ERP Diffusion and Mimetic Behaviors

22 Pages Posted: 19 Feb 2011

See all articles by Jean-Michel Sahut

Jean-Michel Sahut

IDRAC Business School

Leroux Erick

Université Paris XIII Nord - IUT de Villetaneuse

Pierre-Charles Pupion

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: February 16, 2011


The emergence of enterprise resource planning systems (ERP) has often been presented as one of the main factors of organizational change within companies in the course of the last few years. The neoclassical and socio-rational analyses show that ERP adoption is often a rational choice in that it results from a cost-benefit analysis and indeed an optimization calculation. However, as articulated by Rogers’ analysis (1983), firms are also influenced by information on the attributes of innovation collected from other members of their social environment. The mimetic chains theory provides a better understanding of the reasons why some companies in situation of uncertainty rely more on the positions taken by others than on their own private calculations thus triggering a process of diffusion by imitation.

In this article, we try to verify this hypothesis on a sample of French companies. For most of the firms, the perceived benefits determine decision-making, securing competitive advantages and the possibility of adopting a transversal organization. However, for a number of companies in situations of uncertainty as a result of the relative lack of pertinence of the information collected, ERP adoption frequently occurs as a result of mimetic behaviour. Over half the companies surveyed acknowledge being influenced by the decisions taken by the leading companies in their sectors.

Keywords: ERP, Adoption, Mimetic Chain, Diffusion Process, Rationality, Economic Choice

JEL Classification: M15, Q33

Suggested Citation

Sahut, Jean-Michel and Erick, Leroux and Pupion, Pierre-Charles, ERP Diffusion and Mimetic Behaviors (February 16, 2011). Available at SSRN: or

Jean-Michel Sahut (Contact Author)

IDRAC Business School

47 rue du Sergent Michel Berthet
Lyon, 69009

Leroux Erick

Université Paris XIII Nord - IUT de Villetaneuse ( email )

Place du 8 Mai 1045
Saint Denis, 93206

Pierre-Charles Pupion

affiliation not provided to SSRN ( email )

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