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Proceedings of the 2nd International Workshop on Human Resource Information Systems

June 12-16, 2008, in Barcelona, Spain

Editors: Huub Ruël 1 and Rodrigo Magalhaes 2

ISBN: 978-989-8111-47-0

Conference Link: http://www.iceis.org

Foreword: Welcome to the proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS)! After a successful first edition in 2007 we have decided to continue the effort of bringing together researchers on HRIS from around the world. A clear conclusion of the first edition was that there is a need for platforms and places where HRIS researchers can meet, discuss and exchange experiences. Of course in today’s world physical distance should not matter any longer. Though, in practice it still does. Face-to-face contact seems to be an important trigger for fruitful collaboration among researchers. Electronic means can take it further and cannot be missed obviously. That brings us to the heart of HRIS research as one of the main concerns in organizational life where information systems support HRrelated work and where the key question is put forward: how to combine efficient execution of HR practices in which technology cannot be missed with the provision of HR services that leaves space for the individual’s behavioural and personal characteristics. This issue can neither be solved by IT engineers nor by social scientists separately. It needs the combined inputs of both groups. That is why we have chosen for this second HRIS workshop’s main theme: Engineering the organization for people management. Although the field of HRIS is reaching maturity after about two decades of academic study, there is still a lot of work to do. Starting from the assumption that HRISs are concerned with people management, it is apparent that the research topics covered by this subject can be very broad indeed. So, what are HRISs? In our view, HRISs are no different from other types of information systems in terms of their basic definition, i.e. complex social objects which are the outcome of the embedding of computer systems into an organization and where the technical from the social factors are not possible to take apart due to the cultural values and the political interests intervening alongside technological potentialities and constraints, in the development of the system. Regarding, the purposes of HRIS, we suggest the following three groups: • Operational: the execution of all the basic HRM practices (e.g. payroll, recruitment, training or appraisal systems) • Tactical: the integration, coordination and control of all the basic HRM policies and practices (e.g. intranet) • Strategic: contribution towards the organization’s strategy (e.g.systems providing strategic information, strategic data mining, enabling innovation, providing feedback on strategic performance or facilitating change) The technological systems (i.e. ICT) which support the above purposes are the concern of two broad communities: a community of users and a community of providers. The community of users are the HR specialists who know about the use given to the ICT application. The community of providers are the systems engineers whose expertise is in designing, developing, implementing and maintaining the information systems that the users use. Traditionally, these two communities do not talk much to each other. HR work in organizations follows processes which are well known to HR specialists in terms of day-today execution. However, when such work is mediated by ICT applications the processes need to be made explicit and this where the systems engineers come in. Systems engineers are expert in the modelling of processes, but they have only a vague knowledge of theof day-to-day execution. On the other hand, most HR specialists have a very sketchy understanding of process modeling. This is why the dialogue between the two communities becomes difficult. Lately, ICT specialists have gone one step up and they have become interested in organizational modeling within a discipline called Organizational Engineering (OE). OE aggregates multi-disciplinary concepts, methods and technology to model, develop and analyze various aspects of changing organizations. One of its major concerns is to understand the enterprise architecture and the relationships between business strategy, business processes and the business support systems in order to create and keep the alignment between these complementary domains. In order to overcome the huge gap between supply and demand a better understanding or, in other words, a new language is needed by both communities. As an example, enterprise architecture might provide an opportunity for a language understood by both HR and ICT specialists. Enterprise architecture is no more than a modelling technique which can be expressed in more technical terms or in a more natural language that everybody understands. Once a common language is established, both communities will be able to talk, with the HR specialists expressing the organizational needs (demand) and the ICT specialists putting forward the technological offer (supply). In order to be effective such a language needs to be not so technical that only the ICT folk will understand it nor so unstructured that it will be impossible to operationalize it in terms of automated systems. This workshop is aimed at advancing research and practice in HRIS by bringing together the two communities discussed above to explore new understandings around the theme engineering the organization for people management. Such exploration will be carried out with two key objectives: (1) finding out how the perspectives of the two communities converge or diverge in terms of research objectives, methodologies and results. (2) identifying research areas or topics where members of the two communities might work together. This volume of proceedings contains twelve interesting papers that aim to achieve the abovementioned objectives. We believe that these papers, each in its one way, contribute to advancing research and practice in HRIS. In concluding this short introductory note, we would like to thank all of those who supported and contributed to making this second HRIS workshop possible. Our first and special thanks we address to the Organizing Committee of the 10th International Conference on Enterprise Information Systems, and especially Vitor Pedrosa for his patience, collaboration and just-in-time help. We wish to thank particularly the General Workshop chairs, Olivier Camp and Slimane Hammoudi, for their support and trust in the topic of this workshop. Our thanks goes also to Tania Bondarouk for having launched the idea of this workshop in 2007. We are indebted to the members of the workshop program committee for their support. We are eternally grateful to all the authors who participated in the peer review process. And our final thanks go our keynote speaker Prof. Dr. Stefan Strohmeier, chair of Management Information Systems, Saarland University (Germany), whose unique and deep expertise in the field has helped us in making this second workshop a successful event. (More)


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