Chapter 1: Evolution of Human Resource Management and Human Resource Information Systems: The Role of Information Technology
Multiple Choice Questions
- The alignment of the HRM function with organizational goals is referred to as:
- an HR balanced scorecard
*B. Strategic human resources management (Strategic HRM)
- concreteness or congruence
- Human Resources program evaluation
- To add value to HRM, the use of an HRIS is focused primarily on increasing which of the following kind of tasks or activities?
- Decision support systems:
*A. enable users to develop “what if” scenarios.
- computations and calculations used to review and document human resources decisions and practices.
- systems that recommend actions the user can take based on the information provided.
- the set of topics on which the human resource information system collects and maintains information.
- To improve the effectiveness of the HR function, activities that can be handled through computerization are:
- strategic planning
- all of the above
- In the systems model of organizational functioning in the book, the general factor that can cause changes for all the other factors of the total system is:
- the HR strategy of other firms in the market place
- the amount and sophistication of HRIS technology
- the strategic management system
*D. the national culture where the organization operates
- The systems model of organizational functioning indicates that the strategy of the firm, the HR strategy, and HR programs:
*A. should be in alignment with each other
- should impact only on HR metrics
- should drive the competition for resources
- should define proper HRIS development & use
- The change in focus of the HRM function as adding value to the organization’s product or service is characteristic of the ________________ era.
- social issues
- A key benefit of any HRIS is:
- the number of software applications in the system
- comprehensive reports on employees’ health status
*C. the generation of reports
- up-to-date technical hardware & software
- According to the book, an HRIS:
- is defined only by the software-hardware configuration it uses
- is used to store data for use by the MIS department
*C. includes people, forms, policies, procedures, and data.
- cannot be used to manipulate and analyze data
- The resources that are available to organizations to compete in the market place are:
- Technology, human, inventory
- Physical, human, technology
- Financial, technology, inventory
*D. Financial, physical, and human
- The effective management of human resources in a firm to gain a competitive advantage in the market place requires:
*A. timely and accurate information on current employees
- a vice-president representing the HR function
- the use of Decision Support Systems (DSS)
- outsourcing of transaction HR activities
- The activities during the pre-World War II era included all the following except for:
- record keeping of employee information
*B. the growth of trade unions
- “scientific management” was the prevailing philosophy
- very few government influences in employment relations
- The historical era in which employees started forming trade unions was:
- Pre-World War II era
*B. Post-World War II ear
- Social Issues era
- Cost-effectiveness era
- It has been estimated that most HR departments spend approximately ________________on transactional activities.
- 15% to 30%
- 5% to 15%
*C. 65% to 75%
- 50% to 65%
- In the development and implementation of an HRIS, the two most important aspects are:
- the proposal to management and the needs analysis
- the system specifications and the system design,
- the documentation and the system design
*D. the documentation and evaluation
- An HRIS that supports regular and ongoing decisions are called:
- Transactional Systems
*B. Management Information Systems,
- Executive Information Systems
- Transformational Systems
- Entering employee payroll information is an example of an HR transactional activity.
- Recruiting new employees from the external labor market is an example of an HR transactional activity.
- The recruitment and training functions of an HR department are traditional activities.
- A DSS focuses on decision making, enabling users to work intimately with the data, developing multiple “what if” scenarios and queries with the system.
- The continual interaction between HRIS and the HR program evaluation results is the main factor in the use of the HR workforce scorecard.
- Management Information Systems (MIS) refers to structured information flows of business functions to aid managers in performing traditional activities.
- The system used to acquire, store, manipulate, analyse, retrieve, and distribute information regarding an organization’s human resources is call the Enterprise Resource Planning System (ERPS).
- A set of steps or phases in the formal design of any information processing system that include analysis through evaluation is referred to as the System Development Life Cycle (SDLC).
- Management scholars have argued that future economic and strategic advantage will rest with the organizations that can most effectively attract, develop and retain a diverse group of the best and the brightest human talent in the market place.
- Advances in technology have enabled HRIS to expand their functionality and breadth in the support of human resource management.
- An HR activities or program that increases the strategic importance and visibility of the HR function in the firm is referred to as a transformational activity.
- Time and motion studies were characteristic of the scientific management philosophy of managing employees.
- Business process reengineering and the creation of the HR or Workforce Scorecard was characteristic of the Technological Advancement Era.
- Context is a crucial element in Strategic Human Resources Management (Strategic HRM) and researchers increasingly emphasize the “best-practice” approach to Strategic HRM as opposed to the “best-fit” approach.
- A focus on data, storage, processing, and flows at the operational level and efficient transaction processing is referred to as a Management Information System (MIS).
Short Answer Essay Questions
- What are four important advantages to firms using an HRIS?
*Answer: 1. Providing a comprehensive information picture as a single, comprehensive database; this enables organizations to provide structural connectivity across units and activities and increase the speed of information transactions.
- Increasing competitiveness by improving HR operations and improving management processes.
- Collecting appropriate data and converting them to information and knowledge for improved timeliness and quality of decision making.
- Producing a greater number and variety of accurate and real-time HR-related reports.
- Streamlining and enhancing the efficiency and effectiveness of HR administrative functions.
- Shifting the focus of HR from the processing of transactions to strategic HRM.
- Reengineering HR processes and functions.
- Improving employee satisfaction by delivering HR services more quickly and accurately to them
- What factors affect the ability of firms to harness the potential of an HRIS?
*Answer: 1. the size of the organization, with large firms generally reaping greater benefits;
- the amount of top management support and commitment;
- the availability of resources (time, money, and personnel);
- the HR philosophy of the company as well as its vision, organizational culture, structure, and systems;
- managerial competence in cross-functional decision making, employee involvement, and coaching; and
- the ability and motivation of employees in adopting change, such as increased automation across and between functions.
- What are the main factors that led to the evolution of Strategic HRM?
*Answer: 1. Contingency perspective and fit
- Resource – based view of the firm and social capital,
- HR system components and structure
- Expanding the scope of HRM beyond the focal organization
- Achieving HR implementation and execution, by translating the rhetoric into practice,
- Measuring the outcomes of SHRM by (e.g., balanced scorecard approach)
- Research methodological issues that stress the importance of evidence based management
- Adoption and use of HR Metrics
- Application of “Six Sigma” processes to HRM.
- What are the three types of HR activities? Define them with examples.
*Answer: Transactional activities involve day-to-day transaction that have to deal mostly with record keeping—for example, entering payroll information, employee status changes, and the administration of employee benefits. Traditional activities involve HR programs such as planning, recruiting, selection, training, compensation, and performance management. These activities can have strategic value for the organization if their results or outcomes are consistent with the strategic goals of the organization. Transformational activities are those activities that add value to the organization—for example, cultural or organizational change, structural realignment, strategic redirection, and increasing innovation.
- What is the desired effects of the implementation of an HRIS on the three types of HR activities?
*Answer: One of the major advantages of the design, development, and implementation of an HRIS is to reduce the amount of time the HR staff have to spend on transactional activities, allowing the staff to spend more time on traditional and transformational activities.
- In the organizational model in the book, what is the role of the HRIS?
*Answer: First, the model is centered on the use of an HRIS as critical to the efficient operation of an organization. Without an HRIS, the organizational processes would run more slowly and less efficiently, and this could hurt the competitiveness of an organization in its marketplace.
Second, the HRIS and the HR program evaluation results in terms of HR metrics, and cost-benefit results (value added and ROI) are in continual interaction. This interaction should increase the competitiveness of the organization.
- What are the five general phases of the System Development Life Cycle?
*Answer: The five general phases of the SDLC are: (1) planning, (2) analysis, (3) design, (4) implementation, and (5) maintenance.
- When does the development and implementation of a new HRIS begin?
*Answer: The HRIS system development process begins when the company first begins to consider computerizing its HR functions. It is important to document this beginning of the process so that it can be considered when the system is being evaluated and maintained.
- What is the critical factor that affects the successful development and implementation of an HRIS?
*Answer: The successful design, development, and implementation of an HRIS depend equally on IT and on HR knowledge, and the cooperation of the professionals in both HR and IT.
- Describe the distinction between e-HRM and HRIS.
*Answer: e-HRM reflects a philosophy for the delivery of HR, using information technology, particularly the Web, as the central component of delivering efficient and effective HR services. Conversely, as conceptualized in this book, an HRIS is the technology and processes underlying this new way of conducting Human Resource Management.
Another way of looking at the differences between e-HRM and HRIS is that e-HRM tends to be more application and/or HR function focused (e.g., e-recruitment and e-training), and an HRIS is more focused on the systems and technology underlying the design and acquisition of systems supporting the move to e-HRM.
Chapter 5: System Design and Acquisition
- The ____________ of a system focuses on the translation of business requirements into improved business processes, irrespective of any technological implementation.
*A. logical design
- business case requirement
- physical design
- The focus and goal of ___________ is the determination of the most effective means of translating business processes into a physical system including hardware and software.
- logical design.
- a flowchart.
*C. physical design
- a workflow chart
- The strength of the _______model is that it focuses on how the hardware and software will actually operate.
- The strength of using _________ is that the HR staff and developers can focus specifically on business processes, policies, and procedures instead of on technology, leading to stronger solutions.
- gap analysis
- the needs analysis
- the physical model
*D. the logical model
- The _________ perspective of system modeling focuses on organizational data but is not be concerned with how the data are used within the organization
- In the ______________perspective, the designer focuses on the flow of data through the system.
- A ___________________ is a graphical representation of the key business activities and processes in the HR system, the system boundaries, any external individuals or departments that interact with the system.
*A. data flow diagram
- process model
- workflow process
- practical model
- You are working with a consultant on your HRIS. At your next meeting you expect to discuss the process model and data flows of the department. What should you expect the consultant to bring to the meeting?
- One overall data flow diagram
- Several context level data flow diagrams
- Listings of the data needs of your HR department
*D. Several data flow diagrams representing multiple levels of detail
- You are involved with your organization’s decision regarding the physical design of the HRIS. The most likely approach that your organization will use is to
- Make changes to only the HR business processes without new or upgraded technology
- Do nothing
*C. Buy prepackaged, commercial off-the-shelf software (COTS)
- Implement the business process changes along with new or upgraded technology
- A(n) ________________ solicits proposals and bids for proposed work from potential consultants or vendors and defines the organization’s goals and requirements for the new HRIS.
*A. Request for Proposals (RFP)
- vendor bid
- needs analysis
- work order
- After receiving the vendor responses, you have the opportunity to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of each vendor. Which of the following would you consider in your assessment of the software options?
- IT Architecture and IT Integration
*D. All of the above
- _____________________ focuses on how well the proposed system fits in with the current and future organizational environment.
- Functional feasibility
- Legal feasibility
- Operational feasibility
*D. Political feasibility
- The goal of __________ feasibility analysis is to determine whether the costs of developing, implementing, and running the system are worth the benefits derived from its use.
- Pre-written or developed software or hardware products which already exist for purchase is called:
*A. Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Software
- Application Software
- Integration Software
- RFP Software
- The basic hardware, software and networking infrastructure of the organization is called:
- Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Software
*B. IT Architecture
- Integration Software
- Commerical Architecture
- The DFD level that outlines the major processes (functions) of the system, their basic sequence, the basic data stores, and the external entities which interact with the system is called a
- Basic Diagram
*B. Level 0 Diagram
- Level 1 Diagram
- Beginning Point
- Using an Application Service Provider (ASP) is a software acquisition strategy where ready-made software is purchased and installed on the organization’s local network.
- A context level diagram is used to represent the system, its boundary and the external entities which interact with the system.
- A Data Flow is pictorially depicted by circles with the name of the type of data.
- A Data Flow Diagram (DFD) is a statistical tool which can be used to manipulate or change the data.
- Economic Feasibility is a feasibility assessment tool that focuses on the financial and economic benefits and costs which a new system would bring to the organization.
- IT Architecture describes the basic hardware, software and networking infrastructure capabilities of the organization.
- Base design is a phase in the SDLC in which a new system is designed without regard to the technology (e.g. hardware, software, networking, etc.) in which it will be implemented.
- A logical model of the system graphically illustrates what the system does, independent of any technological architecture (e.g. hardware, software, networking, etc.).
- Operational Feasibility is a tool that focuses on how well the new system will fit within the organization, including issues such as development schedule, extent of organizational change, and user responses to the system.
- Logical design describes a phase in the SDLC in which a new system is designed with particular focus on how the hardware, software, networking, activities, users, etc. will be implemented.
- In a DFD, processes are the mechanism through which data is transformed, manipulated, created, etc. into output such as a report, a decision, etc.
- The Request for Proposal (RFP) is a document that solicits potential consultants or vendors to submit proposals and bids for proposed work.
- Logical feasibility is a system feasibility assessment tool that focuses on the technical capability of the organization and the availability of the technology necessary to implement a new system.
- In the context of HRIS, a vendor is a company which specializes in making or selling commercial software for purchase by other companies.
- A single data flow diagram typically is all that is typically needed when discussing data flow.
- What is meant by a data view of a system?
*Answer: The data perspective focuses on the data which the organization captures and uses, the definitions and relationships of the data, and on the most efficient and effective way to capture the data to ensure accuracy. It ignores how, where, and when the data is used by the organization. The data view would focus on the important data but would not be concerned with how the data are to be used within the organization.
- What is meant by a process view of a system?
*Answer: The process perspective focuses on the business processes and activities in which the organization engages and on how data flow through the system. The designer would focus on the specific business processes, including the input of the data into the system, the flow of data through the system, and the storage of the data, and not on precisely what data are captured and how they are best organized or stored.
- Why is the distinction between data and process views important when designing a new system?
*Answer: The distinction between process and data perspectives is important since each represents a portion of the total HRIS but neither provides the complete picture. By modeling each separately, the organization is better able to understand and communicate its needs to the technical staff. In addition, while processes may change in the future, data generally represent the most permanent and stable part of a system. This permanency of data and the more dynamic aspect of processes suggest the importance of dealing with each separately.
- What is a physical model of an HRIS?
*Answer: The physical model focuses on the computer technology for the HRIS, that is, the hardware, software, networking plans, and technical manuals. The strength of this type of model is that it focuses on how the system will actually operate. In turn, this strength also becomes its weakness because by focusing on the actual way the system will be implemented in terms of technology, analysts and HR staff may be constrained by the current, operational physical model.
- What is a logical model of an HRIS?
*Answer: A logical model of an HRIS focuses on how the final system will be operationalized in multiple ways in terms of the technology. The strength of using logical models is that the HR staff and developers can focus specifically on the business processes, policies, and procedures instead of on technology. By focusing on what the system does or needs to be able to do, the analyst and HR staff will be less likely to be distracted by or to focus on a single technology platform. In turn, they will be more likely to design a stronger solution.
- Which model – the physical or logical – is more useful in designing the HRIS?
*Answer: Both the physical and logical models should be applied to designing the HRIS. They are complementary and one is not better than the other since they serve different purposes. The logical model serves as a blueprint and provides the organization with an outline of the key business processes and goals for the system. Then, the physical model translates the processes and goals for the system into the hardware and software platforms that best fit the business’s needs.
- Explain what is meant by the data perspective.
*Answer: The data perspective focuses on an analysis of what data the organization captures and uses, the definitions and relationships of the data, while ignoring how or where the data are used by the organization. This perspective would focus on the important data but would not be concerned with how the data are to be used within the organization. In addition, the data perspective focuses on the most efficient and effective way to capture the data to ensure accuracy and uses tools that describe the data that the system uses.
- Explain what is meant by the process perspective.
*Answer: The process perspective focuses on the business processes and activities in which the organization engages and on how data flow through the HRIS. The designer would focus on the specific business processes, including the input of the data into the system, the flow of data through the system, and the storage of the data, and not on precisely what data are captured and how they are best organized or stored.
- Is one perspective, the data or the process perspective, more important than the other…why or why not?
*Answer: Both the process and data perspectives are equally important since each represents a portion of the total HRIS but neither provides the complete picture.
- You are responsible for putting together a request for proposal (RFP). What are some key recommendations to follow to ensure it is most successful?
*Answer: 1. Focus on the business requirements.
- Be specific. With all the effort placed into the needs analysis and the redesign of business processes, very specific requirements will be available and should be included in the RFP.
- Keep it simple. Essentially, this would mean that if it’s not something that is important to the HR department and reflective of the business processes modeled in the DFDs, it is best not to include it.
- Work closely with the HRIS and IT staff as the RFP is developed.