Big Data and Human Resource Management Nexus: A Review and Future Direction

Abdulnasir Abdulmelike


Dramatic technological advancements, heavy reliance on data, the introduction of advanced information communication technologies, electronic business and high-end computing capacity necessitated the importance of big data application in organizations. Despite the increasing importance of big data, however, organizations have faced plenty of challenges. Thus, the reviewer aimed to identify the roles of big data for Human Resource Management (HRM), problems faced by HR professionals in using big data and provide solutions to the problems faced. In doing so, the reviewer collected research papers between 2014 and 2016 with the help of “Google scholar” search engine using search words “big data”, “HR analytics” and “HRM” to come up with 28 relevant articles out of 35 journal articles. The review indicated that big data proved itself to be a very useful in recruitment, training, pay-performance fit, and career management among others. With regard to problems of big data use in HRM authors indicated several issues including but not limited to; characteristics of big data, difficulty in understanding the concept of big data, deciding over what data are generated and collected, issues of privacy, ethical considerations relevant to mining such data, high infrastructure costs, lack of the skills, knowledge and insight to ask the right questions of the HR data and functional silos in the organization whereby HR and organizational leaders fail to strengthen the capacity of experts in combining HR related data with other determinants of productivity and performance. The reviewer suggests that big data and its scope should be well defined; distinctive characteristics and types of big data should be understood with specific reference to HRM; and problems/challenges should properly be addressed through the establishment of joint team of HRM and big data experts. Finally, both the academia and practitioners should embrace the new research paradigm that focuses on the proper alignment of big data with HRM for better organizational success and researchers should produce studies that show techniques of data mining as well as big data analytics in relation to HRM practices.

Keywords: Big data, HRM, HR analytics


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