Human Resources Information Systems and Companies: A Study of Their Relationship
Guter, Kirstin Lynn
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Typically the HR., or personnel, department has been used most extensively in larger companies where close contact between upper management and employees has been difficult to maintain effectively. The HR department has adopted somewhat of a mediatory role within large companies, their goal being to facilitate a more productive work climate by helping management make effective use of their employees• skills, and by helping to improve employee satisfaction with their jobs and working conditions. HR employees also find their other duties in companies to be quite varied, possibly encompassing: handling employee grievances; recruiting and training employees; negotiating labor policy (which might include compensation, benefits and employee welfare); and relations between line workers and upper management. In large companies these tasks are usually divided among different departments, while in smaller companies one or two HR. employees might handle all of them themselves (U.S., p.50). There is an enormous amount of pressure on these U.S. business people to make increasingly better and faster decisions for the businesses they work for, from answering everyday production queries to determining how their particular corporation fits into the future of their industry as a whole. In order for companies to become leaders in their respective industries, HR managers need to control labor costs, find new ways to motivate their co-workers to improve quality and fine tune their work performance. At the same time, the managers must continuously be searching for innovative and better ways to accomplish these goals. The goals themselves, however, are not as easily attainable when an HR. manager considers that his or her fellow employees are indeed a diverse group of people, on the bases of locality and culture. These two elements can make creating a harmonious atmosphere in the work place a huge hurdle in itself In addition to insuring a productive work climate, HR managers have numerous records to maintain for each of the company's employees. For most managers, hard copies (paper reports) of an employee's payro11, benefits, and attendance records are no longer feasible in order to minimize both time spent on record keeping and the cost of maintaining such records. For all of these reasons, HR. managers now need and demand sophisticated technology to connect all of these necessary elements of day-to-day operations in the business world (Broderick, HRM, p.7), and have been turning, in increasing numbers for many years, to computers for solutions. These solutions in themselves, however, present new obstacles for Human Resource Management (HRM): employees who are reluctant to adopt the new technology; implementation of the technology into a workable everyday routine; and determination of which type of technology will benefit their company to the highest degree. Because technology options are becoming more complex and numerous as increasing numbers of consulting firms flood the market, HR.M may lose sight of the actual technological capabilities its corporation needs not only to function, but to remain competitive. It would seem that certain kinds of software packages, or new technology, would be more applicable to certain types of industries, or sizes of companies (Campbell, p.l49+ ), and that these companies would have different reasons for adopting the technology and different levels of satisfaction with it. The actual size of companies combined with their perceived level of satisfaction with technology produced on computers and their actual time spent on computers became the focus of this study because this was not entirely clear neither in the Background information, nor in the Literature Review. Using a previously written survey, I attempted to find the significance of relationships between company size and computer use and satisfaction with computer use. By testing variables pertinent to my hypothesis, I was able to examine the collective responses of different sized companies concerning their relative participation with available technology. The survey, written by Dr. Edilberto Montemayor, Assistant Professor of Labor and Industrial Relations at Michigan State University, was responded to by 148 members of the Society of Human Resources Management Professionals. Respondents were divided into three equal groups based on the number of total employees. This variable, company size, became the independent variable for all variable tests. It would seem that, based on the sheer number of employees a large company has, technology/computers would be a more beneficial, productive, and successful tool than for smaller companies. It would also appear that large companies would be more likely to use computers and would be more satisfied with them than smaller companies. Because this seems to be a logical line of thought, I set out to test the assumption that the "technologically successful company" profile would belong to large companies.