Tanya V. Bondarouk
School of Management and Governance, University of Twente, P.O. 217 Enschede, The Netherlands
Huub Ruël
Kuwait-Maastricht Business School, P.O. Box 9678 Salmiya, Kuwait
Keywords: Web-based HRM, actual use of Web-based HRM, effectiveness of Web-based HRM.
Abstract: Web-based Human Resource Management (HRM) is coming to a more full-grown stage within
organisational life. Much is assumed and expressed about its advantages, however scientific proof of these
advantages is scarce. No clarity exists about the answer to the question whether Web-based HRM
contributes to the effectiveness of HRM processes. This paper contributes to the Web Information Systems
sciences in two ways. Firstly, findings-wise, we present results from the quantitative study on the
contribution of Web-based HRM to HRM effectiveness. The data is collected in a Dutch ministry of Internal
Affairs. Results show that actual use of the Web-based HRM application correlates with HR effectiveness,
especially its content and design. Regression analysis confirms that the experienced quality of the Web-
based HRM application is the only significant explanatory factor of technical and strategic HRM
effectiveness. Secondly, in this paper we integrate two approaches, namely Web technology-oriented
approach, and organizational processes-oriented approach. An intersection of Web- and HRM- studies
reveals new possibilities both for scientific and practical implications.
One of the popular Web-based technologies in
organizations nowadays is those that support Human
Resource Management (HRM). Known examples of
such Web-applications are Web-based recruitment,
Web-based career development, Web-based
personnel administration, to name but a few.
Notably, the use of web-based HRM is widely
discussed in the reports of consultancy firms and
professional HRM organisations (Cedar Consulting,
2003). Such reports show that first of all, HRM
professionals (and their companies) are no longer
surprised by the Web-based HRM phenomenon;
they have “grown up” and are ready for serious
discussions about it. Second, companies spot high
interests in getting more insights in the ways how to
implement Web-based HRM applications and how
Web-based HRM impacts organisational life.
Academics devote more and more attention to
examining Web-based HRM in attempts to explore
this contradiction. Within a decade of its history,
scientific knowledge about Web-based HRM had
assembled several conclusive notions about the
goals of Web-based HRM (Ruël et al, 2004), its
types (Lepak and Snell, 1998), the effectiveness of
different Web-based HRM applications, and the
implementation of Human Resource Information
Systems (Ball, 2001).
There is a sound belief that Web-based HRM
should improve HRM processes by freeing HR staff
from the burdens of administration, enabling them to
undertake critical people management activities
(Lepak and Snell, 1998). These beliefs originate in
ideas about the endless possibilities of Web-based
information technologies (IT) to facilitate HR
practices, and about the endless capacity of HRM to
adopt IT.
However, the most intriguing point, while the
beliefs and interests in Web-based HRM are
growing, the appreciation of Web-based HRM and
V. Bondarouk T. and Ruël H. (2007).
In Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies - Society, e-Business and e-Government /
e-Learning, pages 179-187
DOI: 10.5220/0001290301790187
the expectations from it seem to be decreasing
(Cedar Consulting, 2003; NVP, 2004).
This paper contributes to the field of Web-based
Information Technologies (IT) in two ways. First
contribution concerns development of a theory. It
considers Web-based HRM as an intersection of two
backgrounds: IT and organizational (HRM) studies.
IT-based Web-based HRM studies investigate
the usage of IT for HR purposes. Evidence suggests
that Web-based HRM projects mainly remain
technology-driven events, focusing on the growing
sophistication of technology. In this context, studies
examine the qualities of Human Resource
Information Systems necessary for its adoption by
HR departments and complete organisations (Bal,
2001; Fisher and Howel, 2004). However, these
studies remain silent about changes in HR practices
due to Web-based HRM.
HR-based Web-based HRM studies mainly
examine single Web-based HR practices, providing
evidence that almost any HR practice can be
automated. The foci of this type of research vary
widely, from analysis of the competences of HR
professionals (Hempel, 2004), to ethical issues
(Hogler et al., 1998). However, these studies tend to
avoid issues related to on-going use of Web-based
technologies. To integrate two academic
backgrounds, this paper aims first at developing a
theoretical framework as an integration of IT- and
HRM- studies.
Second contribution of this paper concerns
empirical evidence about usefulness of Web-based
HRM for the HRM processes. Theoretical
complexity has consequences for Web-based HRM
projects and their management. It is increasingly
unclear what the full advantages of Web-based
HRM are, and to what extent Web-based HRM
makes HRM effective.
Therefore, the second goal of this paper is to
answer the research question, whether Web-based
HRM contributes to the HRM effectiveness?
Our paper presents the results of a quantitative
study on the contribution of the actual use of Web-
based HRM to HRM effectiveness. The study was
conducted in the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and
Kingdom Relations.
This paper is organised as follows: first, it will
dive into the theoretical background of Web-based
HRM studies. A research model and hypotheses will
be presented after that. Then the paper will explain
the research methods used, and findings will be
presented. The final section is dedicated to
conclusions, discussion and future research
Based on the view of HRM practices as
communications from the employer to employees
about HRM content (Guzzo and Noonan, 1994;
Bowen and Ostroff, 2004), we define Web-based
HRM as the directed and IT-networked
communications from the employer to employees
about HRM content. This definition reflects findings
from earlier research that Web-based HRM directly
involves all employees in HRM processes due to the
technological networks, and gives HR professionals
the opportunity to focus mainly on encouraging
desired employees’ behaviors (Ruël et al, 2004).
Research evidence suggests that in many
organisations, Web-based HRM has led to a radical
redistribution of what managers do. Many of the
reporting activities previously performed by HR
professionals can now be performed by managers
and employees on-line (Ruël et al, 2004; Ruta,
2005). On their desktops, managers can perform
appraisals, evaluate employee costs, generate HR
reports (turnover, absenteeism), process training
requests and competence management. Employees
have access to everything they need to change and
manage their personal files, plan their development,
process financial documents and apply for new jobs
(Roehling et al, 2005).
2.1 “Technological” Side of Web-Based
A lot has been done in the research into information
technologies for HR purposes. Beginning in the
1960s, 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 key words
searching. Growth in strategically focused HRM
produced demands for information and
communication developments in Human Resource
Information Systems (HRIS). Early studies into
HRIS demonstrated the “hesitant” use of HRIS by
HR practitioners who perceived IT as workhorses of
the personnel function (Hall and Torrington, 1998).
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 remain technology-
driven events, with the focus on the growing
sophistication of information technology (IT). In this
context, studies focus on the qualities of IT
WEBIST 2007 - International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
necessary for its use by HR departments (Kavanagh
et al, 1990; Haines and Petit, 1997; Keebler and
Rhodes, 2002; Fisher and Howel, 2004).
For example, in their survey among 152 users of
HRIS, Haines and Petit (1997) found a number of
individual/task, organisational and system conditions
that support successful HRIS. Although the
relationship with the system usage was found to be
weak, the links with user satisfaction were strong.
This was the case for many of the system conditions
like training, documentation, presence of on-line
applications, ease of use, and perceived usefulness
of the system. Another quantitative study in 115
organisations actively using HRIS conducted by Ball
(2001) has revealed that the organisation size is a
clear determinant of whether an organisation has an
HRIS at all and, second, whether it adopts certain
modules (e.g. core personnel administration) over
others (e.g. training and competence management).
The type of HRIS is also shown to be determined by
the organisational size: the smaller companies (less
than 500 employees) would go for low cost and low
risk HRIS, more flexible software or in-house
developed (Thaler-Carter, 1998; Ball, 2001).
More recent studies into the implementation of
Web-based HRM are shifting towards addressing the
dynamic nature of the HRIS implementation and use
such concepts like innovation implementation,
learning, change management, Technology
Acceptance Model (Keebler and Rhodes, 2002).
Incorporation of the Technology Acceptance
Model (Davis et al, 1989) into Web-based HRM
studies has resulted in notions that the use of Web-
based HRM by the targeted employees is highly
determined by the level of usefulness of the HR
information technology and ease of its use (Ruta,
2005; Voermans and Van Veldhoven, 2007). The
design of HRIS is considered as done but not fixed
in the traditional development stage. A recent
example is the study into the implementation of a
HR employee portal in the Italian subsidiary of
Hewlett-Packard (Ruta, 2005). The research
demonstrated that the usage of HRIS increased when
IT user acceptance principles were integrated with
change management principles; when the IT user
acceptance model focused on “what” predicted
intentions to use the HR portal, while change
management theory focused on “how” intentions to
use the HR portal could be influenced. It was shown
that by analysing the context (at both the industry
and company levels), change agents managed to
adopt the most appropriate actions to support the HR
portal implementation.
Our concluding observation at this point is that
many of the findings in the implementation of Web-
based HRM (or HRIS) substantiate the expected
relationships and dynamics of the implementation
process derived from the research into information
systems. Therefore, due to the latest developments,
implementation of Web-based HRM can be
compared to the drifting process (Ciborra, 1996) that
divides intended goals and achieved outcomes of the
Web-based HRM implementation.
2.2 “HRM” Side of Web-Based HRM
The current Web-based HRM literature considers
Web-based HRM a choice for an approach to HRM
rather than a specific stage in the development of
HRM. Wright and Dyer (2000) distinguish three
areas of HRM where organizations can choose to
‘offer’ HR services face-to-face or through an
electronic means: transactional HRM, traditional
HRM and transformational HRM. Lepak and Snell
(1998) make a similar distinction, namely
operational HRM, relational HRM and
transformational HRM. The first area, operational
HRM, concerns the basic HR activities in the
administrative area, e.g. salary administration
(payroll) and personnel data administration. The
second area, relational HRM, concerns more
advanced HRM activities. The emphasis here is not
on administering, but on HR tools that support basic
business processes such as the recruiting and
selection of new personnel, training, performance
management and appraisal, and rewards. The third
area, transformational HRM, concerns HRM
activities with a strategic character. Here we are
talking about activities regarding organizational
change processes, strategic re-orientation, strategic
competence management and strategic knowledge
The areas mentioned could also be considered
the types of HRM that can be observed in practice.
In some organizations, the HRM emphasis is on
administration and registration, in others on the
application of operational HRM instruments, and in
a third group on its strategic role. Within all of these
types, choices can be made in terms of which HRM
activities will be offered face-to-face and which will
be offered through web-based HR (e-enabled). For
the operational type of HRM, this question provides
the choice between asking employees to keep their
own personal data up-to-date through an HR website
or to have an administrative force in place to do this.
For relational HRM, there is the choice between
supporting recruitment and selection through a web-
based application or using a paper-based approach
(through advertisements, paper-based application
forms and letters, etc.). Finally, in terms of
transformational HRM, it is possible to create a
change-ready workforce through an integrated set of
web-based tools that enables the workforce to
develop in line with the company’s strategic choices
or to have paper-based materials.
Ruël et al (2004) have shown that although these
types are mixed in practice, it is important that
“establishing a good basis for Web-based HRM at
the operational level seems to be an essential
prerequisite for the relational and transformational
Web-based HRM; and that it requires changes in the
tasks of HR professionals (less paper-based
administration, more e-communications with
employees, skills for operating IT)". Classifying
companies according to Web-based HRM types does
not mean assessing their Web-based HRM. None of
the types can be judged as good or bad. It was
shown that there is a ‘gap’ between Web-based
HRM in a technical sense (the available
functionality) and the use and adoption of it by
employees and line managers. The actual
usage/adoption lags behind what is possible.
2.2.1 Goals of Web-Based HRM
Lepak and Snell (1998) refer to the four ‘pressures’
of virtual HRM. First of all, HRM departments are
asked to focus on strategic questions. Secondly,
these departments need to be flexible in terms of
policymaking and practices. Thirdly, HRM
departments should work efficiently and be aware of
costs. Fourthly, HRM departments should be
service-oriented towards management and
employees. In short, HRM departments must be
strategy-focused, flexible, efficient, and client
oriented; and all at the same time (Lepak and Snell,
1998). Ruël et al. (2004) highlighted an aspect that is
fairly well covered by the above but that is
nevertheless interesting to spell out, namely the
changing nature of the employment relationship.
With the supply shortage in the labor market (during
the economic upturn of the 1990s), the
individualization of society, and the increased
educational level of citizens (and thus of
employees), the power balance in the employment
relationship has shifted in the direction of the
employees: they want to steer their own career paths.
In the view of Ruël et al. (2004), a move towards
Web-based HRM can provide the tools to support
this development. This aspect fits into earlier-
mentioned drivers such as improving service
towards internal clients, but has an external societal
drive. Yet another goal of Web-based HRM was
stressed as the outcome of the case study research
conducted by Ruël et al (2004): it is necessary to
recognize that to improve a company’s global
orientation can become a strong drive to start with
Web-based HRM. Theoretical debates suggest three
goals of Web-based HRM are cost reduction,
improving of HR services, and improving strategic
orientation (Brockbank, 1997; Lepak and Snell,
1998; Stanton and Coovert, 2004). Few empirical
findings supplement these goals with globalisation
as a driving Web-based HRM force in international
large organisations, but also show that those goals
are not clearly defined in practice, and that Web-
based HRM mostly directed at cost reductions and
efficiency of HR services, and least – at strategic
orientation of HRM (Gardner et al, 2003; Ruël et al,
2004; Ruta, 2005).
Based upon the above, we conclude about the
reasons or goals of organizations making steps
towards Web-based HRM: 1. Improving the
strategic orientation of HRM; 2. Cost
reduction/efficiency gains; 3. Client service
improvement/facilitating management and
employees; 4. Globalisation.
The Technology Acceptance Model (TAM)
developed by Davis et al (1989) states that users will
accept and therefore use a system if it has a
significant perceived usefulness and ease of use.
People tend to use (or not) an application to the
extent that they believe it will help them perform
their job better (perceived usefulness, or job
relevance). Further, even if people believe that a
given application is useful, they may believe that the
systems are too hard to work with and that the
performance benefits of usage are outweighed by the
efforts required using the application (ease-of-use).
At the same time, users will work with the
technology if the latter has proper technological
qualities (content functionality) that are shown to
have a direct and significant effect on the acceptance
and use of the technology (DeLone and McLean,
2002). Such system characteristics like information
quality, reliability, and system efficiency were
validated to determine the use of the information
technologies (Igbaria et al, 1997; DeLone and
McLean, 2002).
WEBIST 2007 - International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
It was also shown that usefulness is more
strongly linked to the behavioural intentions of users
and actual system use than ease-of-use. Across the
many empirical tests of TAM, perceived usefulness
has consistently been a strong determinant of the
usage intentions of employees (Venkatesh et al,
Assuming that the use of Web-based HRM
applications is influenced by the aforementioned
determinants, we make a step further and propose to
look at the link between the Web-based HRM use
and HRM effectiveness. Companies start with Web-
based HRM because of anticipated advantages that
are expected to result in a more effective HRM.
Hypothesis 1: Easiness of use, quality, and job
relevance of the Web-based HRM application are
positively related with technical and strategic HRM
Hypothesis 2: Quality and job relevance of the Web-
based HRM application are better explanatory
factors for strategic HRM effectiveness than its
easiness of use.
Hypothesis 3: Easiness of use of the Web-based
HRM application is a better explanatory factor for
technical HRM effectiveness than its quality and job
These hypotheses are visualised in the research
model below (figure 1).
The Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations
(called 'the Ministry' hereafter) is one of the thirteen
ministries of Dutch central government. The two
ministers and almost 3,000 civil servants formulate
policy, prepare legislation and regulations, and are
responsible for the coordination, supervision and
policy implementation.
The documents analysis shows that its mission is
to: uphold the Constitution; guarantee the
democratic rule of law; ensure an effective and
efficient public administration; coordinate urban
policy; promote public order and safety and provide
centralised management of the countries police
forces; promote the quality of the civil service and
coordinate management and personnel policy for all
civil servants; and coordinate cooperation with
Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles.
The Ministry has six main departments
(directorates): Directorate-General for Public
Service Management, Directorate-General for
Kingdom Relations and Governance, Directorate-
General for Public Order and Safety, Directorate-
General for the action plan ‘Different Government’,
General Intelligence and Security Service, and
Office for the Development of the Senior Public
Service. The Ministry also includes a Department
for Joint Services. This division helps the Ministry's
senior civil servants and the directorates-general in
the areas of finance, personnel, information systems
and communications, organisation, public
information, and support services.
In the 1990s there was a growth in the use of
information and communication technology at the
Dutch ministries. Almost all workspaces got
personal computers; e-mail replaced messages on
paper and memos; and there was access to the
Internet. All the ministries developed their own
intranets. Intranet became an important medium for
communication with the personnel. The personnel
department liked to use this medium to announce
news and to provide information about HR-related
issues. At first, the intranet replaced paper folders
and manuals for HRM, by putting it online. During
the mid-1990s it became clear that there were more
possibilities, like storage of data, searching for
information and handling administrative processes.
In 2001-2002, the Ministry introduced Emplaza
as an Web-based HRM tool to provide employees,
managers and HR personnel with instruments and
information to perform their personnel tasks
correctly. Anyone has access to find information,
start work processes and submit forms from their
own workspace. The system makes sure that the
coherence between information, instruments and
processes works optimally.
4.1 Measures
In our study we aim at testing the research model
based upon data collected through a written on-line
Intended use of Web-
based HRM
Actual use of Web-
based HRM
Job relevance
Easiness of use
HRM effectiveness
Strategic HRM
Figure 1: Research model.
Based on the extensive review of the literature,
the questionnaire included scales on five major
variables: job relevance of the Web-based HRM
application, its easiness of use, quality of the
applications, strategic HRM effectiveness, and
technical HRM effectiveness. Every item was
‘scored’ on a five-point-scale, 1 = fully disagree, 2 =
disagree, 3 = partly agree, partly disagree, 4 = agree,
5 = fully agree.
4.1.1 HRM Effectiveness
HRM effectiveness is addressed by a great number
of studies that strive to demonstrate the value of
what HR professionals do for the rest of the
organization and how HRM practices are linked to
desired organisational outcomes (Huselid, 1995;
Boxall and Purcell, 2003; Baron and Kreps, 1999,
Wright et al, 2001). We divide HRM effectiveness
into two dimensions: strategic and technical
(Huselid, 1995).
Strategic HRM effectiveness refers to
employees’ perceptions of how well the HRM
function promotes employees’ behaviors that
support organizational needs (adapted from Huselid
et al, 1997). Three dimensions are distinguished:
commitment, development and change. We turned
them into six items, with a sufficient internal
consistency (α=0.64). The technical effectiveness
refers to employees’ perceptions of how well the
HRM function performs operational HR activities
(adapted from Huselid et al, 1997). We distinguished
two dimensions: work conditions and
communication and turned them into five items with
a sufficient internal consistency (α=0.79).
4.1.2 Actual Use of Web-based HRM
The easiness of use is defined as the extent to which
a user of an Web-based HRM application finds the
application uncomplicated in its operation and
interaction. The dimensions that we turned into five
items are: input of efforts and simplicity. The
internal consistency of the five items formulated is
high (α= 0.84).
Quality of the Web-based HRM application is
defined as the extent to which a user finds the
application well designed and well set up in its
content. With this we focus on the content
functionality and leave aside – although very
important – technical software architectural
characteristics. We distinguished two dimensions:
content and design, and turned it efficiently into five
items with a high internal consistency (α= 0.83).
Job relevance is defined as the extent to which
users believe that using an Web-based HRM tool is
critical to their work situation. Job relevance
consists of two dimensions, increase of efficiency
and increase of productivity, and those are turned
into four items. Their internal consistency is high (α
= 0.81).
4.1.3 Procedure
From the total population we selected a stratified
sample, in order not to ‘exhaust’ all employees with
another invitation to fill up a questionnaire.
Therefore we selected respondents and tried to
involve all age categories, male and female, all ranks
and units. Especially, it was preserved that there
would be at least a relevant number of managers
involved. All in all, we selected 277 organisation
members, 186 employees, 47 managers and 44 HR
professionals. They received an e-mail with an
invitation to participate in our study and they could
click on a hyperlink in order to go to the
questionnaire. The response rate was 36% or in
absolute terms 100 respondents, 54 male, 46 female.
The electronic tool used for this did not allow
respondents to leave questions open, so therefore we
did not have missing values.
For the testing the hypotheses we used
correlations (hypothesis 1) and regression analysis
(hypothesis 2 en 3).
5.1 Goals of Emplaza
The Emplaza project documents dated in October
2002 show that its goal in the first phase of the HRM
Department Store (HDS) was the realisation of three
functional clusters. They were considered as a
coherent set of information and web application that
are focused on: the increase of efficiency and quality
of administrative processes; the generating and
spreading of management information; the
development of the employee and the organisation.
The overall goal was formulated as increasing
efficiency and improvement of the quality of HRM
at the Ministry.
In January 2003 Emplaza got a new direction,
with the primary aim to improve employee self-
service. By this there was a hope to achieve
independent development of the employees, and to
support managers in HR tasks.
WEBIST 2007 - International Conference on Web Information Systems and Technologies
November 2003 has brought yet a new
orientation for Emplaza. Increase of efficiency in the
administration (setting of a task and general
efficiency), decrease of vulnerability and mistake
percentages in administrative processes, working
with employee and manager self-service concepts,
effective support of the introduction of the new
HRM policy, and supporting the changes in the
organisation, including the decrease of the support
by decentral P&O employees, - were documented as
up-dated goals of Emplaza.
Our observations at this point are that although
the goals have changed, the overall tendency was
cost reduction and making the administrative
processes more efficient.
5.2 Functionalities of Emplaza
Users of Emplaza are HR professionals, managers,
and employees. They have possibilities to perform
the following activities via Emplaza: search and read
information about internal and national HRM
policies; store personal information for HRM
purposes (digital personnel file); rocess transactions
in the area of HRM (filling in of forms, address
changes, course enrollment); produce HRM products
(letters, reports).
The processing is digital that creates a
continuous insight in the status and the handling of
the data.
5.3 Survey Results
The data analysis showed a positive significant
relationship between easiness of use of Emplaza and
technical HR effectiveness (r = 0.22; p < 0.05; n =
100) and between quality of Emplaza and technical
HR effectiveness (r = 0.38; p < 0.01; n = 100), but
not between job relevance of Emplaza and technical
HR effectiveness (r = 0.17; p < 098; n = 100).
Analysis of the data also showed a positive
significant relationship between ease of use of
Emplaza and strategic HR effectiveness (r = 0.41; p
< 0.01; n = 100) as well as between quality of
Emplaza and strategic HR effectiveness (0.50; p <
0.01; n = 100) and between job relevance of
Emplaza and strategic HR effectiveness (0.39; p <
0.01; n = 100).
This first hypothesis therefore is confirmed
meaning a confirmation in line with the basic line of
our Web-based HRM effectiveness improvement
theory, but of course keeping in mind that it is tested
in a limited empirical setting.
The analysis showed that only quality of
Emplaza is a significant predictor of strategic HRM
effectiveness (β = 0.35; p < 0.05; n = 100). That
means that how employees and managers judge the
content and design of Emplaza explains the extent to
which employees and managers perceive HR as
strategic effective. It is surprising that job relevance
does not show to be a significant predictor for
strategic HR effectiveness. As expected, easiness of
use is not a significant predictor of strategic HR
The analysis showed that surprisingly, although
already suggested by the weak correlation, easiness
of use is not a significant explanatory factor for
technical HR effectiveness. Unexpectedly, quality of
Emplaza seems to be a quite strong predictor of
technical HR effectiveness (β = 0.41; p < 0.001; n =
Based upon, what we called, the Web-based HRM
effectiveness, we formulated four hypotheses related
to operational Web-based HRM and HR
effectiveness. Our study showed the first empirical
confirmation that in general positive use of Web-
based HRM applications facilitate an improvement
in HR effectiveness. Analysis of our data, collected
in the Dutch Ministry, showed that positive actual
use of Emplaza, got along with more positive
perceptions of HR effectiveness. Easiness of use and
the quality of Emplaza correlate significantly with
technical and strategic HR effectiveness. Job
relevance correlated only significantly with strategic
HR effectiveness.
Regression analysis made quite clear, however,
that actually only quality of Emplaza, meaning the
content and design, is a significant predictor of
technical and strategic HR effectiveness. Easiness of
use of Emplaza and, as expected from the result
from the correlations, job relevance of Emplaza do
not show to be significant predictors. These results
are partly unexpected and therefore interesting. They
confirm at least the expectation that it is the content
and the design of a web-based HRM application that
can make employees and managers more positive
about HR effectiveness. A Web-based HRM
application obviously needs to be easy in use and
relevant for the job situation of employees and
managers, but this will not result in a more positive
perception of HR effectiveness. This finding is
relevant for further theory building and for the
practice of Web-based HRM implementation.
Although we have to be careful because of the
limitation of the data set used, for practitioners there
is a clear guideline: they should dominantly focus on
the quality of the Web-based HRM application, i.e.
the content and design, instead of on easiness of use
and job relevance, if to make Web-based HRM
contribute to HR effectiveness. It indicates that
HRM activities are not perceived as employees’
primary tasks. A measurement with line managers
may have led to other outcomes, if the organisation’s
HR policy would be that operational HR is basically
a line managers task.
For further theory building our findings must
lead to reconsidering how actual use of Web-based
HRM applications should be operationalised in
future research. The constructs easiness of use and
job relevance might be replaced by other, as our
study gives a first basis to assume that these two
constructs are weakly related to HR effectiveness
but do not show to be significant predictors of
technical and strategic HR effectiveness.
Earlier we referred already to limitations of our
study. First of all, our results need to be handled
with care. The dataset we could build up is relatively
small, although quite robust for applying statistical
methods. Mainly the fact that the data comes from
only one organisation is a limitation where one type
of Web-based HRM application was in use.
Second, the type of Web-based HRM in the
Dutch ministry was operational. That means that the
results can be generalized to a relational and a
transformational type of Web-based HRM.
Third, the measurement of the constructs needs a
careful reconsideration. We tested the reliability on
the same dataset as where we tested the hypotheses.
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