Change Management

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THE APPLICATION OF CHANGE MANAGEMENT THEORY TO HR PORTAL IMPLEMENTATION IN SUBSIDIARIES OF MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS

Cataldo Dino Ruta

HR portals are complex information technology (IT) applications that can be accessed by all employees of a given organization. By placing more applications and information online, HR portals reduce the reliance employees have on HR personnel. Given this relational change, from human to computer, the HR portal implementation process must take into account the challenges of both change management and technology acceptance. By integrating change management theories with IT user acceptance models, this article adds to HR’s collective knowledge of ways to effectively implement HR portals. In addition, this article describes the cross-national challenges that exist when a global firm attempts to implement an HR portal around the world. Thus, this article will present a model that (1) integrates change management theories and IT user acceptance models and (2) illustrates the ways in which change management plans may need to be adapted to be effective in various subsidiaries. A case study of Hewlett-Packard’s (HP’s) worldwide implementation of their @HP Employee Portal in the Italian subsidiary of HP illustrates the key issues of these theories. © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Introduction Human Resources Portal Applications In recent years, the World Wide Web has revolutionized the way individuals in organizations access information. In addition to channels such as business-to-business and business-to-consumer, the Web has permitted human resources management to implement HR processes where business-to-employee (B2E) solutions are possible (Harris, Phifer, & Berg, 2002). Organizations with strategic human resources have implemented an increasing number of electronic HR (e-HR) solutions for redesigning HR

processes and reducing the administrative role of the HR department (Crandall & Wallace, 2002; Lepak & Snell, 1998; Walker, 2001). Since more of the administrative tasks are available on HR portals, HR professionals have increasingly more time to engage in strategic HR activities. Often located on company intranet systems, HR portals are vehicles through which HR information and applications can be channeled effectively and efficiently (Firestone, 2003). There are many tools that HR portals offer, including employee communications (HR policies, who’s who, what’s new, FAQs, etc.) as well as pension services, open enrollment and benefit inquiries, and the

Correspondence to: Cataldo Dina Ruta, Organization and Human Resources Management Department, SDA Bocconi School of Management, IOSI Bocconi University, Viale Isonzo, 23, 20135 Milan, Italy, (39) 02 58362632, dino.ruta@unibocconi.it Human Resource Management, Spring 2005, Vol. 44, No. 1, Pp. 35–53 © 2005 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com). DOI: 10.1002/hrm.20039

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HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT, Spring 2005

Although the technical installation challenges can be great, it is the human challenges associated with change that cannot be overlooked (although often are) during the implementation phase of an HR portal.

like. Other administrative activities, such as the updating of an employee’s personal data (e.g., change of address), are the responsibility of employees themselves. Through HR portals, employees also may have access to customized and personalized news, resources, applications, and e-commerce options (Cascio, 2000; Collins, 2001). HR portals offer different services to employees than to management. Through HR portals, managers are able to generate reports (e.g., headcount, salary listings, time reports), examine employee activities (transfers, promotions, terminations, etc.), and manage their own activities (e.g., travel arrangements, expense management). HR Portal Implementation: Integrating Change Management Theories with IT User Acceptance Models...
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