Unit Title: Personnel Information Systems Unit Reference Number: F/601/7510 Guided Learning Hours: 160 Level: Level 5 Number of Credits: 18

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1 Unit Title: Personnel Information Systems Unit Reference Number: F/601/7510 Guided Learning Hours: 160 Level: Level 5 Number of Credits: 18 Unit objective and aim(s): This unit aims to give learners a comprehensive understanding of: the role of PIS in HR decision making the different systems appropriate for different levels of the organisation basic techniques for analysing and modelling personnel information different methodologies for the design and control of PIS ethical, professional and legal obligations Learning Outcome 1 The learner will: Understand the role of personnel information systems in human resource management decision-making at strategic, tactical and operational levels of organisation. 1.1 Explain and evaluate the competitive advantage to be gained through effective use of personnel information systems Explain and evaluate the competitive advantage to be gained through effective personnel information management Introduce the notion that information reduces uncertainty and that in itself can be a competitive advantage Introduce the concept of competitive advantage and the perspective of human resources as a major source of competitive advantage (Porter, 1990) Identify creativity, innovation and organisational knowledge as the key components of competitive advantage to be gained through effective management of the human resource Discuss the role of information systems in supporting the creativity, innovation and knowledge management processes of organisations as an aid to meeting the challenges of globalisation Emphasise the importance of the acquisition and development of planning skills to support organisational strategies. 1.2 Recognise the importance of the personnel information systems in supporting managerial decisionmaking and identify the decisions that are made both routinely and Recognise the importance of personnel information systems in supporting managerial decision-making and identify the decisions that are made both routinely and exceptionally in the human resource domain Identify prescriptive and descriptive models of decisionmaking.

2 exceptionally in the human resource domain Distinguish between programmed and non-programmed decisions/routine and non-routine decisions Understand the functions and processes of human resource management and their associated decisions Use decomposition diagrams for identification of information needed for decision-making Identify the role of personnel information systems in facilitating decision-making autonomy or centralised control. 1.3 Explain the ways in which personnel information systems can enhance organisational communication Explain the ways in which personnel information systems can enhance organisational communication Personnel information systems can aid communication at all organisation levels and enhance understanding of policies and objectives Knowledge management can be facilitated, e.g. through intranet Creativity can be enhanced, e.g. through networking. Learning Outcome 2 The learner will: Understand the distinction between the generic systems that make up personnel information systems at different levels of the organisational hierarchy. 2.1 Define and explain the purpose of transactional information systems and evaluate their effectiveness in the operational management of human resources Define and explain the purpose of operational/transaction processing systems (TPS) This is really about the operational management of human resources; data for computing operational performance in the human resource domain is processed here, e.g. collection of absence, payment, accident, training and development data Introduce the idea of systems operating in or close to real time and the notion of hard information. 2.2 Define and explain the role of management information systems and evaluate their effectiveness in identifying human resource management planning and control decisions Define and explain the role of management information systems (MIS) i.e. the role of planning and control systems for the identification of human resource management (HRM) objectives and the generation of reports for effective planning and control decisions This can be illustrated by giving examples of staffing budgets, i.e. showing how the objectives are set and how

3 feedback operates Point out the retrospective nature of this kind of information system and the concept of time lag/hysteresis Note the routine nature of decision-making at this level. 2.3 Define and explain the role of executive information systems (EIS) for the strategic management of human resources Explain in outline the role of executive information systems (EIS) for the strategic management of human resources, e.g. collection and analysis of external and internal labour market data for forecasting of staffing requirements in support of corporate goals The tenuous nature of information at this strategic level should be noted and distinction made between hard and soft information EIS is concerned with new and unstructured decisionmaking scenarios Data and information are largely drawn from external sources Reliance on forecasting, prediction and trend analysis of the long-term future. Learning Outcome 3 The learner will: Know how to apply the basic techniques for analysing and modelling personnel information systems. 3.1 Construct flow charts, systems diagrams and data flow diagrams, using conventional symbols, and apply these techniques to the analysis of human resource functions and procedures Understand the conventions of systems diagramming and apply the techniques to the analysis of personnel procedures Deal with purposes and drawing conventions of systems maps, cause and effect diagrams, process charts, flow charts, data flow diagrams (DFD), algorithms Show how diagrams can represent different hierarchical levels for a system, e.g. level 0 (general diagram such as a context diagram); level 1 onwards (increasing/amplifying detail of data flow) Use diagrams to show and check the logic of personnel processes, e.g. disciplinary and grievance procedures Use diagrams to show the sequencing of personnel procedures, e.g. recruitment and selection Use diagrams to specify records and information

4 generation e.g. DFDs to show how information is recorded and stored for generation of absence reports, or performance appraisal. 3.2 Define and explain the role of expert systems (ES) and decision support systems (DSS) for the analysis and evaluation of human resource functions Define and explain the role of expert systems (ES) and decision support systems (DSS) for the analysis and evaluation of human resource functions Recognise the potential for the application of expert systems, e.g. for training and development, for the understanding of legal issues, and for the explanation of disciplinary procedures ES use heuristic processing techniques, i.e. finding things out through deductive reasoning, based on an expert s knowledge In the domain of HRM, ES can be used for resolving problems which have legal implications and for training and developing staff in HRM procedures Describe the role of DSS in the analysis and evaluation of personnel management projects, e.g. evaluation of different scenarios using what if approach/sensitivity analysis Understand the application of spreadsheets for information modelling and the processing of personnel data into information Explain briefly how values of variables can be randomly selected from distributions to perform simulations in spreadsheet modelling. 3.3 Discuss the different approaches to the design of database management systems for organising and managing personnel records Discuss the different approaches to organising personnel records and their relationships, e.g. hierarchical, network, relational and object-oriented database structures Use diagrams and charts to cover briefly: nodes, entities, attributes and fields in dealing with hierarchical databases. Explain the relationships in this model and its advantages and disadvantages Use diagrams and charts to cover briefly the concept of sets and the way in which the relationship problem of the hierarchical model is resolved in networks. Identify its advantages and disadvantages Cover briefly the concept of normalisation, avoidance of duplication, data redundancy and the achievement of flexibility in the relational model Show how primary and foreign keys and file relationships facilitate the setting up of queries in a relational database and the generation of reports.

5 Learning Outcome 4 The learner will: Understand the processes and systems available for the planning and control of personnel policies and programmes. 4.1 Explain the closed loop control process and construct Single Loop and Double Loop Control Models Explain the control process and identify control model components Cover the construction and use of the single and double loop control models Identify informational requirements for control, i.e. sensing of outputs; defining objectives Discuss the dysfunctional aspects of the control model, e.g. its mechanistic nature and associated limitations. 4.2 Discuss the role of forecasting and gap analysis for generating input information into the planning and control processes Explain the basic informational aspects of forecasting and gap analysis Apply forecasting and gap analysis to the planning of staff development requirements Derive future staffing needs from strategic business objectives, e.g. numbers, skills, levels of responsibility Identify skills gap from internal skills inventory Identify labour market information Plan recruitment based on skills gap and staff development plans, i.e. make or buy decisions Recognise the analysis and reporting potential of recruitment and selection modules in personnel information systems, e.g. reports tracking recruitment costs, equal opportunities, discrimination, age profiles, vacancies and progress of selection Recognise the potential of the internet for online recruitment and selection, e.g. wider catchment, speed of response, ease of applicant data collection, automatic filtering of applicants. 4.3 Apply the principles of planning and control to human resource functions and activities Apply the principles of planning and control to human resource functions and activities.

6 Learning Outcome 5 The learner will: Understand the different methodologies for the design of personnel information systems. 5.1 Explain the stages in the Systems Development Life Cycle (SDLC) and the Structured Systems Analysis and Design Methodology (SSADM) and analyse their strengths and weaknesses Explain the systems development life cycle (SDLC). Discuss its strengths and weaknesses Cover the four generic stages: systems analysis, design, implementation, and evaluation Look at the outline of Structured Systems Analysis & Design Method (SSADM) as an example of SDLC development Appreciate the strengths and weaknesses of the waterfall approach and imperative/sequential development inherent in SDLC and SSADM. 5.2 Explain the stages in the Rapid Applications Development (RAD) approach and analyse their strengths and weaknesses Explain the concept of the Agile approaches to systems development Explain the reasons for the development of Rapid Applications Development (RAD): speed of development, cost of delivery, technological innovation and flexibility Identify the key features of RAD: end-user participation, iteration, prototyping Describe the main phases of RAD: requirements planning, user design, construction, cutover Explain the associated technique of Joint Applications Development (JAD) Explain Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM), as a formalised RAD approach. Learning Outcome 6 The learner will: Understand the ethical and professional obligations and the requirements of any prevailing current relevant legal framework. 6.1 Identify and explain the principles of data protection, ethical and Explain the fundamental principles of data protection.

7 professional obligations. 6.2 Identify ethical obligations based on professional codes of practice Identify and explain ethical and professional obligations relevant to the management of personnel information systems. 6.3 Identify and discuss relevant pointers to good practice from other codes of practice, e.g. Freedom of Information, Human Rights, Employment Practices, Data Protection Code Explain the relevance of the principles of Freedom of Information, Human Rights and Employment Practices Data Protection Codes to personnel information systems management. Assessment: Assessment method: written examination (unless otherwise stated). Written examinations are of three hours duration. All learning outcomes will be assessed. Recommended Reading: Please refer to the Tuition Resources section of the Members Area of the ABE website ( for the recommended reading for this subject.

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