Studying Human Resource Information Systems Implementation using Adaptive Structuration Theory: The Case of an HRIS Implementation at Dow Chemical Company

Studying Human Resource Information Systems Implementation using Adaptive Structuration Theory: The Case of an HRIS Implementation at Dow Chemical Company

Huub Ruël (University of Twente, The Netherlands and American University of Beirut, Lebanon)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-304-3.ch010
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Abstract

Research on Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) implementation lacks theoretical depth and richness. For that reason this paper applies a theory to HRIS implementation developed by Gerardine DeSanctis and Marshal Scott Poole originally for studying information systems implementation, namely Adaptive Structuration Theory (AST). AST is based on Structuration Theory, a theory from sociology, and assumes that information systems and organizations are fundamentally interrelated. They influence each other mutually. In this paper concepts from AST are applied to a HRIS implementation at Dow Chemicals. The case shows how a HRIS’ philosophy through appropriation by end-users is being realized in HRIS outcomes.
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Introduction

Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) research lacks theoretical depth and richness. For that reason this chapter applies a theory to HRIS implementation developed by DeSanctis & Poole (1994), originally for studying information systems implementation, namely Adaptive Structuration Theory (AST). AST assumes that information systems and organizations are interrelated. In this paper concepts from AST are applied to study the HRIS implementation at Dow Chemicals. In this way the case of Dow shows how an HRIS’ philosophy, in AST terms called spirit, is brought to life through appropriation by end-users and is shown in expected and unexpected HRIS outcomes.

In this first section, HRIS research up to date is summarized. Subsequently, Adaptive Structuration Theory will be described and some interesting results provided with the help of this theory presented. In section three the research methods applied are described, and after that in section four the HRIS implementation at Dow Chemicals will be presented.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Spirit of Technology: The goals and intents of an application.

Appropriation: The process of incorporating the functionalities of an application into daily work life.

AST: Adaptive Structuration Theory

People Success System: A IT-based system that offered Human Resource Services to employees.

Structuration Theory: Theory developed by Anothy Giddens, a British sociologist, on how to analyze the social world.

HRIS: Human Resource Information System.

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