Originally Published In
SA Journal of Human resource Management
Orientation: Diversity management, focusing on developing and appreciating diverse ideas and building relations among diverse employees, and new electronic human resource management (e-HRM) approaches to employees, often leave employees feeling disrespected and indignant. Thus, instead of human resource practitioners, harnessing the strategic role of e-HRM towards value creation for people and organisation, e-HRM has taken a dehumanising turn. Research purpose: This research questioned how technological changes affecting e-HRM could optimise and enable diversity. Motivation for the study: Current literature does not adequately address this e-HRM dilemma impacting on HRM. Research approach/design and method: A qualitative exploratory case study was used to determine how and to what extent the application of e-HRM technology implementation impacted on diversity management. The human niche and ecological model theories help explain the nature of employees’ interactional relationships and coping mechanisms when intervening factors such as e-HRM are introduced respectively. Main findings: The research revealed disconnectedness between e-HRM, individuals and groups, affecting efficiency. Further research is required to improve humanistic approaches for e-HRM implementations. Practical/managerial implications: Application of human niche theory may guide a more participative approach from the onset. Leaders and managers who follow a pure transactional approach may fuel employee isolationism and hamper diversity management through technology in e-HRM. Contribution/value-add: Our findings provide insight into the unintended consequences of diversity. We indicated how e-HRM systems can lead to relational breakdown in a developing country context. Technology should be integrated in managing diversity, and not just focused on operational efficiencies.