This article is about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) and its role in leadership communication in times of crisis. The article reviews various alternative ways of pursuing crisis management solutions. The author presents the various points of view that are expressed on leadership communication as the ideal solution for ERP-based crisis management. A discussion on various communication strategies and techniques is also given. The author ends by highlighting the areas where future research is needed.
The author addresses the views expressed by different scholars on what sound leadership ought to be like, particularly with regard to alternative solutions during organizational crises. The research findings analyzed indicate that the level of response to ERP implementation in many organizations remains unacceptable. The role of crisis teams is described as useful in restoring a state of normalcy to ERP implementation. Even among these teams, complications can arise, especially when team members try to balance many responsibilities while giving participation a lower priority.
The author gives the example of Signal International, whereby ERP was greatly troubled by poor communication. The multinational corporation has many branches in many parts of the world. The main problem with the corporation was lack of a common crisis response strategy. This created room for ERP resources to be misused.
In this article, leadership communication is discussed from the point of view of managerial positions. ERP actions, the author notes, cannot be realized if the management does not allocate resources. Leadership communication is identified as a foundation for all ERP communications and leaders are assigned the role of agents of knowledge transfer.
The article also describes the role of leaders as that of decimating each course of action, in spite of obvious controversial political aspects. The role of verbal and non-verbal communication in shaping public perceptions is also highlighted. Good communication is about malleability in all stages of dialogical engagements, with emphasis being put on consistency and correctness.
Future research is suggested in all areas of ERP crisis management research, particularly with regard to response to contemporary crises such as disasters, terrorist attacks and financial meltdown. Additionally, additional research is suggested on ERP and the changes it can bring about to business. The lessons learnt in the course of leadership engagements are also highlighted as ideal topics for further research.
Ramirez (2010) notes that organizations view crises as unique challenges that call for uniquely designed management mechanisms. Too much stress is put on resources at the expense of leadership communication. Although Ramirez highlights both approaches, he does not indicate which approach should take precedence with regard to ERP implementation.
ERP’s posture exerts a strong influence on both internal and external perception. Leadership in ERP is critical for exerting this influence. Availability of resources, though necessary in ERP, is not enough to bring about a positive change in perception. This has not been highlighted clearly in the article. For instance, the author does not stress the fact that Signal international encountered many crises despite availability of resources, mainly because of failure on the part of the leadership. Leaders failed to communicate from a strategic perspective such that all operations were coordinated from a global perspective.
In Ramirez’s words, ‘leadership takes the form of both a behavioral and positional perspective’. From a positional perspective, leaders function as managers. Ramirez analyzes the role of leadership communication from a positional (managerial) perspective. The behavioral perspective is not accorded much attention, even though it is the one that enables managers to shape perceptions.
According to Ramirez (2010), management in times of crisis entails allocation of resources as well as dictation of ERP actions. Experience in resolving past crises determines the success rate of managers. Here, the manager is highlighted as a mediator for maintaining relationships between different stakeholders. The author does not assess strategies relating to how information should be distributed along the leadership hierarchy. The role of information, though critical, is not assessed against the backdrop of its impact on perceptions.
The article highlights the way in which ERP crisis management can be successful through leadership communication. The author assembles the views of different scholars in order to explain the importance of the manager in solving crises. Further research is needed on the behavioral dynamics of a leadership position during ERP crisis management.