Role of Information Systems in Effective Performance Management

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Human resource management (HRM) issues are of major concern for managers at all levels in any organization due to the fact that managers meet their goals through the efforts of others, which require the effective and efficient management of people (Dessler et al., 1999). Human resource management consists of various activities. Among these activities, for example, planning, recruiting, selection, and training just to mention but few place enormous responsibilities on supervisors and managers alike. These embrace analyzing jobs, planning labor needs, selecting employees, orienting and training employees, managing compensation, communicating (which includes counseling and disciplining), and maintaining employee commitment.

Moreover, other activities of the human resource management include ensuring fair treatment, appraising performance, ensuring employee health and safety, building and maintaining good employee/labor relations; handling complains and grievances, and ensuring compliance with human rights, occupational health and safety, labor relations, and other legislation affecting the workplace. Regardless of field of expertise, from accounting to production control, learning about employee rights, employer responsibilities, and effective HRM practices may provide all managers with knowledge that enables them to perform more effectively (Ibid).

Recently, the changes in the business environment and the increase competitiveness have led to changes in both job content and expectations of HR professionals (Storey et al., 2000; Ball, 2000). In the same context, one of the major changes includes the contemporary use of Information Systems (IS) in support of the HRM process, Schuler et al., (2001) and Mayfield et al., (2003). Moreover, a careful analysis indicated that increased human resource information systems (HRIS) usage enabled improved professional performance and thus facilitated involvement in internal consultancy activities (PMP (UK) Ltd 1997). In addition, the use of HRIS provides value to the organization and improves HR professionals' own standing in the organization, (Ulrich, 1997). In another development, Brockbank (1999) suggested the need for HR to become a strategic partner.

To investigate the role of HRIS and its important to the organization, it is to be noted that HRIS supplies management with strategic data not only in recruitment and retention strategies, but also in merging HRIS data into large-scale corporate strategy; that supports management with more proper decision-making tools. Through proper HR management, firms are able to perform calculations that have effects on the business as a whole. Such calculations include health-care costs per employee, pay benefits as a percentage of operating expense, cost per hire, return on training, turnover rates and costs, time required to fill certain jobs, return on human capital invested, and human value added. It must be noted though, that, none of these calculations result in cost reduction in the HR function (Gerardine DeSanctis, 1986). The aforesaid areas however, can result in significant savings using more complete and current data made available to the appropriate decision makers. Therefore, HRIS are seen to ease the provision of quality information to management for informed decision-making. Most importantly, it supports the provision of executive reports for top management and is crucial for learning organizations that see their human resource as providing a major competitive advantage. HRIS is therefore a medium that helps HR professionals perform their job roles more effectively (Grallagher, 1986; Broderick and Boudreau, 1992).

Having said that, however, human resources information systems (HRIS) cannot be classified as simple aggregation mechanism for inventory control and accounting; it is considered as the basic building block for a set of management tools that enables managers to set objectives for using their organization's human resources and measuring to what extent these objectives are met. In fact, more HRIS systems will be adopted as managers recognize both the essentiality and feasibility of sophisticated management information systems for monitoring human resources, (Orlando and Johnson, 2004).

Among the main functions of human resource is managing the performance of the employees. Information systems play a crucial role in evaluating and managing the performance of the employees. Employees' performance management system can be defined as a complete process, which is based on the workforce performance and the fulfillment of organizational objectives at all levels, Gary Cokins, (2008). The main idea associated with the performance management system is to align the skills and capabilities of the employees to the objectives of the organization, in addition to improving the overall system. Most people misperceive the performance management to performance appraisal. Actually there is a huge difference between the two concepts. Performance appraisal is the process of judging the past performance of employees, while performance management system is an ongoing process to measuring the achievement of objectives. Previous literatures show that many organizations do not share objectives with employees, Nankervis, (2004). Moreover, most of them confuse the performance management system with performance appraisal in comparing the performance of the employees to the performance standards set by the organization and not to the objectives of the organization. Performance management is the real theme while we work in the organization for quality control. In Quality based organization the objective of the performance is made on the achievement or fulfillment of the goals rather than established standards. No doubt in performance management system which is actually the sub part of quality control having some performance standards but these performance standards are very much aligned with the organizational objectives.

Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain

The Ministry of Interior, under its wise leadership is now continuing to utilize modern technology and further plans to accompany its duties with the aid of scientific progress. It works real hard on scientific planning in all its programs and decides its targets according to an overall strategy taking in consideration all the changes and challenges of the new technologies. The Ministry carries out its job based on the civilized tradition with which the Bahrain Public Security Force was established, that is, based on discipline, to safeguard the state and security of the country, and to deal with citizens in a civilized manner, letting them cooperate and participate in attaining overall Security There is no doubt that technology can be helpful to organizations to be more effective and efficient. However, technology has dramatically increased the skills and training necessary to perform many of the jobs in today's organizations.

Research Problem Statement

The researcher, as one of the employees in the human resource department at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain, noticed that the current system for evaluating the performance of employees lacks transparency and the right application by the officials responsible for applying the system. Moreover, many officials are not strong believers in using information systems in their decision-making process. Therefore, the researcher can state the problem as "The missed link between human resource information systems (HRIS) and employees' performance management system in addition to the lack of recognition by the officials to the importance of such systems in managing the performance of their employees at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain."

Research Objective

This research explores the role of human resource information systems (HRIS) in the current employees' performance system adopted by the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain. Moreover, this research aims at further improvements to that system.

Statement of the Research Objectives

Determining the extent of link between human resource information systems (HRIS) and employees' performance management system at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain.

Measuring the level of recognition of the importance of using HRIS by officials at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain - to support their decisions.

Measuring the level of perception of some human resource staff variables toward the utilization of human resource information systems (HRIS) at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain.

Determining the most significant impact of Human resource information systems (HRIS) on employees' performance management system at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain.

Research Questions

The following key questions can help in clarifying the general problem of the study:

To what extent is there a link between human resource information systems (HRIS) and employees' performance management system at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain?

To what extent do officials at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain - recognize the importance of using HRIS in their decisions?

What is the level of perception of some human resource staff variables toward the utilization of human resource information systems at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain?

What is the most significant impact of human resource information systems (HRIS) on employees' performance management system at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain?

Study Limitations:

This study was conducted at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain and it was limited to this organization only. Moreover, the study was limited to the employees' performance management system as one of the human resource department function.

In addition, some technical limitations confronted the researcher while conducting her study; these limitations can be summarized as follows:

Personal bias: some of the information in this study reflects the judgment of individuals who provided the information and may have biases favoring the success of their departments.

The new concepts of (HRIS) and performance management system in Bahrain: the terms HRIS and employees' performance management are not common terms and that was reflected in the scarcity of resources discussing the topic.

The other limitation is the lack of sufficient sum of data. The reason behind this is that most managers consider data related to human resources confidential, or at least should not be publicized; however, the appropriate analysis method and ensuring the anonymity of responses should solve this problem.

Language problems: English language is not commonly used at the Ministry of Interior - Kingdom of Bahrain. Therefore, the researcher had to translate the questionnaire, for example, in order to be able to collect proper response.

Thesis Structure

This thesis consists of five chapters. Chapter 1 is the introductory part. It consists of the study background, the problem statement, the research objective, the research questions, and the study limitations. This is just to give a snapshot of the subject matter and the premise of the study.

Chapter 2 is designed to review previous literature on the study. It presents an in-depth discussion on the HRM concept by touching on the various definitions, processes and other related issues with a special focus on the employees' performance management. In addition, a thorough discussion is dedicated for the HRIS. Here, issues like HRIS definitions, processes, and others will be considered.

Chapter 3 is designed to review the research methodology based upon hypotheses developed. This is to illustrate how the research questions and the hypotheses were developed, including the questionnaire. In addition, the chapter illustrates how the data will be collected, sample technique to be used, statistical methods, and discussion of validity and reliability of the data.

Chapter 4 evaluates the results by analyzing the findings of the individual hypothesis taking into consideration the various questions allocated for each hypothesis.

Finally, chapter 5 presents, the implication of the results, conclusion, and offers suggestions for future research.