A Contingency Perspective on the Implementation of E Performance Management

A Contingency Perspective on the Implementation of E Performance Management

Tanya Bondarouk (University of Twente, The Netherlands) and Jan Kees Looise (University of Twente, The Netherlands)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-883-3.ch030
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Abstract

A lot has been done in the research into information technologies for HR purposes. Beginning in the 1960- s, personnel management was an early candidate for office automation in payroll, benefits administration, and employee records holding (Ball, 2001). Typically, this information was stored in flat databases being interrogated via simple searching of key words. Growth in strategically focused HRM produced demands for information and communication developments in human resource information systems (HRIS). Growth in strategically focused HRM produced demands for information and communication developments in e-HRM. Empirical reports since then have indicated that the use of e-HRM has become more confident although still mainly for administrative purposes, and that e-HRM projects mainly remained technology-driven events, with the focus on the growing sophistication of information technology. As a result, in the first years in this field, e-HRM was subject to high failure rates and, today, the situation is little better (Bondarouk & Ruël, 2007; Keebler & Rhodes, 2002): While there have been periods during the last thirty years when human resource information systems have been more successful in the industry eye, there is no reason to think that it has become less serious. (Bondarouk & Rüel, 2007) The purpose of this article is to contribute to the discussion on the implementation of e-HRM in organizations by developing a contingency framework of what the organizational conditions are likely to support the process of adoption of one specific e-HRM application, e-performance management.
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Introduction

A lot has been done in the research into information technologies for HR purposes. Beginning in the 1960-s, personnel management was an early candidate for office automation in payroll, benefits administration, and employee records holding (Ball, 2001). Typically, this information was stored in flat databases being interrogated via simple searching of key words. Growth in strategically focused HRM produced demands for information and communication developments in human resource information systems (HRIS).

Growth in strategically focused HRM produced demands for information and communication developments in e-HRM. Empirical reports since then have indicated that the use of e-HRM has become more confident although still mainly for administrative purposes, and that e-HRM projects mainly remained technology-driven events, with the focus on the growing sophistication of information technology. As a result, in the first years in this field, e-HRM was subject to high failure rates and, today, the situation is little better (Bondarouk & Ruël, 2007; Keebler & Rhodes, 2002):

While there have been periods during the last thirty years when human resource information systems have been more successful in the industry eye, there is no reason to think that it has become less serious. (Bondarouk & Rüel, 2007)

The purpose of this article is to contribute to the discussion on the implementation of e-HRM in organizations by developing a contingency framework of what the organizational conditions are likely to support the process of adoption of one specific e-HRM application, e-performance management.

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Background

Integration of IT and Performance Management

We build a definition of electronic performance management on the concept of e-HRM of Ruël, Bondarouk, and Looise (2004), and understand it as a way of implementing PM-processes in organizations through conscious and directed support of and/or with the full use of Web-technology-based channels.

In accordance to Cardy and Miller (2005), IT can provide support for performance management at two levels. At the macro level, IT is used for allocating human resources within the company as part of enterprise resource planning (ERP). It gives the management of a company the overview of the status of each resource. The use of these applications is restricted to management and HR-professionals.

At the micro level, technology supports PM in the measurement and development of the performance of individuals and teams in two ways. At the content side, quadrant 3, companies use IT to generate data for performance measurement, usually of routine jobs (jobs with simple tasks in which little personal judgment and low discretion is needed). Cardy and Miller (2005) call this form ‘computerized performance management,’ and is estimated that 40 million workers are monitored with this process (Stone, Stone-Romero, & Lukaszewski, 2006). At the process side, quadrant 4, IT aids in the delivery of performance feedback and appraisal and development possibilities. Regularly, it is used for jobs with personal judgment, high discretion, and open-ended tasks. When supported with Web-technology, the information about PM is accessible to others within a company as well (Cardy & Miller, 2005). Employees can track their own progress over a series of evaluations and are able to select and attend trainings themselves. Managers receive help to compose appraisals and are therefore better able to focus on the content of the evaluation rather than on the forms, resulting in better and more frequent employee evaluations (Cardy & Miller, 2005).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Contingency: Congruence, match, agreement, or fit between distinct constructs.

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