Controlling ERP consultants: Client and provider practices

Jamie Y.T. Chang, Eric T.G. Wang, James J. Jiang, Gary Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Hiring consultants to implement the multiple components of an ERP installation is a common practice for securing expertise not found in client organizations. Ensuring the consultants work to the benefit of their client is potentially problematic as the consultants must adopt the goals of the client, coordinate with stakeholders within the client organization, and coordinate with those installing other components of the ERP. Controls are mechanisms that keep consultants on track with the objectives of client organizations. Control forms vary depending on the nature of the activity and the levels of expertise across clients and consultants. Just what forms of control are typically employed over consultants to promote the likelihood of a successful ERP implementation is not identified in the prior literature. Control theory is employed by this study to formulate an expectation of control, which is then examined through a multiple case study. Interviews of consultants, project managers in the client organizations, and project managers in the consulting firms confirm that client organizations employ performance controls on specified outcomes while the provider firms employ both outcome controls and behavioral controls to keep the ERP implementation project in line with client goals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1453-1461
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Systems and Software
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Consultants
  • ERP implementation
  • Project control


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