Discussion and Conclusion
Implications for Research
The results of this study contain several implications for researchers. The empirical findings demonstrate that employing perceived knowledge update and individual involvement would be a worthwhile extension of the ECM, as both were found to be influential in predicting behavioral intention of further learning. Specifically, alongside IS users’ belief (that is, perceived knowledge update), individual involvement has a strong influence on intentions.
Our findings add to the concept of belief updating by defining a new construct, which measures the variance between pre- and post-training knowledge. This way we recognize the role of knowledge update in the process of ERPsim training. Hence, a primary contribution of this study is that it extends the temporal notion of user’s perceptions, through defining and empirically testing the new concept of perceived knowledge update. Such an addition provides insights on the temporal change in user’s cognitions, as ECM discusses.
We made reference to the ELM to explain the effect of individual’s motivation and ability in processing the external information. By testing individual effort as the antecedent of knowledge update and involvement, we provide insight on how individuals who spend more cognitive resources and capabilities are likely to experience higher levels of knowledge update and involvement. These two constructs have been used in the study to represent the concept of elaboration likelihood, which suggests that people add something of their own to the specific information provided in the communication (Petty & Cacioppo, 1986).
Implications for Practice
ERP systems are typically complex in nature; hence, their users have to acquire new knowledge and skills to perform their jobs, presenting them with more challenges than those presented in legacy systems (Morris & Venkatesh, 2010). As a result, it is desirable for managers to encourage individuals with higher cognitive competencies to interact more with the system. On the basis of our findings, managers may consider adapting specific incentives and rewards for their target employees to motivate them to use higher levels of effort in learning the new systems. Higher effort will boost their self-knowledge perceptions and depth involvements, which in turn results in repeated learning and usage of the ERP system.
Further, to get the users excited about the new system and ensure its sustainability, it is important to design proper training courses that maximize the gap between learner’s pre- and post-knowledge about a new system at the post-adoption stage. In other words, recognizing the role of knowledge update, managers should expose employees to the levels of information, which considerably increases their post-training knowledge perceptions to enhance both involvement and continual usage behaviors. For example, by offering more customized and timely training courses for individuals who are classified based on their prior knowledge levels, through reactivation of cognitive effort, learners will experience a higher level of knowledge update and involvement intensities.
In the effectiveness of simulation game in learning, this study shows that ERP simulation could be a useful tool to develop interventions that improve user’s perceptions and attitudes. As the number of schools using ERP to integrate their business curricula is increasing (Cronan, Léger, Robert, Babin, & Charland, 2012), designers of similar simulation games should emphasize the features of the game that infuse high positive perceptions and beliefs, the factors that affect the success of a new system implementation in industry.
Some limitations of the study should be noted. The study may lack external validity in the subjects and setting. We used student subjects from a large public university and conducted controlled lab experiments. Although student subjects likely represent the target population of the phenomenon being examined, additional studies with actual customers in real e-business environments are required to strengthen the generalizability of our findings. Second, we used self-reported measures to assess acquired knowledge and skills, which might be affected by self-presentation bias. However, such measures are frequently used in prior research mainly for practical reasons. Future research can use both perceived knowledge and objective knowledge (for example, examination) to measure knowledge. Third, we used Distribution Game because our sample had little knowledge of ERP systems. Future research might want to test our proposed model in other types of simulation game (for example, Beer Distribution Game).
ERP systems hold great promise for generating organizational value, and simulation games play an important role in improving implementation outcome of such systems. However, our understanding of the process of knowledge change resulting from the training with the ERPsim games is still in its nascent stages. This work represents a step toward a better understanding of how and why the perceptions of knowledge update leverage success of ERP systems by encouraging individuals to continue learning it. Users may show more involvement in further learning if organizations design their trainings in a way that the positive change between pre- and post-training knowledge levels maximizes. We hope that this research will contribute to efforts made to gain insight into design of IS training, their use, and ultimately their contribution to organizational success.