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Managingpeopleandtechnologythegregoryframeworkapproach drpralaykumarghosh-121001052733-phpapp01

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  • 1. MANAGING TECHNOLOGY AND PEOPLE: THE GREGORY FRAMEWORK APPROACH Prof. (Dr) Pralay Kumar Ghosh Director Suryadatta Institute of Business Management & Technology (SIBMT) Bavdhan (BK), Pune 411 021 Mobile No. 09823025076 e-mail: pralaykghosh@hotmail.com AbstractThis concept paper discusses as to how Human Resources Management has evolved from being a Personnel andAdministration function in the 1950’s to that of a highly modernized Management of People as Assets. It isequally essential to note the evolution of Technology and how managing this goes in conjunction with People...In the context of technology, people play a major role at various stages of technology, right from itsidentification to its assimilation and implementation. The future holds great importance for HRM’s role in thestrategic business partnership with the organization, and for combating this challenge, there is an increasingneed for technology to be inserted on its daily operations and on its decision-making considerations. It is anindividual who thinks of an idea, who then wants to convert that idea into something that can impact manyothers. The process involves technology, as a mean and not an end. The most common example in TechnologyManagement is the principle of adopting the Gregory framework.Paper presented at a National Conference on “Managing Technology and Innovation for Competitive Advantage inGlobal Business Environment” on February 28th and 29th and March 1, 2012 held at MAEER’S MaharashtraInstitute of Technology Department of Management Sciences and Research, Pune 1
  • 2. This framework has five basic processes, each one of those represent a strong role coming from people and sothe result desired is directly proportional to the quality of people involved. A review of literature suggests thatthe future role of HR professionals are going to be dramatically different than what it is today and perhaps, inthis changing scenario, the role of technology in general and its application in HR calls for a relook at Gregoryframework in developing people who can maximise the potential of latest technology. Managing people andtechnology go hand in hand. Regardless of what future lies ahead, a good understanding of the role technologyplays in supporting human capital management is likely to be a key factor in determining the success of both theHR function and HR professional.Key Words: People, Technology, HRM, Gregory Framework, FutureINTRODUCTIONLike every Economic trend in the world, the Human Resource fraternity has seen equal number of trendschanging as required in each global economic scenario.From being a Personnel and Administration function in the 1950’s, today Human Resources Management(HRM) has evolved to that of a highly modernized Management of People as Assets possessing many differentvarieties of competencies and capabilities. In turn, HRM today is helping organisations grow its business andincrease its footprint.Against this backdrop, it is equally essential to note the evolution of Technology and how managing this goes inconjunction with People. In the Indian context, Technology has evolved with the country’s need in being self-reliant and sufficient. Ever since then we have been looking at upgrading technology based on what is availablein the global market and the various consumption demands.People are at the heart of any management, be it quality, financial, technical, design, production, and alliedfunctions. In the context of technology, people play a major role at various stages of technology, right from itsidentification to its assimilation and implementation. The future holds great importance for HRM’s role in thestrategic business partnership with the organization, and for combating this challenge, there is an increasingneed for technology to be inserted on its daily operations and on its decision-making considerations. Thecreation of technology also starts from the person’s mind. It is an individual who thinks of an idea, who then 2
  • 3. wants to convert that idea into something that can impact many others. The process involves technology, as amean and not an end.The most common example in Technology Management is the principle of adopting the Gregory framework(Gregory, 1995). The framework has five basic processes, each one of those represent a strong role comingfrom people and so the result desired is directly proportional to the quality of people involved. A review ofliterature suggests that the future role of HR professionals are going to be dramatically different than what it istoday and perhaps, in this changing scenario, the role of technology in general and its application in HR callsfor a relook at Gregory framework.LITERATURE REVIEWA number of research studies reveal that during the last decade, the technology has impacted the functions andactivities of HRM to a great extent and the process continues.Working from home or close to home, to travel to work place – be it office or factory, gradually and steadily,we find today a reverse process wherein there is a move for many to work from anywhere including home andpeople are no longer necessarily anchored to one place. Research studies and surveys confirm that the commonfactor towards this shift is technology. There exists a rich literature on how technology in general and computertechnology in particular, especially the Internet by dissolving borders and creating an interconnectedmarketplace, apart from business streamlining and an array of communication tools have brought phenomenalchanges in the lives of people and that in turn has changed the various functions and activities of humanresource management (Ivancevich, 2001).“It’s not enough for human resource professionals to learn how to operate the newest software and othertechnologies … Turning raw data into useful information is the real value technology brings to the humanresources function by enabling HR practitioners to demonstrate in numbers and, conversely, in dollars, howdecisions that affect employees affect the bottom line.” (HR News, September, 2000). The transition totechnology calls for a new model of workforce development with people-cantered approach that recognizesemployee mobility, competitive pressures, globalization, and the pace of change in valuable technologies andskills (Meeder and Cude 2002) and this is an important issue these days as knowledge management plays acentral role (Ardichvili, 2002). Right from recruitment and selection to performance appraisal andcompensation management, Human resources (HR) covers various tasks that calls for different skill sets, bothquantitative and qualitative in nature (Kenter 2003). In the backdrop of emerging technologies, this raisesquestions whether these tasks need to be together on organizational plans (Kenter, 2003). 3
  • 4. The recent studies of HR management and business performances have found that HR’s adopted “highinvolvement” practices have resulted in “significantly positively associated” “improvement on market value,rate of return on capital employed, revenue growth, revenue-per-employee rate, productivity, product/servicequality, and even organizational survival” (Lewin, 2003). The use of technology by HR has proven to assist onthe improvement of business performances.HRs should go above and beyond maintaining a narrow operational focus, view its activities as restricted to thelimits of its own organization, or to limit itself to traditional human resource (HR) responsibilities (Lengnick-Hall & Lengnick-Hall, 2003), Towards this involvement of technology, businesses need to adopt an HRphilosophy which understands that today’s customers and clients are used to a technological experience, and“The mission of the HR department ought to be to synchronize the employment brand with the customerbrand”. In order this to happen, HR should bring the customer’s voice to inside an organization, andaccomplishing that, upper management will empower HR to reflect the customer’s “value proposition” (Sartain,2005)Noe et al. (2007) claimed that e-businesses creates many challenges for HRM departments because of the fastpace of changes on information technology. HRMs are required to continually update their skills requirementsand then recruit and train people to meet these requirements. Technology is here and will continue to progress.To understand the role technology plays on today’s HRM we first have to understand business technology(Luck, 2010)It is evident from the foregoing that HRM has revolutionised based on the market’s demand. Market demandshave led to technology acquisition and its management. One needs to always attribute these changes to thechanging nature of jobs. We come from a generation of jobs like doctors, engineers, and chartered accountantsto a huge variety of roles. There are functions and departments in organisations that have never existed in thepast. All this calls for managing people in diversified roles with diversified technologies.In the overall context of organisations, managing technology and people are indeed complementary and isextremely important. The benefits of effective management of these two help organisations progress andachieve its set objectives, vision, and results. There is also an emergence of HR technologies that enable bettermanagement of people like that of PeopleSoft, ERP, Cloud computing, etc.EMERGENCE OF TECHNOLOGY IN HR 4
  • 5. The most common technology is Information technology (IT), which has increasingly become an importantfactor and fundamental to support business processes in organizations. The need for HRs to be more efficienton different areas of competencies and towards this information technology (IT) is fundamental on the strategyfor HRM improvement (Cascio, 2005). IT acquisitions are quite productive in supporting transactions and inaiding coordination mechanism provided the organizational resources and business processes are properlyaligned with the IT. However, many IT acquisition projects fail due to improper alignment of the businessprocess with IT. Role of human resource (HR) is quite critical to such alignment process. It is important thatacquiring organizations display HR capability to support alignment process especially in the pre-acquisitionstage to minimize the post-acquisition shocks (Mishra, 2006).During the post-independence era, the practice of Human Resource Management had further undergone atechnological revolution. The era observed how human resources, capital, application of knowledge andinformation systems took advantages of advanced information technology. The new buzz word that comes intobeing is that HR no longer looks at administration, but partners with business for fuelling growth, progress anddevelopment. This era marks the emergence of a ‘network society’ - a revolution involving the internet and atechnological infrastructure for the global economy (Castell 1996, 1997, 1998). This has resulted in a paradigmshift in the way business is conducted today. The concept of outsourcing which is one of the outcomes is usedwidely today in all functions of management including human resource management. Business organizationsare adopting new technology and techniques with the help of trained manpower to produce world class productswith utmost customer satisfaction. They are deploying skilled, loyal and committed human resources who arecapable of controlling sophisticated and high-tech machines and equipment’s. An integration of new technologyand efficient workforce is possible when an organization adopts a strong and progressive human resourceapproach. (Kumar and Mishra, 2011) (Ghosh, 2011).PEOPLE MANAGEMENT WITHIN THE TECHNOLOGY FRAMEWORKIndian business, from its independence in 1947 until the economic liberalization programme of 1991 to post-information technology resulted in a domestically focused and unique business model. The past sixty years hasseen Human Resource functions evolve from being procedural in nature to that of a behavioural one. There arecourses and masters specialisation available in the subject with sub-specialisations that indicate the importanceand change of the function from its past. While many of these issues continue to haunt business organisations asareas of concern, there has been significant progress, which has been the product of the increase in education,variety of options and specialisations that have come into existence with the opening of the economy and worldtrade, and availability of talent. The challenge that lies ahead in the HR fraternity is that of selecting the righttalent for the right job, ensuring that the job’ output is maximised with the potential it has to offer, and enriching 5
  • 6. the roles to add value to organisations. Thus, in response to the on-going restructuring, every businessorganization must draw a set of its own human resource policies and integrate them with the firm’s strategicchallenges (Murthy, 2010).The Gregory Framework was primarily developed keeping in mind technology management. However, thisframework has processes, which have an important People role which is most significant to be fulfilled. Thefive generic processes with the People perspective are explained below:1. Identification of technologies which are important to the business: when an organisation identifiestechnology, it needs people who have the right technical acumen, grasping and knowledge of the technology.We still live in a world where a person’s intuition and technical competence judges the value of technologymore than theory and the technology itself. Understanding the handling and management of technology is ahuman effort and needs capable and competent people to look at this. A man’s intelligence generates an idea fornew products, which generates the need to identify technology. It has to be finally used by People.2. Selection of technologies that should be supported by the organisation: Whenever a Technology is selected,the organisation has to keep in mind as to who is going to manage and run this technology. People are a criticaldeciding factor for this selection, as they must have the competency, aptitude and willingness to support thistechnology.3. Assimilation of selected technologies: HR involvement is an important aspect in all the stages of ITacquisition process. In order to ensure a better and effective use of the IT acquired, HR involvement is requiredthe most in the pre-acquisition stage in order to effectively manage subsequent stages. Policy, attitude ofstrategic decision makers, decision making style in the organization; perception of users on IT (fear of losingimportance and/ or anxiety to use technology) also influence end-users in accepting IT. In this paper wediscussed a model that an organization can apply to assess its internal preparedness to manage the IT acquisitionprocess.4. Exploitation of technologies to generate profit and benefits: People manufacture, people plan and people sell.It is the human mind’s intelligence that gets multiple benefits from technology and by doing so one exploitstechnology best. If people don’t work with technology, then as a standalone no technology can produce anybenefits. Generating profits and maximising benefits only enable business improvement and growth, so ifpeople are provided with right training and inputs, with regular enhancement of knowledge and skills, this canhelp business and the economy prosper. 6
  • 7. 5. Protection of knowledge and expertise: Filing of Patents and intellectual property are all people capabilitiesand their protection is done such that people can learn and benefit from one’s knowledge. Managing people bygiving them the right ambience to develop their intellectual capacity, is a HRM role and also helps protectunique technology in an organisation.People possess the inherent quality of being intelligent, energised, and full of ideas, skills and talent. It is allthese fundamental qualities of a human being that is channelized through proper Human Resource Management.All these further go to substantiate that for HRM to play an active value adding role to managing technology,understanding the technology and its business context is very important. This means being involved in thedeveloping of the strategic objectives of the organisation, absorbing the background of the strategy, the visionand its purpose and mission to achieve, followed by knowledge in its implementation. Technology needs ariseout of this and this in turn shall indicate the competencies, skills, manpower required to deploy the technologyand reap its benefits.CONCLUSIONToday, as shown in this paper, HRMs are presented with the challenge of becoming more effective andproductive, and they are accepting this challenge by turning to technology as a mean to improve theirperformance; however technology presents its own challenges as well. The role technology plays on HRM ismost fundamental when used as part of an organization’s business strategy. There are specific technologydesigned for HRM decision-making, however the efficiency of these decisions remain dependent on the humantraining and skills. Technology is incorporated on the fibre of our lives because of its overwhelming presenceon e-business, as Internet continues to have an exponential growth.Regardless of which future lies ahead, a good understanding of the role technology plays in supporting humancapital management is likely to be a key factor in determining the success of both the HR function and HRprofessionals (SHRM, 2008).To sum up, managing people and technology go hand in hand. They are not supplementary in nature and asorganisations evolve to modern techniques of manufacturing, and overall management, it is imperative todevelop people who can maximise the potential of latest technology and in this context Gregory frameworkcould be useful. 7
  • 8. References 1. Gregory, MJ, (1995). Technology Management: A process approach, Journal of Engineering manufacture, Process Instrumentation Mechanical engineers, Vol 209, UK 2. Ivancevich, J. M. (2001). Human resource management (8th Ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw-Hill/Irwin 3. Meeder, H., &Cude, R. (2002).Building a competitive workforce for the new economy. In C. Sleezer, T. Wentling, & R. Cude (Eds.), Human resource development and information technology: Making global connections (pp. 21-42). Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers 4. Ardichvili, A. (2002). The role of human resource development in transitioning from technology- focused to people-centered knowledge management. In C. Sleezer, T. Wentling, & R. Cude (Eds.), Human resource development and information technology: Making global connections (pp. 89-104). Norwell, MA: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 5. Mathis, R. L., & Jackson, J. H. (2003).Human resource management (10th Ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson/South-Western 6. Noe, R., Hollenbeck, J., Gerhart, B., & Wright, P. (2007).Fundamentals of human resource management (2nd Ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill 7. Kenter, R (2003). Foreword.In M. Effron, R. Gandossy, & M. Goldsmith (Eds.), Human resources in the 21st century (pp. vii-xii). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons 8. Lengnick-Hall, M., & Lengnick-Hall, C. (2003).Human resource management in the knowledge economy. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers 9. Kumar, Yogesh and Mishra, A.K. (2011), Measuring Human Resource Functions in Large, Medium and Small Scale Organisations- A Comparative Study, Management Convergence Vol. - I No. - 2, Jan 10. Murthy, S. (2010), ‘Trajectory towards high performance works systems’, HRM Review, Vol. X, Issue- II, February, pp. 48-51. 8
  • 9. 11. Mishra, HK (2006),”Role of human resource in information technology alignment in organizations: a metric basedstrategic assessment framework”, Journal of Information Technology Management, Volume XVII, Number 3 12. Schramm, Jennifer (2006), “HR Technology Competencies: New Roles for HR Professionals”, SHRM Research Quarterly, The Society for Human Resource Management 13. Creating People Advantage—How to Address HR Challenges Worldwide Through 2015, A Publication of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 2008 14. HR News, September, 200015. Ghosh, Pralay Kumar (2011), “REVOLUTIONIZING PEOPLE PRACTICES IN ORGANIZATIONS”, Paper presented at a National Conference on Contemporary HR Practices for People Management, held at Karpagam College of Engineering, Coimbatore on 4th November. 9

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