three The concept of e-HRM, its evolution and effects on organizational outcomes


Transition of today's work setting has placed human resource management (HRM) practices in the central position. Coupled with changes in technology and information system developments, the nature of HRM practices has also adapted to such developments. Building on these recent trends, the aim of this chapter is to elaborate the field of electronic HRM (e-HRM) in research. We systematically examine the definition of e-HRM and conceptualize its relationship with organizational outcomes. Increasing prevalence of e-HRM carries important theoretical and practical implications for managers as well as researchers. We end our chapter with future research avenues.

Keywords: Electronic HRM, strategic HRM

Transition from HRM into SHRM

The early 1980s witnessed the growth of "human resource management" (HRM) portraying a new form involving certain practices such as regulation procedures and applying strategies of the upper management. Nonetheless, considering the input of human resource as an important factor for the attainment of competition power and continuation of organizational performance/success, the significance and the functioning of HRM in organization have substantially increased. In this view, since the early 2000s, HRM has evolved into a management style, called "strategic human resource management" (SHRM). Its main focus is to develop ability, knowledge, and creativity and to meet the needs/demands of employees. Due to its swift adaptation capability to changing environmental conditions, SHRM is also considered to be an important support system for the representativeness of the employees and for organizational success. While SHRM contributes to the preparation of the institutional environment in which the development and improvement of employee output are formed, it also acts as a strategic partner for the formation of targeted values.

Taking into account these points, Huselid, Jackson, and Schuler (1997: 171) explained the strategic human resource practices as the formation and execution of a set of internally reliable policies and practices aiming to accomplish the targeted outputs of organization and to achieve the company targets and supply the human capital. In that respect, the main role of SHRM practices can be identified as the attainment of efficient and effective benefits from the organizations' knowledge and human resource capabilities.

Parallel to the new technological developments, the SHRM started adapting itself to these fast changes. Organizations that have been in swift transformation and adaptation processes from industrial to informational age (Ensher, Nielson, & Grant-Vallone, 2002) are rearranging their work flow processes with the effective utilization of technology. These developments, in turn, necessitate certain structural modification including a change from physical to information technology, capital- centred to human-centred economy, and conflict to cooperative working relationships (Nenwani & Raj, 2013: 423). In this framework, the Internet and technology usage became indispensable for the SHRM as much as for the overall functioning of organizations. For this reason, electronic human resource management (e-HRM) has emerged to be a driving force behind HRM value creation (R^l & Kaap, 2012).

In parallel to the developments in information technologies, the e-HRM has become a highly debated subject and received substantial scholarly attention since its early introduction in 1995 (Strohmeier, 2007). The six fundamental triggering factors for the formation of e-HRM (Jones, 1997: 5-6) are summarized here:

Information technology: It has become essential for e-HRM to adapt to fast changes in computer software, hardware, and networks so that work processes on human resources become effective.

Reengineering of processes: Human resource managers redesign business processes and enhance functioning and the overall productivity of the organization.

Swift management: Organizations are required to work skillfully and swiftly in order to compete with competition. For this particular reason, the e-HRM practices are believed to reduce the overall costs of business processes.

Network organizations: Organizations are in search of less bureaucratic and more practical solutions. With the use of information technology provided by local area networks, e-mails, and mutual intranet, information can be easily transferred among coworkers and stakeholders, hence enabling more effective use of human resources.

Information workers: With the use of information technologies, employees can swiftly gather, form, reform, and use valuable information that in turn allow the organization to learn and put forward new work opportunities.

Globalization: All organizations are required to develop global working strategies in order to compete in the twenty-first century. In other words, human resource departments should be restructured in order to meet the needs/demands of employees.

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