The effects of switching costs on user resistance to enterprise systems implementation

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60 Citations (Scopus)


It is estimated that up to 70 of the large-scale information systems i.e., enterprise systems (ESs) implementation projects conducted to date have failed. User resistance to ESs implementation is consistently identified as a critical reason for this high failure rate. While previous research, primarily through case studies, has explored several reasons for user resistance, the results of status quo bias research suggest that switching costs are the main reason. This study classifies switching cost subtypes based on status quo bias research, develops a theoretical model based on the equity implementation model, and examines the effects of switching costs on user resistance through a survey of employees at a manufacturing company that was in the process of implementing a new ES. The results of this survey indicate that uncertainty costs and sunk costs directly increase user resistance, while transition costs and loss costs indirectly increase user resistance by reducing the perceived value of switching. The results of this study advance the theoretical understanding of ESs implementation and user resistance to change. These findings also offer suggestions to organizations for managing user resistance and may help reduce the failure rates of ESs implementation projects due to user resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5659471
Pages (from-to)471-482
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Engineering Management
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2011 Aug

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received November 6, 2009; revised May 11, 2010, September 7, 2010, and September 29, 2010; accepted October 11, 2010. Date of publication December 6, 2010; date of current version July 20, 2011. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea Grant funded by the Korean Government under Grant NRF-2010–327-B00168. Review of this manuscript was arranged by Department Editor B. C. Y. Tan.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Strategy and Management
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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