EHR software, multinational corporations and emerging China: Exploring the role of information through a postcolonial lens

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5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper seeks to offer an alternative account of Human Resources Information software (eHR) informed by a critical/postcolonial view on information systems. In so doing, it aims to explore the possibilities for managing people that information brings when Human Resources Management practices are transferred from "developed" to "developing" countries. The paper relies on several qualitative in-depth interviews with renowned Chinese Human Resources experts in Shanghai, and the examination of diverse eHR software-related documentation and functionalities. Critical discourse analysis was used to examine these sources. The findings show that eHR information systems bring new governance possibilities that support and expand the discipline of Human Resources Management. The use of eHR software in people management gives a new momentum and increased dominance to key Western-originated practices, such as HR-based performance management. Information brings new ordering options that facilitate the transferability, mobility and standardization of HR values, discourse and practices and, ultimately, the construction of a global "generified employee". The paper offers a first critical analysis of eHR software, showing the need to understand the relevancy of the informating power of these systems for a postcolonial critique of ICT. It offers a view of the "micro-processes" that facilitate organizational transfer from the multinational corporation headquarters to the subsidiaries and across countries. In so doing, it challenges mainstream deterministic assumptions and apolitical approaches to this technology. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-124
JournalInformation and Organization
Volume22
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2012

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