Blockchains, also known as “distributed ledger technologies” (DLT) are perhaps the emerging innovation that, in the years leading up to and including 2019, is raising the highest expectations for HRM in the 4.0 business environment. In essence, a blockchain is a very specific type of database, with characteristics that made it the ideal application for cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Within the context of digital- or e-HRM, there is potential to improve human resource management (HRM) processes using blockchains for employment screening, credential and educational verification, worker contracts and payments, among others, notwithstanding questions about its efficiency vis-à-vis conventional alternatives (Maurer, 2018; Zielinski, 2018). The research questions examined in this chapter include the following: What are the main characteristics of blockchains? Will they be adopted in a widespread form, specifically by HRM departments? Constructs from Diffusion of Innovations (DOI) theory (Rogers, 2003) are used to inform the Human Resources scholarly and practitioner communities; this robust theory may help companies allocate resources (e.g., budgets, personnel, managerial time, etc.) in an evidence-informed manner. As of this writing, very few blockchain applications, such as credential verification and incident reporting, seem to hold a strong potential for adoption.
Research grants from Clarion U. of Pennsylvania that enabled this research are gratefully acknowledged. Comments from the editors, from two anonymous reviewers and Ning Chen, Sandra Trejos, Vasudeva Aravind, Jason Heavilin, Brandon Packard, and Tim Shick helped improve earlier versions of this manuscript, but all errors are of course, the author’s.
Olivas-Lujan, M.R. (2019), "Blockchains 2019 in e-HRM: Hit or Hype?", HRM 4.0 For Human-Centered Organizations (Advanced Series in Management, Vol. 23), Emerald Publishing Limited, pp. 117-139. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1877-636120190000023010Download as .RIS
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