Effects of Technology on the Hr Function

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“Critically analyse the ways in which the increasing application of technology at work have an effect upon the HR function.” Word count: 3283
“Critically analyse the ways in which the increasing application of technology at work have an effect upon the HR function.”

Critically analyse the ways in which the increasing application of technology at work have an effect upon the HR function. The use of technology within HRM has grown considerably within recent years with the majority of large organisations now using technology of some form within their HR function (CIPD, 2005). As HR becomes increasingly reliant on technology it is important to assess its effect upon the HR function. Firstly, consideration will be given to definition of terms along with a description of the uses of technology within the HR function. Next the change in the structure of the HR profession that has developed alongside the emerging and growing use of technology will be addressed. The goals of the use of technology which have been afforded a significant amount of attention within the literature will then be outlined along with consideration of the realisation of these goals. In addition, the effect of shared service centres, which make significant use of technology, upon the role of HR practitioners will be addressed in conjunction with the views of HR practitioners themselves. Whilst little attention has been given to the situating of the use of technology in HR within a wider sociological perspective in the academic literature, an attempt will be made to consider the effect of technology upon HR within such a debate. Finally, conclusions will be drawn as to the impact 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 used to refer to the use of technology within the HR function. The use of e-HRM varies enormously within organisations and may be used for different purposes (Parry et al. 2007). The term Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is also used to refer to any system that helps an organisation to “acquire, store, manipulate, analyse, retrieve and distribute information about an organisation’s human resources” (Tannenbaum, 1990, p.28). However, the use of technology within HR is broader than the use of HRIS and may encompass manager and employee self-service, the use of staff intranets and e-enabled processes such and recruitment and performance management amongst others (Reilly, 2012). It is acknowledged that some current research 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 used for standardising the gathering of information 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, administration of flexible benefits and performance appraisal (Grensing-Pophal, 2001) or to manage HR and employee information across the whole employment cycle (Parry et al. 2007). Technology has also been increasingly associated with supporting integrated call centres, shared service centres and the use of manager and employee self-service (CIPD, 2007). There is a great emphasis in the literature about the potential goals of e-HRM (Marler, 2009; Ruel, Bondarouk and Looise, 2004). However, there has been less emphasis on whether these goals have been realised in reality (Parry and Tyson, 2011; Strohmeier, 2007). Alongside the development and increasing use of technology is the development and changing role of the HR function itself. Traditionally the HR function has been seen as being a largely administrative function, focussed on administrative processes such as the maintenance of employee and...
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