Original Research

The use of human resource information systems in two retail organisations in the Western Cape, South Africa

Emmanuel Udekwe, Andre C. de la Harpe
SA Journal of Human Resource Management | Vol 15 | a827 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajhrm.v15i0.827 | © 2017 Emmanuel Udekwe, Andre C. de la Harpe | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 17 June 2016 | Published: 13 November 2017

About the author(s)

Emmanuel Udekwe, Graduate Centre for Management, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa
Andre C. de la Harpe, Graduate Centre for Management, Cape Peninsula University of Technology, South Africa

Abstract

Orientation: The retail industry is the largest contributor to employment and the gross domestic product (GDP) in the Western Cape, South Africa. The management of human resources in this very competitive industry is a high priority for all retailers. The successful implementation, maintenance and use of human resource information systems (HRISs) are an integral part of many retailers.

Research purpose: Human resource information systems are difficult to implement and maintain, and as a result, organisations cannot effectively utilise these systems to their benefit. The purpose of this paper is to explore the factors affecting the implementation, maintenance and use of HRISs in two retail organisations in the Western Cape.

Motivation of study: Many retailers find it difficult to apply and utilise HRISs to their benefit and to the systems’ full potential. This study explores the challenges retailers are facing when implementing, maintaining and using HRISs.

Research design, approach and method: Multiple case studies were used to conduct the research. Data were collected through a semi-structured questionnaire using interviews. Twenty-one interviews were conducted in the two retail companies to gain an understanding of the use of HRISs within these organisations. The data were analysed using a thematic method of analysis. The units of analysis were the Human Resources and the Information Technology departments of both companies. The units of observation were (21) purposively selected employees in the two mentioned departments of both retail organisations.

Main findings: This research shows an under-utilisation of the HRIS in both companies as a result of poor data quality, lack of adequate training and the high cost of implementing and maintaining the system. There is a gap in terms of data analytics and report generation. This gap leads to the under-utilisation of the HRISs preventing the retailers to optimise the benefits of the HRIS.

Practical and managerial implications: For organisations to reap benefits from HRISs, a change management strategy and a rigorous training programme are needed that will focus on the implemented maintenance and improved usage of these systems.

Contribution: The contribution of the study includes proposed guidelines for the effective and efficient use of HRISs. The study further contributes to the body of knowledge in shedding light on the implementation, maintenance and use of HRISs in the retail industry in the Western Cape, South Africa.


Keywords

HRIS benefits; HRIS functionalities; system maintenance; data quality; training; costs

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