ERP Change Management and the Ikea Effect


ERP Change Management and the Ikea Effect

Anyone who has experienced the joys of change management around the implementations of enterprise application will know that there is a spectrum of of adoption within an organisation. At the extremes, we have the employees who take to it with enthusiasm, while others actively long to see failure or even sabotage efforts.  

Nothing splits this spectrum more than the implementation of an ERP. A new ERP platform affects the whole business and requires a near simultaneous coordinated effort against tight timeframes in order to keep business impact to a minimum.

There is much in the change management literature about engagement with key personnel to provide the critical mass needed for change. These people could be super-users but could also simply be popular employees that provide influence to others. Within Acclimation’s change management philosophy, we actively target the key employees to champion the change required for success. This sometimes even includes key dissenters in an effort to turn them into advocates.  This is done as early as possible, well before any go-live date.

It often struck me how well this strategy worked and this week I may have found what may be occurring is a phenomenon psychologists call the “IKEA effect” — and it applies well beyond the scope of Swedish furniture. It’s the phenomenon of building something and then adoring it. Do you remember the last time you built something from IKEA? Assembling it requires a whole afternoon, a six-pack and a near break-up with your partner. But in at the end, boy, do you love that BJÖRKSNÄS.

Psychologists first labelled the IKEA effect in 2011, when they conducted a experiments that found people like and value their own creations like origami and Lego more than other people’s. According to Dan Ariely (professor of psychology and behavioural economics at Duke University), a co-author on the 2011 study, we can harness the power of the IKEA effect to increase motivation and engagement in the workplace. The key is simply giving people credit for their creations.

Ariely suggested that managers capitalise on the IKEA effect and “get people to feel that something is theirs in a unique way and therefore they will feel more connected to it.” Telling people that a project is theirs to lead from the get-go can increase their enthusiasm. And when workers are more excited, Ariely said, they work harder for their organisation and everybody benefits.