventional ERP implementation has been on large enterprises, resulting in a gap in knowledge on these factors in the small and medium enterprises that constitute the majority of U.S. employer firms. A qualitative modified Delphi study with an expert panel of U.S. manufacturing consultants and 3 iterative rounds of data collection and analysis revealed consensus on 8 critical success factors in ERP implementations, with the highest agreement on top management support and commitment, enterprise resource planning fit with the organization, quality management, and a small internal team of the best employees. In addition to furthering knowledge in the fields of leadership and enterprise applications, the study expands enterprise resource planning experts' and scholars' understanding of strategies to improve project success and the triple bottom line for any size enterprise in the manufacturing industry. Practitioners in the ERP industry can also apply approaches outlined during ERP implementations to mitigate risk during these engagements. Implications for positive social change include additional job opportunities and higher wages through increased efficiencies in ERP applications.