E-Work and Labor Processes Transformation

E-Work and Labor Processes Transformation

Barbara Imperatori (Catholic University, Milan, Italy) and Marco De Marco (Catholic University, Milan, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60566-304-3.ch003
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The evolution of the managerial discourse is the result of fashion lifecycles that sometimes have no rational or technical foundations and find no real application within the firms. Taking our cue from the new-institutional perspective, the chapter explores the real labor transformation processes related to the introduction of e-work projects, considering their outputs, outcomes and impacts. The study is based on a multiple-case analysis and underscores the relevance and impact of information and communication technology (ICT) on both “rational” firm’s productivity and “normative” employees’ psychological contract, also considering different institutional environments. Some critical issues and guidelines inherent the design and implementation of technology-based work systems are discussed, such as the dual perspective approach (the organizational and the employer viewpoint) during the needs-analysis and goal-setting phases; the relevance of coherent organizational culture and human resource practices; the removal of organizational structural constraints; the management of cognitive resistance; and the importance of the evaluation and monitoring phases.
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Background And Main Focus

In recent years, the academic and managerial literature (the “discourse”) on e-work has developed by also taking into account the impact of the technology on work flexibility (Robinson, Kraatz & Rousseau, 1994).

Some scholars suggest that the evolution of the managerial discourse—what is said and written about managerial issues - is the result of fashion lifecycles that sometimes have no rational economic foundations (Abrahamson, 1996) and which do not always find valid application within the firms (Abrahamson & Fairchild, 1999).

According to the new-institutional theory, institutional pressures lead to convergence in an organization’s structural features through a process of isomorphism. Indeed, the isomorphism of organizations that share a common context helps to legitimize the actual organizational methods, thereby increasing the likelihood of survival (Hinnings & Greenwood, 1988; Powell & DiMaggio 1991).

These institutional pressures include the legal aspects that characterize the socio-economic context, but also, and more generally, ideas, values, and beliefs that are exogenous to the organization. Isomorphic processes are social processes that could be the result of the dissemination of fashion “waves”, which induce organizations to adopt (sometimes only formally) specific practices to enhance their legitimization among customers and stakeholders.

Management fashion-setters propagate fashions, by which we mean transitory collective beliefs that certain management techniques are at the forefront of management progress. These fashion-setters—consulting firms, management gurus, mass-media business publications—do not simply leverage fashions onto gullible managers. Indeed, to sustain their images as fashion-setters, they must lead the race to anticipate the emergent collective preferences of managers for new management techniques; develop rhetoric that describe these techniques as the vanguard of management progress; and disseminate these rhetoric back to managers and organizational stakeholders ahead of other fashion-setters (Abrahamson, 1997, Barley & Kunda, 1992; Guillen, 1994).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Managerial Discourse: What is said and written about managerial issues.

E-Work Solutions: Managerial rhetoric that means that employee-organization relationship is mediated by ICT. E-work could enable both spatial and time working flexible solutions.

Psychological Contract: It is the employee’s expectations about his/her labor relationships (i.e. mutual obligations, values, expectations and aspirations) that operate over and above the formal contract of employment.

Outputs, Outcomes and Impacts: They are three effects along with is possible to evaluate of public policies according respectively products-services generated, results when products reach their target market, and finally underlying problems addressed or developed by the program in the longer term.

Managerial Rhetoric: It is part of the managerial discourse and it describes managerial fashionable techniques as the vanguard of management progress.

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Table of Contents
Tanya Bondarouk, Huub Ruel, Karine Guiderdoni-Jourdain, Ewan Oiry
Tanya Bondarouk, Huub Ruel, Karine Guiderdoni-Jourdain, Ewan Oiry
Chapter 1
Steve Foster
Several organisations have adopted e-HRM technology as a platform for achieving transformational change, improving HR operational processes... Sample PDF
Making Sense of e-HRM: Transformation, Technology and Power Relations
Chapter 2
Cataldo Dino Ruta
Intellectual capital is today considered a key issue in analyzing the critical determinants of company performance. Companies design more and more... Sample PDF
HR Portal: A Tool for Contingent and Individualized HRM
Chapter 3
Barbara Imperatori, Marco De Marco
The evolution of the managerial discourse is the result of fashion lifecycles that sometimes have no rational or technical foundations and find no... Sample PDF
E-Work and Labor Processes Transformation
Chapter 4
Gerwin Koopman, Ronald Batenburg
This chapter theoretically and empirically addresses the notion that user participation and involvement is one of the important factors for IS... Sample PDF
Early User Involvement and Participation in Employee Self-Service Application Deployment: Theory and Evidence from Four Dutch Governmental Cases
Chapter 5
Karine Guiderdoni-Jourdain, Ewan Oiry
In organizations, researchers as well as professionals have generally observed insufficient use of computer technologies when compared to their... Sample PDF
Does User Centered Design, Coherent with Global Corporate Strategy, Encourage Development of Human Resource Intranet Use?
Chapter 6
Nawaf Al-Ibraheem, Huub Ruël
Companies new to the e-HRM technologies are overwhelmed by the dilemma of choosing either the ready-made, off-the-shelf e-HRM systems, or develop... Sample PDF
In-House vs. Off-the-Shelf e-HRM Applications
Chapter 7
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Adaptation of electronic forms (e-forms) seems to be a step forward to reduce the burden for people who fill in forms. Municipalities more and more... Sample PDF
Adaptive Municipal Electronic Forms
Chapter 8
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Global, enterprise-wide, information systems (GEIS) projects are often delayed with budget over-runs often due to a lack of understanding of the key... Sample PDF
HRIS Project Teams Skills and Knowledge: A Human Capital Analysis
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IT-Based Integration of HRM in a Foreign MNC Subsidiary: A Micro-Political Perspective
Chapter 10
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Research on Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) implementation lacks theoretical depth and richness. For that reason this paper applies a... Sample PDF
Studying Human Resource Information Systems Implementation using Adaptive Structuration Theory: The Case of an HRIS Implementation at Dow Chemical Company
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Jonas F. Puck, Dirk Holtbrügge, Alexander T. Mohr
This chapter empirically analyses the influence of the cultural context on the comprehensiveness to which companies in different countries make use... Sample PDF
Applicant Information and Selection Strategies in Corporate Web Site Recruiting: The Role of National Culture
Chapter 12
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HR practitioners are often expected to be both efficient administrators of the employment relationship and to act as a strategic partner to the... Sample PDF
What is the Potential of E-Recruitment to Transform the Recruitment Process and the Role of the Resourcing Team?
Chapter 13
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This chapter will address the role of national culture on e-recruitment practices in India and Mexico. The GLOBE (Global Leadership and... Sample PDF
The Role of National Culture on E-Recruitment in India and Mexico
Chapter 14
Marielba Zacarias, Rodrigo Magalhães, José Tribolet
This chapter will address the role of national culture on e-recruitment practices in India and Mexico. The GLOBE (Global Leadership and... Sample PDF
Modeling Human Resources in the Emergent Organization
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Utilizing the Lead User Method for Promoting Innovation in E-Recruiting
Chapter 16
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What Makes the Difference? Introducing an Integrated Information System Architecture for Employer Branding and Recruiting
Chapter 17
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The Enrichment of the HR Intranet Linked to the Regulation's Process Between HR Actors
Chapter 18
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Exploring Perceptions about the Use of e-HRM Tools in Medium Sized Organizations
Chapter 19
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The changing business environment and increasing technology is redefining the role of the human resources function. Nowadays, corporations have to... Sample PDF
Perceived Performance of the Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) and Perceived Performance of the Management of Human Resources (HRM)
Chapter 20
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Employee life-cycle processes management (hiring new employees, changing their conditions, and dismissing them) is a critical task that has a big... Sample PDF
Employee Life-Cycle Process Management Improvement with Web-Enabled Workflow Systems
Chapter 21
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Chapter 22
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Chapter 23
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Coordination of Virtual Teams: From Trust to Control
Chapter 24
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Information Overload in the New World of Work: Qualitative Study into the Reasons
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