Book Review: Human Resources Information Systems: A Guide for Public Administrators

AuthorJiwon Suh
Published date01 March 2023
Date01 March 2023
Subject MatterBook Review
Review of Public Personnel Administration
2023, Vol. 43(1) 209 –211
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
Book Review
Book Review
Valcik, N. A., Sabharwal, M., & Benavides, T. (2021). Human Resources Information Systems: A
Guide for Public Administrators. Springer. 177 pp. $89.99 hardcover. ISBN: 978-3-030-75110-4.
Reviewed by: Jiwon Suh , University of Texas at Arlington, USA
DOI: 10.1177/0734371X221115865
Human resources (HR) are pivotal for an organization’s accomplishment of its goals,
yet very difficult to manage. HR functions cover a wide variety of practices not only
including compliance of laws, recruiting, training, and compensation but also expand-
ing to strategic decision-making and organizational culture. Therefore, accurate
HR-related data should be acquired, maintained, and appropriately distributed. As
such, Human Resource Information Systems (HRIS) are essential for any organiza-
tion, regardless of sector. However, the applications of the HRIS vary across the public
sector (Battaglio, 2015). For public organizations, making decisions about HR involves
using public resources, making good HRIS a necessity. Although technology has been
used in HR functions since the 1940s, the development of HRIS has lagged other busi-
ness functions given the complexity of human resource-related practices (Johnson
et al., 2021). Considering that HRIS does not yet apply to the decision-making level
and still remains at the functional level in public organizations (p. 33), Human
Resources Information Systems: A Guide for Public Administrators by Nicolas A.
Valcik, Meghna Sabharwal, and Teodoro J. Benavides provides a great addition to our
knowledge of HRIS in the public sector.
This book provides an overview of HRIS from its history to recent practical appli-
cations in the public sector. Chapter 1 provides a brief background of HRIS, key defi-
nitions, and major components that can be used in the public and nonprofit
organizations. Chapter 2 synthesizes the history of HRIS and discusses contemporary
opportunities and challenges (p. 25). For example, HRIS enables organizations to pro-
cess a large amount of data efficiently and project future HR-related trends. Key chal-
lenges include measurement difficulties, resistance to change, budgetary constraints,
relying on external expertise, and data security are mainly derived from the unique
characteristics of the public sector. Chapter 3 discusses the current research on HRIS
adoption phases and Technological, Organizational and Environmental (TOE) factors
that impact on its level of adoption. Security challenges in the public sector are also
addressed. Chapter 4 delves into HR data management by focusing on database archi-
tecture development, compares mainframe, server-based and cloud-based HRIS, and
highlights that the evolution of HRIS enhances organizational efficiencies and
1115865ROPXXX10.1177/0734371X221115865Review of Public Personnel AdministrationBook Review

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