Human & Technological Resource Management (HTRM): New Insights into Revolution 4.0

Cover of Human & Technological Resource Management (HTRM): New Insights into Revolution 4.0


Table of contents

(11 chapters)


Pages i-xxvi
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Part I: Conceptual and Historical Frameworks


Technological development creates technological imperative for organisations. The most recent is dedicated to digital technologies with a strong influence on the way of managing and organising. To gain a better understanding of the latest business practice, the authors use a multilevel perspective and apply the historical analysis method. Specifically, this chapter explores organisational design (OD) of the future through the evolutionary perspective (spanning across the four industrial revolutions) and brings into focus how technological imperatives modified organisational structure, coordination mechanisms and people/job practices. By reflecting on the historical changes in OD practices that happened throughout different phases of industrialisation, the authors analyse how building blocks of digital OD shape managerial and employee behaviours, thus unleashing the performance potential of digital technologies.


The chapter is based on the Social Foundation project: ‘Digital Pathways to Growth: Competency’ conducted in the region of Zealand in Denmark. The process of creating a multifunctional semantic – a competency model – is unfolded. Informed by social system theory the semantic required to enable dialogue in a polycentric network is analysed. The participants are various small and medium-sized enterprises, across many occupations and tasks, different types of educational and training organisations as well as process consultants from various knowledge institutions, labour unions and industrial interest organisations. The model is designed through a participatory process to help this polycentric network of organisations to build competencies for the digitalisation ahead.

We argue that design thinking and engaged scholarship in the construction of a multifunctional semantics – such as the competency model – is useful both as a practical method and as a semantic research strategy informed by social system theory. The role played by design thinking when developing the competency model as a multifunctional semantic is concluded and the future research outlined.

The research generates knowledge of practical value for networked collaboration in educational ‘ecologies’ as the need increases for stronger links between education, business and research, as well as the involvement of social partners and civil society to increase Europe’s innovation capacity as advised by both the OECD and the EU.


The pace of transformation in the business landscape has made it mandatory for the human resource function within the organisation to evolve, adapt and adjust to the demands of the marketplace. This chapter focuses on HRM 4.0 and the change in employer branding strategies due to rapid increase in digitalisation, for example, through analytics and big data. A conceptual framework is provided that links HRM 4.0 with employer branding strategies.


Human resource analytics (HRA) is a practice that is emerging within the human resources function. This chapter aims to provide an overview of the knowledge that currently exists about HRA and to identify facilitators and restraints of using HRA. Based on both emerging trends in the literature and in-depth interviews with key practitioners in the field, the authors deduce recommendations for organisations to effectively employ HRA. The analysis shows that HRA is ready to add value towards organisational effectiveness, although barriers exist in realising its potential for the same. Facilitators of HRA include the right set of competencies, with relationship building identified as especially important.

Part II: HRM 4.0: Practice, Strategy and Policy


This chapter begins by exploring the critical tenets of strategic human resource management (SHRM) and then discusses what the study and practice of SHRM needs to do in a new era of sharing economy and artificial intelligence (AI) for delivering successful business and individual employee performance in a new world of technological disruptions in work and employment. Using examples from popular platforms such as Airbnb, Uber, Ola, Zomato and Swiggy in India, to name a few, this chapter illustrates the changing ways of how non-standard employees are managed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) through the use of technology platforms and apps, including the specific use of AI, in implementing a number of these changes. We highlight the need for new skills and knowledge by HR professionals to successfully engage in the new and brave world of AI-based technological disruption that we are all facing.


This chapter presents digital reverse mentoring as a novel kind of human and technological resource management intervention. It presents a case study of digital reverse mentoring at a large metal multinational. It highlights the various design elements of digital reverse mentoring that contribute towards achieving digital transformation and rebuilding of mindsets in the company. Through the case study the chapter also suggests that HRM needs to look beyond adoption of technological tools to actively participate in addressing the strategic concerns of digital transformation in a company.


Artificial intelligence (AI) is the key technology used and is gradually affecting all aspects of the organisations in their pursuit of digital transformation. In this study, the authors investigated the influence of AI on work, people and the firm. The authors adopted a qualitative approach to the study. The findings of the study indicated the pervasiveness of AI, the emergence of new forms of work, the threat to some of the existing jobs and the emergence of new skill sets. The data also suggested that with AI not every aspect of work is going to change; particularly the human interaction and capabilities for solving multivariate and complex problems are going to stay even with AI. As the new sets of skills are emerging, so the need for continuous skill development also emerges as relevant to the industry. Another set of findings suggested that new forms of organisations might evolve with the usage of AI and the technology could play a key role irrespective of the industry. The data also reflected that human capital processes like talent management and talent development would act as the integration mechanisms between the changing work, the emerging skill sets of people and the changing forms of the organisations.


While traditional Industry 4.0 is studied in the context of smart factories, the authors study it as a metaphor that represents the spill-over effects of digitalisation, high-speed internet, cloud-based super-computing on industry, countries, human resource development and national competitiveness. This chapter analyses the Industry 4.0 steps taken by the United States, Germany, South Korea and India. It compares strategic actions taken by these countries using a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT) analysis to understand the position of each country. The authors use Max Weber’s ideal types as a positivist frame of analysis for the country-level data and from this draws policy recommendations. Based on the current status of India and other countries, the chapter concludes by suggesting short-term, mid-term and long-term strategies to transform India into a highly competitive industrialised economy in the context of the fourth industrial revolution.


The coronavirus pandemic has, in a matter of months, changed the ways in which people work around the world. It has created a revolution in work from home, and brought to the forefront technologies such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence. In doing so, it has created conditions for challenges to ideas of managing people and work that emerged, along with the first offices and mills, in the very different world of the First Industrial Revolution.

The technologies that have enabled a rapid switch to alternative ways of work and study were already long in place. In this chapter, I look at the rise in adoption of these technologies set against a backdrop of the history of work from home, and argue that the global pandemic has possibly hastened the downsizing of the traditional office, and the arrival of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.


Pages 167-173
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