Welcome to the Proceedings of the First International Workshop on Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)! Is that not already explored enough? It was 1986 when Gerardine DeSanctis made one of the first large-scale empirical studies into the status of Human Resource Information Systems (DeSanctis, 1986), and concluded that the role of HRIS in the corporate MIS was not clear; norms did not exist and the topic itself was a controversial one; HRIS managers were not trained properly and lacked personnel skills; and HRIS planning was not well coordinated with the personnel planning and the organization’s strategic plans. DeSanctis’ experience still has a certain ring of familiarity. Beginning in the 1960s, personnel management was an early candidate for office automation in payroll, benefits administration, and employee records keeping. Typically, this information was stored in flat databases being interrogated via simple key words searching. Early studies into HRIS however,
demonstrated the “hesitant” use of HRIS by HR practitioners who perceived IT as “workhorses” of the personnel function. Growth in strategically focused HRM produced demands for information and communication developments in Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS). Empirical reports since then have indicated that the use of HRIS has become more confident although still mainly for administrative purposes, and that HRIS projects mainly remained technology-driven events, with the focus on the growing sophistication of information technology (IT). As a result, in the first years in this field, HRISs were subject to high failure rates and, today, the situation is little better. While there have been periods during the last thirty years when HRISs have been more successful in the industry eye, there is no reason to think that it has become less serious. Recent developments in the HRIS area are driven by dramatical technological changes and innovations: ERP-based HRIS applications are able to integrate a broad range of different HR modules among each other as well as with numerous modules of other business areas like sales, production or finance, thereby providing for the first time a fully integrated infrastructure of HRM. HRIS applications try to push HRM into a more strategic position by supporting HR decisions with adequate descriptive and prognostic information. HRIS applications in recruiting, training, compensation and many other HR areas have unlocked a world of possibilities by introducing new actors to HRM, launching a new way to organize HR and hence even generally inaugurated the era of “e- HRM”. However, the twenty-one--year-old experience of DeSanctis has still a certain ring of familiarity… In the wake of recent HRIS innovations, numerous technology- as well as business-orientated questions concerning the development, implementation, application and consequences of HRIS arise and shake organizations. The HRIS field is still confronted with ‘golive’ problems such as design issues, employees’ dissatisfaction with newly introduced HRIS, the mismatch of a new technology with the existing infrastructure in a company, an underestimation of the technological complexity for employees, inefficiency in the end-user support, and opposite perceptions about HRIS by the HR professionals, line managers and workforce – users of HRIS. And yet, we do not even have complete theoretical clarity on what are the roles of an “HR-” and “-IS” parts in HRIS, and how to implement them in organizations. Should we develop special theoretical understanding for HRIS with inclusion of the characteristics of HR processes, or we should treat HRIS as ‘traditional’ Information Systems? Located at the intersection of IS and HRM, HRIS are not a major research area in neither discipline. In order to reduce this confusion, this Workshop focuses on HRIS in a general and multidisplinary way that addresses theoretical, empirical as well as prototyping approaches concerning any HRIS related subject. This workshop brings together researchers from both the IT implementation domain and the HRM domain in HRIS. Fourteen papers were accepted. Researchers from Germany, France, the Netherlands, Brazile, Italy, India, Kuwait, Check Republic, Finland and the USA came to share their ideas and findings. The full list of contributions (in alphabetical order) is presented later. And therefore, especially as this is the First International Workshop on HRIS, we are very proud of this list of contributors and the high quality of the work submitted. The papers present various topics such as HRIS implementation, cultural characteristics of HRIS, effectiveness of specific applications, HR contribution to the HRIS design, strategic HRIS. Further, these papers differ in the research methods employed: ethnographic studies, surveys, interviews, logistic regression, and neural analysis. We welcome such diversity and believe that it proves that HRIS as a research field has already established the grounds for its future development. In concluding this short note, we would like to thank all of those who supported and contributed to making the first HRIS Workshop possible. Our first and special thanks we address to the Organizing Committee of the 9th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems, and especially Vitor Pedroza for his patience, collaboration and just-in-time help. We wish to thank particularly General Workshops chairs, Olivier Camp and Slimane Hammoudi, for their support and trust in the topic of this workshop although the workshop proposal was submitted after the deadline. We are indebted to the members of the workshop program committee members, consisting of senior IT and HRM academics, which helped in developing the concept for this Workshop and its major themes, for their support in continuing our collaboration since the e-HRM Conference in Twente in October 2006. Many thanks to the external reviewers, whose critical but friendly comments helped the authors improve their papers. We are eternally grateful to all the authors who participated in the peer review process. It was a valuable experience that allowed almost every paper to receive two reviews, and enabled every contributor to get a “feeling” of the other papers. And our final thanks go to the key-note speaker of the workshop, Dr. Milan Zeleny, Professor of Management Systems, Fordham University (USA), whose broad and unique expertise in the field of Human Systems Management and organizational wisdom helped us finding an extra specific focus for our research meeting in Madeira.
Vol. 1 - 978-989-8111-02-9