Assessment of Web 2.0 Applications Employed by Human Resource Departments in U.S. Cities

Assessment of Web 2.0 Applications Employed by Human Resource Departments in U.S. Cities

Maureen McDonald (WDE Consulting, USA), J. Scott McDonald (University of Texas El Paso, USA), Gerald A. Merwin (Valdosta State University, USA), Keith A. Merwin (Merwin & Associates, USA) and Mathew Richardson (University of Texas El Paso, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-1601-1.ch052
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Abstract

Most local governments employ an intranet within the organization, to assist in human resources. A telephone survey of local government officials (n=17) found these intranet sites employ few Web 2.0 applications. The survey found most cities have plans to increase their use of Web 2.0 applications for human resources management. However, the recent economic recession has adversely impacted these plans. The chapter forwards recommendations to improve local governments’ use of Web 2.0 applications while maintaining cost efficiencies.
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Background

Human Resources: A Brief Review

HR is one of the essential organizational functions. Its focus is human capital, one of several types of capital, including for example: finance, equipment, and land. Both private sector and public sector organizations employ capital to maintain themselves and to provide goods and/or services. Since HR deals with humans, it is one of the most complex of organizational functions. Most simply, HR is charged with ensuring an organization has the right people at the right place with the right skills. Specifically, HR links performance standards to rewards, and provides individuals with authority commensurate with their responsibilities (Guy, Klay, & Coursey, 2004; Zeidner, 2008b). The realm of HR is broad and complex, and includes recruitment; retention; skill development (training); morale; rewards (salary, benefits, and others); performance evaluations; communication with current and potential employees; outplacement (retirements and lay-offs); and compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations; among other functions. (Bohlander & Snell, 2010)

Human Resource Function in Local Government

The USGAO reports the three enablers of public sector management are: people, process, and technology and of these enablers, Doug Baker (2005) concurs with GAO that people are the most significant organizational asset. (USGAO, n.d.) According to Doris Wong, Vice President of Peoplesoft, appropriate application of technology is an essential contributor to human resource management (Inside View, 2008). A decade ago, choice of technology implied hardware and basic software. Today, key technological decisions surround use of the www and implementation of Web 2.0 applications (Inside View, 2008). Increasingly, HR links two key organizational assets, people and technology.

Expanding upon the above definitional assets, the complexity of HR comes to light:

  • “The right people”: recruitment and retention, and outplacement (lay-off and retirement).

  • “The right place”: geographic, organizational, and temporal location (access).

  • “The right skills”: employee development (i.e. training and career ladders).

These three assets are impacted by innovations associated with Web 2.0, and in turn impact an organization’s ability to effectively employ the many potential advantages presented by Web 2.0 applications.

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