Putting the HR into the HRIS: A study of the implementation of Human Resource Information Systems



Publication Details

Dery, K., Grant, D. Stephen., Hall, R., Wailes, N. & Wiblen, S. L. (2013). Putting the HR into the HRIS: A study of the implementation of Human Resource Information Systems. 2013 Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management (pp. 1-33). New York, USA: Academy of Management.


An estimated 90% of HR departments in organisations use some form of technology to manage their data and processes. While these systems have gained traction over the last 10 years there is significant evidence to suggest that most organisations have not moved beyond traditional and transactional systems that automate existing HR processes, and that the promise of more sophisticated analytics with strategic value has not materialised. This paper follows three large organisations, using an interpretive case study approach, and investigates how they selected, designed and implemented updated HR systems. Our findings suggest that when a system is designed to engage with the complexity of people management, organisations experience additional challenges from those identified in other functional or integrated IS implementations, Thus the HR system typically becomes stalled at an impasse making it difficult to move beyond the automation - transactional phase to the more strategic transformational phase. By taking a social constructivist perspective we posit that there are four main challenges for management to consider when implementing an HRIS: (1) maintaining both HR and organisational attention in a function that is often attributed limited salience;(2) addressing the complexities associated with people management particularly across global and multi-functional businesses; (3) meeting the challenges associated with the creation and application of relevant HR metrics; (4) and managing user acceptance when there is typically a perceived and realised loss of functionality experienced when people management processes become automated.

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