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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2009, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
HR and our virtual business world
Article Type: Foreword From: Journal of Managerial Psychology, Volume 24, Issue 6
The human resource (HR) profession is undergoing a dramatic change in the range and sophistication of services provided to managers, employees, and outside groups (e.g. retirees). New terms and technology have become part of the manager's vocabulary. Tools such as Wiki, social networking sites, and blogs have become a common part of the HR toolset. HR executives are now presented with the challenge of using Web 2.0 based enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems as well as emerging applications to manage global operations. HR skill sets have shifted from those focused on processing and compliance to those which support organizational effectiveness and technology-driven service delivery.
These changes impact not only HR staff members, but also employees and their families. For example, online learning has become extremely popular as a more cost-effective method to deliver employee training. One outcome of this type of delivery is that the training usually takes place “off-the-clock,” often in the evening. Indeed, the entire distinction between working and non-working hours has blurred. Privacy has also become an increasingly prominent issue, as the line between work-related information and personal information disappears. New corporate ERP systems now gather, and retain, vast amounts of information about employees, and increasingly link this information with other systems.
Unfortunately, scholarly research has lagged behind the rate of change in the practice of human resource management (HRM). This special issue is intended to support research in this underserved area and to help to establish an empirical base underlying electronic human resource management (e-HRM).
The first paper by Stefan Strohmeier and Rüdiger Kabst, “Organizational adoption of e-HRM in Europe: an empirical exploration of major adoption factors,” examines the factors that predict the adoption of large-scale ERP systems. Among the authors' findings is that organizations in post-communist Eastern European lead in e-HRM adoption. These systems form the foundation of all technology-driven HRM applications and position these organizations to compete effectively in a global economy.
The second paper by Jennifer L. Paschal, Dianna L. Stone, and Eugene F. Stone-Romero, entitled “Effects of electronic mail policies on invasiveness and fairness,” provides the results of a field experiment examining organizational policies and invasiveness, fairness, and privacy values. This paper provides evidence of the impact of organizational policies regarding electronic communication on perceptions of fairness and invasiveness.
In the third paper, “Comparison of online and traditional performance appraisal systems,” Stephanie C. Payne, Margaret T. Horner, Wendy R. Boswell, Amber N. Schroeder, and Kelleen J. Stine-Cheyne report the results of a quasi-experimental study investigating the impact of technology on performance management. Their results provide evidence that online performance appraisal systems are viewed as superior to paper and pencil systems in many respects, but not in terms of the perceived quality of the performance appraisal ratings.
The fourth paper, by Richard D. Johnson, Hal Gueutal, and Cecilia M. Falbe, entitled “Technology, trainees, metacognitive activity and e-learning effectiveness,” presents a model of training effectiveness in the context of e-learning approaches and an empirical test of that model. These data provide important information to assist corporate trainers as well as faculty in designing online courses and more effective online learning environments.
Finally, the fifth paper by Donald H. Kluemper and Peter A. Rosen, entitled “Future employment selection methods: evaluating social networking web sites,” examine the utility of information from a social networking site for differentiating high and low performers. Since approximately 6 percent of organizations in a recent survey (see CedarCrestone's 2008-2009 HR Systems Survey) now use information from social networking sites as part of the selection process, this paper provides researchers as well as HR professionals with very timely information.
All told, these empirical papers add much to our understanding of the impacts of technology on HR practice. As Guest Editor, I would like to thank all the faculty, students, and practitioners who submitted articles for this special issue. The general quality of the manuscripts was quite high, and the selection highly competitive. I hope all those who submitted their research will continue to work in this area and contribute to our knowledge base. I would also like to thank Kay Sutcliffe for her diligent editorial support and Dr Dianna L. Stone for her professional guidance during this process.
Hal GueutalGuest Editor