What is e-HRM?

Integration of computers in work life along with the rapid changes in Internet technologies influenced HRM, which in turn, transformed this management system into e-HRM. As a matter of fact, the concept of e-HRM originated from e-trade (R^l, Bondarouk, & Looise, 2004), yet the concept of e-HRM is generally used to describe the administration of human resource practices with the help of the Internet, intranet, and networks.

Before delving into the e-HRM concept, it is important to identify and define its related concepts. In the literature, in addition to e-HRM, there are various terms such as virtual HRM (e.g., Lepak & Snell, 1998), web- based HRM, business-to-employee (B2E) (e.g., Huang, Jin, & Yang, 2004), computer-based human resource management systems (CHRIS) (R^l et al., 2004; Strohmeier, 2007), and HRIS (Chugh, 2014) that are used for the same phenomenon. Accordingly, "virtual HRM" refers to technological arbitrated networks of diverse internal and external actors providing the organizations with the HR services required for the advancement of conventional HR departments. Through this process, these HRM practices become "virtual." Differently, e-HRM is considered to be receptive of the less developed variety of technology applications such as shared performance of an application process by a conventional HR department and an applicant via the Internet. "Web-based HRM," on the other hand, combines this concept to Internet technologies. e-HRM is also predominantly web orientated and involves supplementary technologies like networked ERP-systems. In a similar vein, the concept of "business-to-employee" condenses the phenomenon to the internal actor categories of "business" (supposedly line managers and HR professionals) and "employees." In contrast, e-HRM involves relevant actor categories such as applicants or consultants (Strohmeier, 2007: 20). From a different lens, computer-based human resource management systems (CHRIS) consists of "a fully integrated, organization-wide network of HR-related data, information, services, databases, tools and transactions." CHRIS therefore can be depicted as a form of e-HRM, involving the application of conventional, web, and voice technologies in order to provide a substantive advancement to the HR administration, transactions, and process performance (Nenwai & Raj, 2013: 422).

In sum, it can be argued that all the aforementioned concepts are related to the main characteristics of e-HRM, but they are usually referred to as the limited version of it (Strohmeier, 2007: 20). It can also be argued that the development of web-based technologies has contributed to the adoption of a new strategic organizational role following the liberation of HR functions from previous restrictions such as time- and energy-consuming processes including benefits and payroll (Ashbaugh & Rowan, 2002).

Literature offers important and distinctive definitions of e-HRM. For instance, Karakanian (2002) defines e-HRM as "the overall HR strategy that lifts HR, shifts it from the HR Department and isolated HR activities, and redistributes it to the organisation and its trusted business partners old and new." In a similar vein, R^l et al. (2004) describe e-HRM as a method of implementation of various HRM strategy, policy, and practices within organizations by means of mindful and direct support and use of web-based technology channels. Furthermore, Ernst Biesalski states that "Electronic-Human Resource Management (E-HRM) is a web based tool to automate and support HR processes." As emphasized by Kauffman, "An automation system is a precisely planned change in a physical or administrative task utilizing a new process, method, or machine that increases productivity, quality and profit while providing methodological control and analysis. The value of system automation is in its ability to improve efficiency; reduce wasted resources associated with rejects or errors; increase consistency, quality and customer satisfaction; and maximize profit" (Kaur, 2013: 36).

e-HRM can also be distinguished as the (planning, provision, i mplementation, and operation) application of information technology for supporting and networking at least two (individual and/or collective) actors in their shared performance of HR tasks (Strohmeier, 2007). In a similar vein, Hooi (2006) argues that e-HRM essentially unites and connects employees and managers with the HR department electronically through the HR portal, and e-HRM provides direct access for employees to information systems via the Internet. This approach of e-HRM, in turn, enables all employees and stakeholders to be involved in the business processes electronically that in turn allows people to work easily without being subject to environmental restrictions (p. 466). Marler and Fisher (2010) proposed a hybrid definition on e-HRM as "e-HRM consists of intended and actual HRM policies, activities, services, and collaborations with individuals and organizations, which are delivered and enabled using configurations of computer hardware, software, and electronic networking capability."

In the light of the aforementioned descriptions, Bondarouk and R^l provide a comprehensive definition of e-HRM. According to them (2009: 507), e-HRM is "An umbrella term covering all possible integration mechanisms & contents between HRM & Information Technologies aiming at creating value within & across organizations for targeted employees & management." In sum, concerning e-HRM, it is generally observed that the functions of the human resource departments within organizations are to a great extent moved to the web environment. Expectedly, e-HRM systems contribute to the simplification and reformation of various HR processes such as job analysis, recruitment, selection, training, compensation, performance management, and HR planning (Stone & Dulebohn, 2013).

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