Midyear Report by fN5aMB

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									                                    Midyear Report
                          Information Technology Committee
                    Human Resources Division, Academy of Management
              James Dulebohn                                      Howard Klein
              Michigan State U.                                   Ohio State U.
             dulebohn@msu.edu                                 klein_12@cob.osu.edu
                                          April 2, 2003
The following are the goals for 2002-2003 for the IT Committee:
    Evaluate and improve HR Division members' satisfaction and use of (a) the Division web
       site, (b) the Division’s e-Newsletter, and (c) HRDIV_NET.
    Propose and evaluate new ways in which IT can help achieve the goals of the HR
       Division and evaluate any IT policy issues that emerge during the year.
To achieve the above goals, the IT Committee formed the following three subcommittees:
IT Policy and General Use Subcommittee
    James Dulebohn (Chair), Michigan State U., (dulebohn@msu.edu)
    Albert Elam, International Business Academy, Denmark, (age@ibc.dk)
    Janet Marler, University at Albany, (marler@albany.edu)
    Mike Bedell, Cal State Bakersfiled, (mbedell@csub.edu)
Newsletter/HRDIV_NET Enhancement Subcommittee
  Howard Klein (Chair), Ohio State U., (klein_12@cob.osu.edu)
  Bradley Alge, Purdue U., (algeb@mgmt.purdue.edu)
  David Allen, U. of Memphis, (dallen@memphis.edu)
  Mark Huselid, Rutgers University, (huselid@rci.rutgers.edu)
  David Kravitz, George Mason U., (dkravitz@gmu.edu)
Web Site Enhancement Subcommittee
  John Boudreau (Chair), Cornell University, (jwb6@cornell.edu)
  Kenneth Brown, U. of Iowa, (kenneth-g-brown@uiowa.edu)
  Timothy DeGroot, McMaster University, (degroott@mcmaster.ca)
  James Dulebohn, Michigan State U., (dulebohn@msu.edu)
  Maria Henry, Nova Southeastern U. (maria_henry@hotmail.com)
  Howard Klein, Ohio State U., (klein_12@cob.osu.edu)
We would like to thank each of the above members of the IT Subcommittees for their hard work
on behalf of the HR Division.


This midyear report includes an outline of the specific issues each of the subcommittees is
currently addressing. The IT Committee has the following action items for the Division’s
Executive Committee:
   1. Consider the recommendation that the IT Committee move forward in planning a
      campaign to increase awareness of Division IT resources. A more detailed proposal,
      complete with budget request, will be submitted to the Division Chair for final approval
      prior to initiating this campaign (Item II.A).
   2. Consider the recommendation that the newsletter also be made available in HTML format
      (Item II.B.1.).
   3. Consider the request that all EC members not currently subscribed to HRDIV_NET do so
      and that each EC member take a more active role in contributing information of interest
      to members to the list. (Item II.C.1.)
   4. Please provide feedback on any of the other ideas currently under consideration by the
      sub-committees as described in this report.

We are looking forward to your feedback!


I. IT Policy and General Use Subcommittee
Members:
     Mike Bedell, Cal State Bakersfiled, (mbedell@csub.edu)
     James Dulebohn (Chair), Michigan State U., (dulebohn@msu.edu)
     Albert Elam, International Business Academy, Denmark, (age@ibc.dk)
     Janet Marler, University at Albany, (marler@albany.edu)

Tasks: Address any IT policy issues that emerge during the year.
       Propose new ways in which IT can help achieve the goals of the HR Division.
       Conduct the annual review of IT guidelines.

Summary: The Policy And Use Subcommittee will examine and present recommendations for
     the following issues as well as conduct the annual review of exiting IT guidelines. If any
     member of the Executive Committee is aware of additional IT policy issues, please share
     those concerns with Jim Dulebohn (dulebohn@msu.edu).

   A. Division Elections
      Options for moving Division elections from the current e-mail process to a web-based
      platform will be explored and evaluated, including possible assistance from the
      Academy.

   B. Web Page Linkage Policy
      A policy statement will be developed to guide decisions concerning the appropriateness
      of placing links to external web sites on the HR Division web site. Existing Academy
      and Division policies will be consulted for consistency and a process for evaluating
      proposed links will be outlined. Appropriate disclaimers will also be drafted for
      placement on the website to address issues such as the perceived endorsement of any
      linked sites.




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II. Newsletter/HRDIV_NET Enhancement Subcommittee
Members:
     Bradley Alge, Purdue U., (algeb@mgmt.purdue.edu)
     David Allen, U. of Memphis, (dallen@memphis.edu)
     Mark Huselid, Rutgers University, (huselid@rci.rutgers.edu)
     Howard Klein (Chair), Ohio State U., (klein_12@cob.osu.edu)
     David Kravitz, George Mason U., (dkravitz@gmu.edu)

Tasks: Review the data collected by the committee to date.
       Identify and collect additional data if needed.
       Propose specific recommendations for improving the Newsletter and HRDIV_NET.
       Propose a plan for future data collection to monitor progress.

Summary: The Newsletter/HRDIV_NET Enhancement Subcommittee has reviewed the data
     collected previously and has generated several suggestions for improving Division
     member satisfaction with and use of the Newsletter and HRDIV_NET. Those
     suggestions are outlined below.

   A. Campaign to Increase Awareness of the Division’s IT Resources
    1. The purpose of this campaign would be to make to make sure every Division member
       knows about HRDIV_NET, the Division newsletter, and the Division website.
    2. A variety of media would be employed to reach those members who are currently not
       using the Divisions IT resources (including those for whom the Division has missing or
       bad email addresses). The message would focus on the value of these resources and
       how to begin using them.
    3. This campaign would begin at the Academy meeting in August where materials (e.g.,
       small cards, flyers) could be distributed at Division functions and sessions.
    4. As a follow-up, and for members not at the Academy meetings, a brochure would be
       mailed to all Division members. The timing of that mailing should closely follow the
       implementation of changes to IT resources such as those suggested in this report (e.g., a
       new newsletter, added features to the website, seeded discussions in HRDIV_NET) to
       give all members additional reasons to explore the promoted services (after making sure
       any changes have been successfully implemented).
    5. The information from this campaign could also be incorporated into a larger effort
       aimed at communicating the full range of benefits of HR Division membership (not just
       IT services) to non-members.

   B. Increasing Newsletter Readership.
      1. Make the Newsletter available in HTML (web pages) in addition to the current
          Word and pdf formats.
       An HTML format would allow members to easily find, read, and print select articles
          of interest. With this format, a table of contents can be provided with links to each
          story or section of the newsletter. This would allow members to focus on what’s
          important to them.



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      The HTML version should be in a single column format so it is easier to read online,
       eliminating the need to scroll down to read the left column on the page, scroll back up
       to the top of the page, then scroll back down the right column.
      This additional format option would also address any software compatibility issues
       members may have and caters to the unique viewing preferences of individual
       members.
      The Word and pdf versions can be kept in the current, two-column format for those
       that prefer to print out the entire newsletter.
   2. Broadcast E-mails
       E-mails should continue to be sent to all members when a new Newsletter is
       published to alert them of its availability. These e-mails should continue to include a
       link to the Newsletter. If a html version of the newsletter is available (see II. B.1.), a
       table of contents could be provided with article titles linked to individual articles.
       This e-mail should also remind members of the options and process for accessing the
       newsletter and encourage them to take the time to do so in order to stay informed of
       Division activities. This e-mail should also include a summary of headlines or brief
       reviews of "should not miss" key articles of major interest to get people past the
       inertia of moving to the next email. This “teaser” could also be posted on
       HRDIV_NET to generate additional discussion of those issues (see II.C.2.).
   3. Newsletter FAQ
       To assist members who experience difficulty in accessing the newsletter, a document
       could be prepared based on common problems experienced to date. This FAQ,
       containing answers to common questions and problems, would be posted on the
       Division web site with a link included in the broadcast e-mail announcing new
       newsletters.
   4. Broaden and Vary the Content
       While likely beyond the scope of the IT committee, additional input is needed on
       specifically what Division members might like in terms of potential content changes.
       Suggestions include research abstracts/briefs, HR Best Practices, HR education
       initiatives, HR controversies, legal updates, feature articles by prestigious people in
       the field, and interviews of HR leaders. Division members will need to be recruited
       to contribute material for any added features, as it is not reasonable to expect the
       Newsletter Editor to generate all of this additional content.

C. Building traffic on HRDIV_NET
   1. Leadership Commitment
    As with any technology implementation, acceptance starts with a commitment from
       leadership. To get more people to use these resources, Division leadership has to set
       the example. Having Division leadership contribute to the list would go a long way
       toward establishing HRDIV_NET as a valuable and credible forum of information
       exchange.




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      At this time, 11 of 17 Executive Committee members (65%) are subscribed to
       HRDIV_NET. We feel that all members of the Division’s Executive Committee
       should be subscribed to the listserve.
      It would help tremendously if each member of the Executive Committee would take
       responsibility for posting to the list monthly or even just a few times a year. Those
       postings could take the form of responding to the postings of others, generating
       discussions (see II.C.2.), announcing the availability of a working paper, etc..
      HRDIV_NET should also be used more frequently than is currently the case for
       Division business. For example, updates on Division activities could be posted on
       HRDIV_NET and done so more frequently than on the website or in the newsletter.
       In addition, committees should use HRDIV_NET to gather feedback or opinions on
       activities being planned or issues being debated.
   2. Seeded Discussions
      If HRDIV_NET is to be successful, it must contain messages of interest to Division
      members. To build intellectual interest, conversations/debates on interesting topics
      could be purposefully and strategically started.
    “HRDIV_NET Stewards” could be appointed -- highly visible, influential members in
       the field willing to regularly post/answer messages on the list relating to their own
       areas of expertise. The idea is that these individuals would create a positive culture
       for information exchange. Related to II.C.1. above, some of these stewards should be
       Executive Committee members.
    These individuals would post thought provoking questions, offer a periodic “What’s
       new in HR Research,” offer “ask the expert” forums, and weigh in on other inquiries
       with comments or links to relevant papers or reading lists.
   3. Additional Suggestions for building traffic
    Articles about HRDIV_NET should continue to be placed in the Division’s
       newsletter, including instructions for joining. The placement of these articles should
       vary and could include a mention of recent threads of interest that non-subscribers
       have been missing.
    The editors of the major journals could be asked to post tables of contents for “in
       press” issues with links to those papers, if available on-line, or e-mail links to the
       authors.
    Doctoral student members of the Division could be encouraged to post questions to
       the list with some guidance as to what constitutes a valuable and appropriate posting.

D. HRDIV_NET Subscription Drive
    A larger percentage of Division members should be subscribed to HRDIV_NET than is
    currently the case. Two alternative actions are under consideration, but this
    subscription drive would occur only after sparking more vibrant activity on the list
    through the traffic building efforts described above.




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     1. The first option would involve automatically subscribing all Division members to
        HRDIV_NET unless they explicitly indicate that they do not want to be subscribed.
        An e-mail would be sent to all members explaining that they will be subscribed to
        the Division’s listserv unless they request not to be (by replying to the e-mail). That
        e-mail would also explain why this was being done, outline the nature/goals of the
        list, the value of this resource for the exchange of information among Division
        members, and contrast HRDIV_NET from the old HRNET. Those members not
        opting out would be subscribed to the list (in digest form). A welcome posting
        would include clear directions to unsubscribe in case they missed the warning about
        being subscribed, along with a plea to give the list a chance before doing so.
     2. The second option would not automatically subscribe Division members but would
        consist of an e-mail to all members strongly encouraging them to subscribe and
        actively participate. This e-mail would come from the Division Chair and be signed
        by several opinion leaders (e.g., past, present, and future Division leaders). This e-
        mail would contain clear directions on how to subscribe and some of the same
        information as indicated for the first option. This e-mail would be HRDIV_NET
        specific, separate from the general campaign aimed at increasing member awareness
        of the Division’s IT resources (II.A.).

E. Further Evaluation of IT Use and Satisfaction
   1. Usage statistics
    The Division web master should continue to track “hit” statistics monthly for the
       newsletter and other key web pages. The experiences of other divisions suggest, for
       example, that it can take 3-5 years to get everyone on board with the electronic
       newsletter.
    Mechanisms should be put in place to automatically record the number of postings to
       HRDIV_NET and the number of Division members subscribed to the list on a regular
       basis.
   2. Follow-up Survey
    A systematic survey following-up on the information collected last year should be
       conducted to assess the effectiveness of these efforts and whatever changes are made
       to the web site, newsletter and HRDIV_NET. This survey should not be conducted
       until at least two newsletters incorporating those changes have been posted. Some
       key issues to be addressed in that survey include:
           1. Whether people are reading the newsletter.
           2. How people are reading the newsletter (on screen vs. printing it out).
           3. Satisfaction with and use of alternative formats (pdf vs. word vs. HTML).
           4. The perceived value of HRDIV_NET and the Division web site.
    More immediate feedback and suggestions for improvement should be regularly
       solicited through HRDIV_NET.




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III. Web Site Enhancement Subcommittee
Members:
     John Boudreau (Chair), Cornell University, (jwb6@cornell.edu)
     Kenneth Brown, U. of Iowa, (kenneth-g-brown@uiowa.edu)
     Timothy DeGroot, McMaster University, (degroott@mcmaster.ca)
     James Dulebohn, Michigan State U., (dulebohn@msu.edu)
     Maria Henry, Nova Southeastern U. (maria_henry@hotmail.com)
     Howard Klein, Ohio State U., (klein_12@cob.osu.edu)
Tasks: Review the data collected by the committee to date.
       Identify and collect additional data if needed.
       Propose specific recommendations for improving the Division web site.
       Propose a plan for future data collection to monitor progress.
Summary: The Web Site Enhancement Subcommittee has been exploring six possible action
     items. Below I provide my own summary of the comments exchanged on each of these
     items. Excerpts from the specific responses of sub-committee members will be available
     at the mid-year meeting for those interested in more detail. Please note that in the interest
     of the deadline, I have shared this report with the sub-committee and Howard Klein at the
     same time, and invite other sub-committee members to offer any changes or
     modifications they feel are necessary. Any inaccuracies or mistakes are my own. I thank
     the other subcommittee members very much for their help.

1. Committee members shared several existing newsletters (e.g., HR.com and ASTD) as
   examples of features that might be considered as enhancements to the web site or the
   newsletter. Reactions from subcommittee members suggest that this kind of interactive e-
   mailed newsletter is very desirable, but also depends greatly on the resources available. The
   newsletters that were shared appear to be the product of associations with full-time web
   masters and even web newsletter editors. The Division does not currently devote this amount
   of resource to the web site. The mid-year report of the Newsletter/HRDIV_NET
   Subcommittee recommends that the Division Newsletter also be available in HTML format.
   Doing so would allow the addition of some of the features of these other newsletters, and
   represents a good interim step. Much is feasible, many organizations out there are doing
   more with their newsletters than the Division does, but resources are the key constraint.
2. Committee members shared several ideas for building awareness of the web site. The mid-
   year report of the Newsletter/HRDIV_NET Subcommittee (particularly Parts II.A. and II.B)
   includes a number of these suggestions, in the context of raising awareness of the Division
   and the Newsletter in addition to the web site. There is synergy between the ideas here and
   those mentioned there. A new idea from this Committee is to reach out to key HR
   organizations (SHRM, Worldatwork, etc.) and perhaps even existing e-newsletters, to find
   ways for them to bring attention to the HR Division web site and web resources.




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3. Committee members examined the web sites of the OB, BPS, and Research Methods
   Divisions, which were noted as potentially good benchmarks by the membership. The other
   web sites do not seem significantly different in features from the HR Division site, though
   perhaps a bit more might be done on the HR site to link to useful other sites within and
   outside the Academy of Management. Differences in usage would seem to relate more to
   awareness or other factors that may be addressed in other action items. Adding additional
   features is probably best done after building awareness and enhancements to Newsletter
   format.
4. The sub-committee considered features of professional associations such as SHRM and SIOP
   (see also the comments in relation to other e-mail newsletters in #1 above). There is a wide
   variety of new ideas available on these other websites, including funding sources, degree
   programs, expertise data base, pieces by well-known though-leaders, etc.). It would not be
   possible to prioritize these within this sub-committee. These ideas might make excellent
   items for a future user survey. The answers might provide the Division with a way to
   prioritize them. There also appears to be some opportunity to exploit links and sites that
   already exist. Obviously, such linkage carries with it some larger issues about Division
   affiliation and possible perceived endorsement of external associations or vendors. Further
   decisions concerning such linkage will need to wait for the Policy Subcommittee’s web page
   linkage policy (see I.B.).
5. Regarding the question of featuring teaching-related information and exchanges on the
   Division web site, this seems to be highly desired by the Division membership. A key issue
   here is whether and how the Division web site should link to the HRIX site. In terms of the
   sub-committee charter, we can conclude that the Division seems to see value in having the
   web site as a source of teaching materials and perhaps other helpful teaching support. HRIX
   appears to contain many of the desirable features that have been noted by the membership.
   Links to that site are available on the Division web site, and could potentially be made more
   prominent. The question of whether the HRIX site should be more prominently or more
   officially featured or endorsed by the Division is a matter to be determined within the larger
   Division policies about affiliation and endorsement, so the sub-committee did not comment
   on that issue. It was also noted that the Division Teaching Committee should be involved in
   this discussion.
6. Regarding prior Division survey responses concerning technical issues, the sub-committee
   discussions show that much has been done to offer the Newsletter in multiple electronic
   formats, and to give folks the option of receiving a paper version. Many of the issues noted in
   the survey seem to be a function of users accessing the site with older or outdated software or
   hardware. These problems will abate over time as equipment and software is updated and
   replaced. This also relates to the “older look and feel” as adding new features will further
   strain older or outdated software and hardware. Currently a non-trivial amount of time of the
   web master is being spent responding to such technical dilemmas. The sub-committee
   members who commented on this seem unanimous in their view that these technical
   problems are probably not the most significant factor in the usage by Division members or
   their satisfaction with the site.




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