Although many studies, such as Ball (2001), Chapman and Webster (2003), and West and Berman (2001) have shown how e-recruiting and e-selection, e-reward and e-relations, and e-training and e-development can be used at an human resource management (HRM) resourcing, administrative, or learning-level, respectively, the formulation of e-HRM strategies relating HRM policies with business performance have been largely neglected (Lengnick-Hall & Moritz, 2003). The major contributing factor to this negligence may be the difficulty in developing a framework that distinguishes between context, configuration, and consequences of e-HRM, due to the fact that e-HRM is functioning at different but complex and interrelated levels (Strohmeier, 2007). In this article, the inclusion of e-resourcing, and more specifically e-recruiting and e-selection, in an HRM-performance linkage model is presented. Considering that the initial intention of the development of HRM-performance linkage models was not to serve e-HRM, the scope of this article is to adapt an HRM-performance linkage model to e-HRM. To do this, an integrative framework for understanding the link between Human Resource Management and Business Performance is presented and then the integration of e-resourcing in this framework is proposed, providing thus new knowledge on effective e-HRM performance linkage models.
Considering that e-resourcing refers to the acquiring of human resources that is carried out electronically (Ensher, Nielson, & Grant-Vallone, 2002), and aiming in the next section to indicate how e-resourcing fits into an existing HRM-performance linkage model, the purpose of this section is to briefly present the issue of HRM-performance linkage models. HRM-performance linkage models suggest that HRM policies and financial performance are mediated by HRM outcomes and organizational performance, and they are moderated by business strategies, environmental context, and other contingencies (Guest, 1997, 2001). The existing literature highlights the development of a number of HRM-performance linkage models that have contributed to the rapid theoretical growth of the field in strategic HRM. The “universalistic,” “contingency,” “configuration” (Delery & Doty, 1996) and the “fully integrated” (Hall & Torrington, 1998) models are identified among existing theories that investigate the relationship between HRM and performance. However, although there is no clear picture which of these models is the predominant one (Wood, 1999) and whether the configuration model is conceptually indistinguishable from the contingency model (Schuler & Jackson, 2005), the specific characteristics of the four models are as follows:
The universalistic model or HRM as an ideal set of practices suggests that a specified set of HR practices (the so called “best practices”) will always produce superior results whatever the accompanying circumstances (Brewster, 1999; Huselid, 1995; Pfeffer, 1994, 1998).
The contingency model or HRM as strategic integration argues that an organization’s set of HRM policies and practices will be effective if it is consistent with other organizational strategies, such as defenders, prospectors, and analyzers (Miles & Snow, 1984), or other generic firm strategies, such as cost, quality, and innovation (Porter, 1980; Schuler & Jackson, 1987).
The configurational model or HRM as bundles makes use of the so-called “bundles” of HR practices, which imply the existence of specific combinations, or configurations of HR practices depending on corresponding organizational contexts, where the key is to determine which are the most effective in terms of leading to higher business performance (Arthur, 1992; Guest & Hoque, 1994; Huselid & Becker, 1996; MacDuffie, 1995).
The fully integrated model argues that HRM strategy does not exist as a separate functional strategy but both HRM strategy and business strategy are developed together rather than separately (Hall et al., 1998).