Cultures that at one time had no impact upon business, such as India, China, Korea, and Vietnam are now deeply integrated into the international market place. The emergence of these nations has altered the business dynamics and caused dramatic changes that many developed nations have had difficulty understanding (Pfeiffer, 2007). The role of the human resource professional is to assist his company in adjusting to the changing demographics.
IV. Technological Factors
Advances in Technology
Technological advances have had a major impact on the field of human resources. Historically human resources has been a people oriented activity and it was believed by many HR professionals that the use of technology compromised this orientation. The competitive nature of today's marketplace, however, has caused HR professionals to re-examine this approach in order for human resource departments to benefit from the technical advances that have made information more quickly available or more easily stored. Today's human resource professional recognizes that the value of technology overrides the loss of human touch that is lost through its use and that in order to remain competitive technology must be utilized as much as possible (Black, 2006).
In order for human resource professionals to be successful in the future years, they must possess skills beyond those traditionally used. HR professionals now must have a strong commercial appreciation for how their individual company operates in the particular business environment in which it transacts business and be able to contribute significantly to this process. This appreciation must include an understanding of the financial condition of the business and how the company's financial condition affects the business' position in the market place. It is also incumbent that the HR personnel be competent in the use of information technology. The use and availability of information has assumed increased importance and the HR professional that is not familiar with its use is doing his company a major disservice. Finally, familiarity and mastering of legislation, legal and regulatory standards are essential for a well run HR department.
Digital divide defines the gap that occurs between those who able to effectively access and use information and communication technologies and those who are not. Obviously, as information technology has taken on increased importance the area of human resources, it is imperative that this divide be minimized in order for a HR department to effectively use information.
E-commerce has changed the business landscape and presents challenges for human resource departments in how they address these challenges. Human resource departments must develop new strategies to address these changes so that they can effectively monitor and train the company's employees.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act set new standards for all U.S. corporate boards, management and public accounting firms. The Act applies only to public traded companies and does not apply to private owned businesses. It primary effect is to place controls over the financial reporting procedures so as to create more transparency as to the financial condition of public traded businesses.
Ethical Issues in Human Resources
The Enron/Arthur Andersen scandals have brought home the importance and need for improved ethical standards in the business arena. Fortunately, businesses are adopting new standards that address this need and it is necessary that human resource departments take an active role in the implementation of these new standards to ensure strict compliance.
The role of the HR professional has changed and successful business organizations are becoming more resilient, more adaptable, more willing to change direction and customer oriented. Because of these changes, it is important that HR professionals learn how to manage effectively through improved planning, organization, leadership, and increased use of knowledge available through the use of technology.
Black, S.E. (2006). How to Compete: The Impact of Workplace Practices and Information Technology on Productivity. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 434-445.
Chernew, M. (2005). Increasing Health Insurance Costs and Decline in Insurance Coverage. Health Services Research, 1021-1039.
Henrickson, A.R. (2003). Human Resource Information Systems: Backbone Technology of Contemporary Human Resources. Journal of Labor Research, 382-394.
Marquardt, M. (2003). The Future: Globalization and New Roles For HRD. Advances in Developing Human Resources, 283-195.
Pfeiffer, J. (2007). Human Resources from an Organizational Perspective: Some Paradoxes Explained. The…