From the Clinton-Gore attempts to “reinvent government” to public reform laws enacted worldwide, it is apparent that governments are responding to calls for improved public sector performance and accountability to citizens (Farazmand, 2004). Within these efforts, the introduction of electronic government (e-government), that is, the Web-based provision of information and services to government stakeholders (Lee, Tan, & Trimi, 2005), is among the most noteworthy. Under the e-government umbrella, e-human resources management (e-HRM), meaning the Web-based management of the employer-employee relationship (Ruël, Bondarouk, & Looise, 2004), is increasingly seen as conducive to enhanced government functioning. The goal of this article is to discuss governments’ use of e-HRM as a means of improving overall public sector performance. Technology and the strategic management of employees can contribute to firm performance and thus highlight the potential usefulness of e-HRM to the public sector. Following a brief overview of e-government, this article defines e-HRM, outlines its advantages, describes the experiences of select countries, and outlines a few challenges surrounding implementation. The article concludes with speculation on future trends.
Since the widespread adoption of the Internet in the 1990s, the tremendous success of e-commerce has stimulated governments to consider potential reform avenues afforded by the Internet. E-government pioneers such as Singapore and the United States have used e-government to improve the delivery of services to citizens, streamline public sector operations, and enhance overall government accountability (Hunter & Jupp, 2001).
E-government initiatives are generally classified along the specific stakeholders that governments interact with. For example, government-to-business (G2B) systems refer to interactions between businesses and government. Government-to-citizen (G2C) systems refer to government interactions with citizens, and is possibly the most popular application of e-government projects. Government-to-government (G2G) systems encompass exchanges within various branches of government (Lee et al., 2005). Finally, government-to-employee (G2E) systems encompass e-HRM platforms allowing interactions between a government and its workers. These generally include Intranets where employees can access HR information as well as the Web-based management of HR functions such as hiring, training, and compensation.
E-government provides an electronic environment to streamline transactions, and reduce the time, cost, and red tape traditionally associated with government interactions (Farazmand, 2004). Product procurement and delivery, key elements in the supply chain, can be seamlessly integrated into e-government platforms. E-government also increases trust in government. Empirical research on the United States’ e-government efforts demonstrates a link between satisfaction with e-government and trust in government (Welch, Hinnant, & Moon, 2005), and between use of local government sites, trust in government, and positive assessments of federal and local government (Tolbert & Mossberger, 2006).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Government-to-Business (G2B): The category of e-government that focuses on interactions between government and various organizations, including businesses and nonprofits, to support transactions such as contract bids, data collection, and grants.
E-Commerce: Buy and sell transactions mediated in a Web-based environment. Transactions are classified as business-to-consumer (B2C), business-to-business (B2B), and consumer-to-consumer (C2C).
Government-to-Citizen (G2C): The category of e-government that focuses on interactions between government and citizens to support transactions such as tax payment, licenses, and obtaining passports.
Government-to-Government (G2G): The category of e-government that focuses on interactions between a government and its various agencies to support transactions such as horizontal and vertical integration.
Government-to-Employees (G2E): The category of e-government that focuses on interactions between government and government employees to support transactions such as payroll and pension plans, obtaining training information, and accessing benefit eligibility information.