Thursday, March 14, 2019

Effects of Technology on the Hr Function Essay

Critically analyse the ways in which the increase application of engineering science at fly the coop fall in an military force upon the HR region. The spend of engine room at heart HRM has grown considerably at bottom late(a) years with the bulk of large brass instruments right away using engine room of about form at heart their HR dish out (CIPD, 2005). As HR military groups more and more reliant on engineering it is important to appraise its do upon the HR function. Firstly, consideration leave behind be given to definition of terms along with a exposition of the utilisations of engineering science at heart the HR function. Next the spay in the social system of the HR profession that has developed alongside the emerging and growing mapping of engineering al conf social functiond be addressed. The goals of the use of technology which ache been afforded a signifi undersidet amount of attending in spite of appearance the books will past be outlined a long with consideration of the realisation of these goals. In addition, the effect of overlap wait on centres, which make signifi scum bagt use of technology, upon the subprogram of HR practiti wizardrs will be addressed in conjunction with the views of HR practitioners themselves.Whilst miniscule attention has been given to the situating of the use of technology in HR indoors a wider sociological perspective in the schoolman literature, an attempt will be made to consider the effect of technology upon HR within much(prenominal)(prenominal) a debate. Finally, conclusions will be drawn as to the clashing of the use of technology upon the HR function. It is firstly important to consider what is meant by the use of technology within the HR function. The term e-HRM is frequently apply to refer to the use of technology within the HR function. The use of e-HRM varies hugely within giving medications and may be utilise for different purposes (Parry et al. 2007). The term an swerman Resource Information System (HRIS) is in addition utilise to refer to every system that helps an organisation to acquire, store, manipulate, analyse, retrieve and distribute study about an organisations human resources (Tannenbaum, 1990, p.28).However, the use of technology within HR is broader than the use of HRIS and may encompass coach-and-four and employee self-service, the use of module intranets and e-enab take act upones such and enlisting and performance management amongst early(a)s (Reilly, 2012). It is acknow guideged that well-nigh current look for focuses on the more recent developments in web-based technology, collectively referred to as social media technologies or Web 2.0 (see Reddington, 2012). However, the use of Web 2.0 is outwith the focus of this discussion. HRIS was originally utilize for standardising the concourse of discipline about and for employees (Kovach et al. 2002). However, the use of HRIS has subsequently developed and is now used more broadly for purposes such as recruitment and selection, learning and development, plaque of flexible benefits and performance appraisal (Grensing-Pophal, 2001) or to manage HR and employee breeding across the whole employment cycle (Parry et al. 2007).Technology has also been increasely associated with supporting integrated call centres, sh bed service centres and the use of manager and employee self-service (CIPD, 2007). There is a great emphasis in the literature about the electromotive force goals of e-HRM (Marler, 2009 Ruel, Bondarouk and Looise, 2004). However, in that location has been slight emphasis on whether these goals ingest been realised in reality (Parry and Tyson, 2011 Strohmeier, 2007). Alongside the development and change magnitude use of technology is the development and ever-changing role of the HR function itself. traditionally the HR function has been seen as being a largely administrative function, focussed on administrative act upones such as the maintenance of employee and payroll department records (CIPD, 2007). It would appear that in its search for identity and the resulting proposed need for sack of the function (Ulrich, 1997), HR has made use of technology to attempt to facilitate this transformation (Shirvastava and Shaw, 2003).Ulrich (1997) has argued that HRM should become a strategical business collaborationist, in addition to performing roles as administrative expert, change agent and employee champion. It has been suggested that the use of technology within the HR function may create the opportunity for HR to become more strategic by freeing up time finished the automation of umpteen administrative tasks (Parry et al. 2007). The provision of accurate and detailed development available by the use of HRIS could also enable HR practitioners to shackle in a more strategic role as such data could be used to inform managerial decisions. The move to naked as a jaybird service rescue models of HR and the deve lopment of technology apprise be seen as interdependent as without increasingly sophisticated technology the assorted elements of HR service delivery may non be as effective (Reddington, 2012).Drivers for introduction of technology can be described as being operational, relational or transformational (Kettley and O Reilly, 2003 Snell, Stueber and Lepak, 2002) Operational goals can be described as having a focus on reducing the administrative burden of HR and cost effectiveness, whilst enhancing the accuracy of data relational goals associate to improving services for internal guests due to reported low levels of expiation with the HR function (Kyprianou, 2008) and transformational goals address the strategic aims of the business (Lepak and Snell, 1998 Martin et al. 2008). These drivers of e-HRM can be seen as addressing both transactional or transformational goals (Martin et al. 2008). Transactional goals relate to operational efficiencies or better service delivery. There i s talk of liberating HR through technology (Shirvastava and Shaw 2003) although this hearty statement is qualified by the requirement that it informates as opposed to automates HR unconscious processes.The distinction between automating and informating is made by Zuboff (1988) whereby automating relates to increasing efficiency through computerising serve processes and procedures with decreasing dependence on human learnings. In contrast, informating refers to increasing effectiveness through acquiring information by using information technology and using that information to create new knowledge. Automating could be seen as relating to addressing operational goals whereas informating could voltagely address the relational and transformational goals through provision of information to inform decisions and strategy. Despite the attention to the secure of technology in transforming the HR function, much less(prenominal) attention has been given to the dissemble of technology on the HR function and whether or not the soaringly prized strategic orientation course of HR has been achieved (Lepak and Snell, 1998, Shrivastava and Shaw, 2003).Studies that relate to whether e-HRM is achieving its operational goals provide more or less mixed results (Strohmeier, 2007). In practice it would appear that HRIS is having a slightly better (but not statistically solid) bear on in areas of information processing, for example improving the speed that information is available and the quality of the information available than in economic terms, such as reducing headspringcount, lowering operational costs and improving productivity and profitability (CIPD, 2005). However, within this survey, in a third of cases the decrement in administrative burden was less than was to be expected. Stronger support for the operational have-to doe with of e-HRM comes from analysis of 10 case studies by Parry et al. (2007) which showed that technology can lead to faster and more effic ient processes, greater accuracy and conformity as well as a reduction in costs. A number of other studies also provide some evidence of the touch of technology on operational efficiency (Marler, 2009 Ruel, Bondarouk and Looise, 2004 Ruta, 2005).However, it may be that some caution needs to be exercised in drawing conclusions on the rival of e-HRM in this area as it may be that the efficiencies achieved within the HR function are simply go elsewhere within the organisation as the responsibility for some tasks is moved from HR to line managers or employees (Ruel, Bondarouk and Looise, 2004). There is some positive evidence for the relational encroachment of e-HRM, notably improvements in HR service delivery achieved through the increased accuracy of data or by simplification of processes (Gardener, Lepak and Bartol, 2003). However, the relational stupor of e-HRM appears to have been granted little attention in the literature (Strohmeir, 2007). Whether technology has led to a t ransformational tinct on the HR function appears even less clear than the impact it has had on transactional processes.Despite the identification by many organisations of transformational drivers being important in the adoption of e-HR (Watson Wyatt, 2002 Yeung and Brockbank, 1995) it would seem that the way out of whether e-HRM supports a transformation of the HR function into a strategic business abetter _or_ abettor is exactly parenthetically addressed (Strohmeir, 2007, p.28). Indeed, Bondarouk and Ruel (2009, p.508) state organisations are definitely silent about whether their HR departments become more strategic with e-HRM. Where evidence is presented it is confounding in nature. It would seem that in some cases technology has not led to a more strategic orientation of the HR function and has been used mainly for automating operational processes (Burbach and Dundon, 2005 Dery, Grant and Wiblen, 2009 Kinnie and Arthurs, 1993 Tansley et al. 2001). Indeed, Broderick and Boud reau (1992) found that most organisations have only used technology to support a narrow range of administrative decisions, resulting in efficiencies in managing information but that the potential competitive return of technology has not been exploited.In contrast, other studies have offered some evidence that e-HRM has supported the strategic integration of HR with business strategy (Olivas-Lujan, Ramirez and Zapata-Cantu, 2007 Ruel, Bondarouk and Looise, 2004 Teo, soon and Fedric, 2001) More recent research has provided some anecdotal evidence for a move towards a more strategic role (Parry and Tyson, 2011) although the evidence supporting the transformational impact compared with the operational and relational appeared to be the weakest. It would appear that there is farther greater attention in the literature to the potential for e-HRM to have an impact in the three areas outlined above than there is accorded to the actual outcomes (Shrivastava and Shaw, 2003 Strohmeir, 2007). The shake-up of the HR function and the introduction of shared service centres appears to have had an impact on numbers of on-site HR staff and a reduction in the number of HR staff to employees (Francis and Keegan, 2006).The operation of such shared service centres relies on technology that is characterised by courtlyisation, routinisation and centralisation resulting in an impact on staffing of such centres, which require specialised but generally low level HR administrators (Martin and Reddington, 2009). Research that addresses the issue of how HR practitioners have viewed the increasing use of technology appears to be limited to date. There is evidence that some practitioners may view the use of technology and an associated increase in the use of shared service centres cautiously because it has resulted in a reduction of face to face relationships, which is often the reason individuals cite for choosing a biography in HR (Francis and Keegan, 2006). Martin and Reddington (20 09) suggest that the significant role of technology within shared service centres will lead to a lowering of the status of those employed in such environments especially when compared to the status of HR business partners. It is argued that there is a risk of deskilling within the administrative function of HR and that staff may be confined to more routine tasks where they had previously had a wider role (Reilly, 2000).It is also suggested that within shared service centres different skills may be required and staff may be employed who have customer service skills but who do not necessarily have a background in HR as technical knowledge can be learned whereas the right attitudes may be harder to learn (Parry et al. 2007 Reilly, 2000). In addition to this, there is evidence that suggests that there a cognizance amongst HR practitioners of an increasing distance between those at the whirligig and bottom of the go ladder and that people from outwith the HR function are parachuting into the top jobs (Francis and Keegan, 2006). This effect could possibly be explained by the requirement of new areas of expertise, such as technical, consultancy and project management skills (Parry and Tyson, 2011), which may require developing within HR practitioners and could possibly result in recruiting from outside the profession.Indeed a number of reports emphasise the skills of HR staff as a significant barrier to transformation of the HR function (see Reilly, 2012). The debate on the use of technology within HRM can also be situated within a wider sociological perspective. Whilst the sociological literature appears to focus mainly on the use of technology within manufacturing environments or of computerisation in general as opposed to within the HR function an attempt to situate the effect of technology upon HR could be made in terms of attempting to assess the effect upon the organisation of the function and the impact on the level of skills required. The attempts to enc ounter the impact of technology upon the organisation of work have resulted in different views. The debate focuses mainly on two opposing views. The managerialist and essentially affirmative perspective associated with writers such as Blauner (1964) argues that the application of technology will portray obsolete routine and more manual jobs and create more virtuoso(prenominal) and complex opportunities resulting in an overall effect of upskilling, along with organisations characterised by change structures, reduction in hierarchy, increased worker autonomy and a prevalence of knowledge workers (for example, Attewell, 1992 Piore and Sabel, 1984)Such analysis suggests that in the earlier phases of industrialisation advances in technology tended to reduce skills and devalue work but that more recent proficient developments have had the opposite effect. Examination of the increasing use of technology and its impact on skills levels has provided some evidence for a raising of skill s levels (Daniel, 1987, Gaillie, 1991) In contrast, labour process theorists have argued that technological changes have a degrade effect on work and result in deskilling of the labour process and reduced worker autonomy, with a centralised, neo-Taylorist form of organisation, with separation of conception from public presentation (for example, Braverman, 1974 Zimbalist, 1979). The issues of the expansion of non-manual work and the apparent rising skills levels as suggested by formal skills gradings are not inconsistent with the labour process perspective (Gaillie, 1991) who argues that non-manual work has undergone a major transformation, resulting in work that is increasingly routinized and mechanised (supported by the increase in office automation).From such a perspective non-manual workers are no longer accorded their relatively privileged position and are now accorded a similar level of skills as manual workers. Support for the process of deskilling can be found in many analy ses of the effects of computerised technology (Meiksins, 1994) Analysis of the experience of employees within the call centre environment emphasises the process of deskilling (Desai, 2010) which is described by Taylor and Bain (1999, p.109) as a situation of an assembly-line in the head. The impacts of such call centre roles are often high disturbance rates and high levels of absence (Ackroyd, Gordon-Dseagu and Fairhurst, 2006) and the effect on employees is outlined by Rose and Wright (2005, pp.156-157) low sure-handed call centre jobs allied with high levels of technological and management controls do not contribute towards employee well-being and pleasure This account of the impact of technology resonates with the description above of shared service centres whose result has been the deskilling of the administrative function of HR and the recruitment of those who do not have a background in HR (Martin and Reddington, 2009 Reilly, 2000).However, whilst it could be argued that a labour process perspective accounts for the effects of technology on some aspects of the HR function, it does not address the effect on the function as a whole as it does not appear to account for the strategic end of the spectrum, where it seems that business partner roles are accorded status and prestige along with substantially increased salaries (Francis and Reddington, 2006). The role of business partners cannot easily be reconcile with the notion of deskilling. There has been a tendency to view the classification of either upskilling or deskilling as too simplistic and some writers have moved away from this conceptualisation of work by postulating that instead there is an increasing polarisation of the workforce in terms of skill level with at one end, highly skilled workers with high levels of autonomy and at the other end a lower skilled sector characterised by an intensification of work through deskilling and management control (Edwards, 1979), who can be dispensed if tau tologic to requirements (Berger and Piore, 1981).This polarisation of the workplace appears to be a better reflection of the changing HR function with the autonomous business partner role, with the ensuant perception of a high level of skill and status at one end of the spectrum and at the opposite end, the shared service centre roles characterised by routine and deskilling. In relation to professional work, there is some communication channel that professionals have not been adversely affected by computerisation and continue to be accorded high status and prestige (Friedson, 1984, 1986). In contrast, it is argued that technology may have differing effects on professionals, depending on the relative status of the profession and on the status of individuals within the profession (Burris, 1998). It is argued that alongside polarisation of the workplace, there tends to be poorer career prospects for non-expert workers (Baran, 1987 Hodson, 1988) with higher level posts being filled fr om outwith the organisation (Hodson, 1988 Burris 1983,a,b)This issue within HR is highlighted by Reilly (2000) who suggests that there may be less opportunity for career development if lower level staff do not build the experience that they would gain in more generalist roles in traditional HR functions. As stated earlier, there also appears to be a perception that the higher status business partner roles are at least sometimes being filled not just from outwith the organisation but from outwith the HR profession (Francis and Reddington, 2006). Whilst the issue of the impact of technology upon the HR function appears to have been given little attention within research (Lepak and Snell, 1998 Shrivastava and Shaw, 2003) it would seem that what discussion there has been relates mainly to the promise of technology in transforming the HR function and facilitating a more strategic orientation.The reality of the impact of technology in achieving an impact in operational, relational and tra nsformational areas is much less clear although evidence would suggest that the greatest impact is in achieving operational efficiencies. Alongside the development of the use of technology has been the shake-up of the HR function. Although there has been little attempt to consider the impact of technology from a sociological perspective, it can be argued that the increasing use of technology, which has been used to support the shared service centre model may be resulting in a deskilling of an element of the HR profession and reducing career development paths for some practitioners. In addition, there appears to be a change in skills viewed as necessary within this function, with a focus on customer service skills as opposed to specialist HR knowledge. In contrast, although the evidence for a transformational impact of technology upon HR is weaker and more contradictory, there would appear to be a perception of a higher status role in the business partner, with accordingly higher re muneration, thus demonstrating a polarisation of the HR function in terms of both skills and status.However, this reorganization of the HR function and the development of a more strategic orientation, which it is argued can be facilitated by the increasing use of technology, although being seen as having an upskilling effect on those in a more strategic role could be argued as achieving the opposite effect if the result is recruiting from outwith the profession. This could leave HR professionals in a precarious position in terms of career and skill development, which could at least in part be attributed to the effect of technology as without increasingly sophisticated technology the new models of service delivery may not be possible or at least may not be as effective.Whilst, a lack of academic attention to the actual impact of technology on the HR function requires that caution is exercised in drawing conclusions, the tendency to focus on the potential impact of technology could b e followed in suggesting that the potential of technology in facilitating the move to a transformation of the HR function may be to tend towards a degradation of the HR profession, with low skilled staff employed in shared service centres and more highly skilled and valued business partners being recruited from outwith the HR profession. However, without significant further research in the area, in particular on the impact of technology and the accompanying change in service delivery models upon the career paths and development opportunities for HR practitioners, this conclusion remains just a potential.ReferencesAckroyd, K., Gordon-Dseagu, V. and Fairhurst, P. (2006) Well-being and call centres, bestow of workplace Studies, Brighton online. operational at http// (Accessed 21st November 2012) Attewell, P. (1992) Skill and occupational changes in U.S. manufacturing in Technology and the future of work, P.S. Adler, New York, Oxford Un iversity Press. Baran, B. (1987) The technological transformationof gaberdine collar work, in Computer chips and paper clips, vol 2, H. Hartmaan, ed., Washington DC, field of study Academy Press. Berger, S. and Piore, M. (1981) Dualism and discontinuity in industrial societies, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press. Blauner, R. 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