Adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Human Resource Management: A Conceptual Model.

AuthorKaur, Mandeep


By adopting Artificial Intelligence Technologies, the Human Resources function has transitioned to being acknowledged as a strategic contributor to the business. Human Resource Management (HRM) has gone through a notable transformation influenced by technological changes (Bondarouk et al., 2017). The advancement of HRM, to "Intelligent HR", as put forth by Yabanci (2019), is delved into specifically the application of Artificial Intelligence technologies. Matsa & Gullamajji (2019) emphasize that for organizations to be competitive, they need to adopt innovative HR practices, which move HR away from administrative functions to areas that help redefine and reshape employee experience, through advanced functionalities of artificial intelligence (AI) technologies. Highlighting how AI has contributed in the strategic development of HR, Zehir et al. (2020) elaborate on the influence that the technological evolution of the HR function has on an organization's performance.

Organizations can leverage strategic advantage by managing talent--a key differentiator, with the implementation of AIT related to all aspects of the HRM function. There is adequate literature available, on AI applications that can be deployed in all functions of HRM, but there are very limited insights on the adoption of AI in HRM. Though it is such a key aspect of HR transformation that impacts business, there is a huge variance, in the adoption of AIT in HRM function, across organizations. There is no model available, on factors that impact the deployment in the HR function, of the technology of Artificial Intelligence. Consequently, there do not exist many studies, neither much empirical research has been conducted on the adoption of Artificial Intelligence in HR. This is identified as a research gap. This study intends to contribute and provide inputs to this relatively lesser researched field.

This research addresses the need to formulate a comprehensive model, to provide an integrated view of the factors impacting the decision of adoption of AI in HR. This research proposes a comprehensive framework, related to the AI technology adoption in HR, based on the integration of Technology-Organization-Environment (TOE) model and Technology-Adoption-Model (TAM). The study provides insights that are beneficial to multiple stakeholders. Top management, employees, managers, AI developers, and HR application vendors are some of the key impacted parties, who can leverage this study.

Literature Review

There are very limited insights on a model that supports the adoption of AIT in HRM, while there are a few studies of adoption of AI technology in different contexts. Upadhyay & Khandelwal (2018), conducted research in the recruitment function regarding the extent of adoption of AI, based only on secondary data. Nankervis et al. (2019), research was based on inputs received from focus groups and surveys, on the levels of preparedness for AI of the HR professionals, it did not focus on the adoption of AIT in HRM function overall. Bringing forth a case study, Gulliford & Dixon (2019) traced the implementation of AI, from preliminary to present day, based on the experience of an organization, though it did not bring forth any insights on the topic of adoption of AI. Pillai & Sivathanu's (2020) study related to AI adoption in HR was limited to only the recruitment domain in HR in technology/ technology-enabled service sectors in Pune and Mumbai cities in India. Niehueser & Boak (2020) conducted a study in a recruitment organization, to study the impact on the adoption of AI, due to the attitudes of employees on initiation of implementation of AI in the HR processes. Thus, the review of existing literature on the adoption of AIT in HR highlights very limited empirical studies existing, which are based on technology models to study adoption based on various parameters. There is not much research on the model of adoption of AI in HR. Though it is such a key aspect of HR transformation that impacts business, the lack of a technology model for the adoption of AIT in HRM function, across organizations is a research gap.

Theoretical Background

Khasawneh (2008) in his research, has explained the adoption of technology as "the first use or acceptance of a new technology or new product". Theoretical frameworks modeled to understanding and predicting components that influence technology adoption in organizations along with their authors are : Theory of Reasoned Action (TRA) designed by Fishbein & Ajzen (1975), Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) designed by Davis (1989), TOE Model designed by Tornatzky & Fleischer (1990), Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) designed by Ajzen (1991), Innovation Diffusion Theory (IDT) designed by Rogers (1995) while Venkatesh et al. (2003) proposed the Unified Theory of Acceptance and use of Technology (UTAUT).

Tornatzky & Fleischer (1990) had put forth, the Technology-Organizational-Environmental (TOE) framework, to explore the organizational-level adoption of technology services and products. Zhu et al. (2004) shared that the TOE framework is now positioned as a universally acknowledged theory of technology adoption. The incorporation of variables related to technology, organization, and environment, has made TOE preferable, in comparison to other technology adoption models (Hossain & Quaddus, 2011). An aspect related to technology factor elaborates on both external and internal relevant technologies for the organization. The organizational aspect and its attributes are related to the size, scope, and structure of the organization. Factors concerning the environment refer to the surroundings, where the organization does business and it includes business partners, competitors, the industry, and the government. Cooper & Zmud (1990), in their research highlight the framework of TOE being a well-acknowledged framework, related to the adoption of technology, as per the research indicated, in the empirically supported studies conducted. Thus, to study the adoption of AIT in the Human Resources function, the TOE framework has been well adapted.

The TOE model has been called out to have certain drawbacks/ limitations of not representing a comprehensive conceptual framework, as it constitutes a set of variables, so is not a robust model to understand organizational adoption (Dedrick & West, 2003). Low et al., (2011) in their research referred to the TOE framework that it lacks key constructs and adequate variables in each context. Wang et al. (2010) highlighted that the framework of TOE has key factors, which are not well defined and thus impact the variables, to differ with context. Thus, TOE framework requires to be combined with additional variables to build a robust framework.

The Technology Adoption Model (TAM) targets to forecast acceptance of technology by the user and...

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