University of Oulu

Developing the role of human resource information systems for the activities of good leadership

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Author: Poutanen, Hilkka1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Science, Department of Information Processing Science
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.7 MB)
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Language: English
Published: 2010
Publish Date: 2010-05-12
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Science of the University of Oulu for public defence in OP-sali (Auditorium L10), Linnanmaa, on 28 May 2010, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Shirley Gregor
Associate Professor Liisa von Hellens


The research of the thesis is a human- and context-oriented qualitative study in the field of information systems (IS) discipline. The thesis has five research concepts: human resource information systems (HRIS), leadership, human resource management (HRM), tacit knowledge and emotional intelligence (EI). HRIS and leadership are two main concepts of the research, whereas HRM provides an application area and managerial activities of leadership for HRIS. Tacit knowledge and EI, for their part, are used to describe and interpret actions that make good leadership activities human, sensitive and successful.

The theoretical framework of the thesis consists of two ideas, 1) when thinking and acting in the current way, what kind of information systems it produces, and 2) when thinking and acting in another way, what kind of information systems it creates. The framework has its base on thinking and acting in a conventional, routine and stereotyped way, which hinders the process of observing, finding out, applying and using alternative thoughts and actions although they might provide useful and innovative solutions or activities for IS design. The research has been carried out and accomplished using hermeneutic phenomenography as a research method to understand, interpret and to describe the phenomenon of the activities of good leadership and the phenomenon of the role of HRIS in the case organizations.

As a result of the interviews, the good leaders’ main activity is to learn to know their employees. The essential finding is that the role of HRIS is partly unclear and even non-specific in organizations. The results indicate that the leaders do not use HRIS willingly. In their opinion HRIS do not serve or support their leadership activities. The use of HRIS is more a burden for them than a useful system. The data of HRIS benefits the managerial activities partly but does not benefit the human activities that the leaders have described and emphasized. Thus, a construct of hermeneutic phenomenography has been developed as a contribution to describe the research phenomena and to demonstrate how the role of HRIS could be developed for the activities of good leadership.

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Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. A, Scientiae rerum naturalium
ISSN-E: 1796-220X
ISBN: 978-951-42-6172-5
ISBN Print: 978-951-42-6171-8
Issue: 553
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2010. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.