User Competence with Enterprise Systems: The Effects of Work Environment Factors

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An enterprise system (ES) is an organization-wide information technology system that embeds organizational policies and rules guiding operations. ES users need to not only gain proficiency in interacting with the system but also develop competence to obtain faithful representations of business processes from the system and act upon such information effectively. Thus, the extent to which an organization can extract value from ES depends on an employee’s potential to use the ES to its fullest extent to accomplish job tasks, that is, user competence. Anchoring our study to the job demands-resources model, we examine how work contextual factors, namely, the job demands (i.e., work overload) and three job resources (i.e., leader–member exchange (LMX), traditional support structures, and peer support structures), can facilitate the development of user competence. Based on a longitudinal survey from users in six organizations that have implemented the same ES, we gained two insights. First, we found that all three job resource factors have positive relationships with user competence. Second, the results revealed that the relationship between work overload and user competence is moderated by LMX but not the support structures. Overall, this research contributes to the extant understanding of organizational information systems by moving from a use-focused model to a competence-development model and providing insights on work contextual factors that can foster competence in using the ES.

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