Information Technology in Human Resource Management: An Empirical Assessment

Article excerpt

The HRM function in organizations has gained increasing strategic emphasis, and the importance of its alignment HRM and business strategies is well-acknowledged. (1) In fact, effective HRM is vital in order to be able to meet the market demands with well-qualified employees at all times. (2)

Technology and HRM have a broad range of influences upon each other, and HR professionals should be able to adopt technologies that allow the reengineering of the HR function, be prepared to support organizational and work-design changes caused by technology, and be able to support a proper managerial climate for innovative and knowledge-based organizations. (3) These technological advances are being driven primarily by strong demands from human resource professionals for enhancement in speed, effectiveness, and cost containment. (4)

Snell, Stueber, and Lepak (5) observe that HRMSs can meet the challenge of simultaneously becoming more strategic, flexible, cost-efficient, and customer-oriented by leveraging information technology. Many experts forecast that the PC will become the central tool for all HR professionals. (6) Virtual HR is emerging due to the growing sophistication of IT and increased external structural options. (7) IT is beginning to enable organizations to deliver state-of-the-art HR services, and reduced costs have enabled companies, regardless of the firm size-to purchase HR technologies. (8)

One of the impacts of IT is that it enables the creation of an IT- based workplace, (9) which leads to what should be a manager's top priority-namely, strategic competence management. (10) Advances in IT hold the promise of meeting many of the challenges of HRM, such as attracting, retaining, and motivating employees, meeting the demands for a more strategic HR function, and managing the "human element" of technological change in the future. (11) HRM could support the efforts of technological innovation's to achieve high performance while such innovation; itself could serve as an approach to enable the HR function to focus more on value-added activities in order to realize the full potential of technology and organizational strategy. (12) The biggest benefit of using IT in HRM to organizations is the freeing of HR staff from intermediary roles, thus enabling them to concentrate on strategic planning in human resource organization and development. (13) Caudron (14) has also observed that IT can automate other routine tasks such as payroll processing, benefits administration, and transactional activities, so that HR professionals are free to focus on more strategic matters such as boosting productivity.

In the present context of increasing globalization, employing organizations and their environments have become increasingly complex. Managers in these organizations face growing difficulties in coping with workforces that may be spread across a variety of countries, cultures and political systems. Given such trends, IT has considerable potential as a tool that managers can utilize, both generally and in human resourcing functions in particular to increase the capabilities of the organization. (15) Substantial benefits of communication and information technologies can seamlessly migrate to HR applications. (16) Those managing the human resource functions have not ignored such advice and, as a result a widespread use of human resource information systems (HRIS) has taking place. (17) An HRIS is a systematic procedure for collecting, storing, maintaining, retrieving and validating the data needed by an organization for its human resources, personnel activities and organization unit characteristics. (18) HRISs can also provide the management with a decision-making tool rather than merely a robust database. (19) Turek (20) offers numerous examples of how HR technology has reduced the response time and enhanced the quality of HR service in the workplace.

A research paper by a Cincinnati, Ohio-based HRIS consulting firm, Insight Consulting Partners (ICP),21 notes that enterprise applications tend to push organizations toward more centralized and integrated HR and IT infrastructures. …