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The Development of an Epm System and the Corporate Culture

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Q: What can you determine about the corporate culture from the fact that they waited this long to consider the development of an EPM system.

A: In my opinion, factors external to the development of an EPM system are restricting its realization. Developing an EPM system involves people from various departments across the company and there is a high possibility of various interactions and interdependencies playing a key role along with environmental factors that are external to the company. Few of such factors are work culture, company operations, Concerns & interests, company reporting structures and training.

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Work Culture: Work culture of a company is defined by its deeply rooted beliefs, norms, values and majority of the decisions taken by the company are driven by these beliefs, norms, values. These might not be visible nor are part of any guidelines but play a major role in driving key decisions. In this case, apart from the president’s assumptions that the executive management is worried about losing power, there is also a chance that the executive management did not understand why an EPM system was required in the first place. They must not have seen this as something beneficial to the company and hence are not that supportive of the change.

Impact on the executive management: The performance of an EPM system, how it can be used within the current process, what are the inputs and outputs must have been some other concerns of the executive management that were not addressed by the president at all. The president needs to understand that expecting the team to get something done without telling them how it would benefit them would not get things working. It’s a human tendency to do something out of one’s comfort zone only when they see benefit or profit for themselves and this is something that the president lacked in doing for the team. If only he could arrange a consultant that explained the benefits at an earlier stage or the very first time he asked for a methodology, it would not have taken a year and the company would not have lost out on contracts. Along with this, there might have been a tab bit of influence from team members in disparate locations who could not recognize the value of an EPM system.

Reporting Structures: The ability of adopt a new change in a company is often enabled or blocked by formal and informal relationships within the company. Organizational hierarchy, informal relationships within this company might have been too simple or complex enough for the development of EPM system.

Concerns: Though the president had a lot of excuses coming his way, he never made the attempt to analyze them and educate the team with a proper answer. If only the team’s concerns were handled in a better way rather than labelling them as excuses it could have reduced the tension and resistance between him and the team.

Training: Understanding why an EPM system is needed, assessing its value and benefit for the company and how this should be communicated to the executive management could have garnered enough support for the development and also helped with resistance management.

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