The human resources (HR) profession has had a rich history: that is, from the concept of labor unions in 1930 to the creation of selection tools in 1940 then to the reward systems in 1970 shifting to teamwork and then to partnerships in 1990. After the 1990s, like all other businesses, HR also influenced the Internet revolution. Classical human resources management (HRM) concerns the recruitment, selection, development, compensation, retention, evaluation, and promotion of personnel within an organization (Bernardin & Russel, 1993), which could be mostly transferred to the virtual world. Therefore, the HR profession faces an important challenge with new e-HRM and virtual actions encountered in the business world. This chapter examines the e-HRM phenomenon in the virtual world in detail and tries to bring new angles to e-HRM, and then manifests new definitions for the new reality while changes andinteractions take place in the virtual world.
The estimations of access, usage, acceptance, and communication in the Internet have tripled or more in the last years (Hall, 2001; Hays, 1999; Murphy, 1999) and recruitment stages and career opportunities have changed (Kumar, 2003) after Internet has come into the stage. E-HRM fast break has already started within the 2000’s. According to Rüel, Bondarouk, and Looise (2004), e-HRM is a relatively new term for the IT supported HRM, especially through the use of web technology. Some authors have singled out mastery of HR technology as one of the five competency domains for HR along with strategic contribution, personal credibility, HR delivery, and business knowledge (Schramm, 2006). E-HR approaches use both internal corporate intranets and the public Internet (Business Europe, 2000). According to Rüel, Bondarouk, and Vandervelde (2007), since the mid 1990s, organizations have increasingly introduced electronic HRM. It has also different names, for example e-HRM (Ulrich, 2000), virtual HRM (Lepak & Snell, 1998) Web-based HRM (Rüel et al., 2004), digital HRM, computer-based human resource information systems (CHRIS), and HR portals (Rüel, 2002).
However, e-HRM has been known as its position as the dynamic version of HRM. E-HRM functions are similar to HR management functions. These are planning for organizations and jobs for people, acquiring human resources, building individual and organizational performance, rewarding employees, maintaining human resources (Fischer, Schoenfeldt, & Shaw, 1996). The distinction between HRM and e-HRM functions is their process location. West and Berman (2001) also dwelled on differences between traditional HR and virtual HR.
E-HRM is also the cause of the start of the controversial part of the Internet revolution, which achieved dramatic improvement in critical areas of performance such as validity, credibility, compliance, proficiency, speed, etc. Within today’s rapid developments, HRM departments must be strategy-focused, flexible, efficient, and client oriented, and all must be so at the same time (Lepak et al., 1998).
Key Terms in this Chapter
Virtual Organization: A temporary network of independent companies, suppliers, customers, and erstwhile rivals—linked together by information technology to share skills, cost, and access to one another’s markets
Virtual World: An environment where people can share knowledge, do business, and study together by using new technological devices such as PCs, laptops, mobile phones, PDAs, PDA phones and other devices by accessing to common networks such as Internet
E-HRM: A platform that we use and follow HR functions with desktop architecture, intranet, and Internet / defined as the information flow system pending from one user to a network of HR/ defined as a way of implementing HR strategies, policies, and practices in organizations through a conscious and directed support of and/or with the full use of Web-technology-based channels
Virtual Teams: Defined as groups that have “gone digital” in order to function as a team.