The impact of technology on human resources management at the Breede Valley Municipality

James, Megan Astrid (2006-03)

Thesis (MPA (School of Public Management and Planning))--University of Stellenbosch, 2006.


South Africa has a shortage of skilled labour, which prevents the country from economically competing in the global village. Unfortunately little money was spent on the training and development of workers during the apartheid era. The new government has implemented legislation and various programmes to rectify the situation. Organisations in South Africa are beginning to recognise that a skilled workforce has the potential to provide them with the competitive edge. Instead of viewing training and development as an expense, as they often did in the past, many organisations are now beginning to view expenditure on training as an investment. Training and development is one of the many functions performed by human resources (HR) departments. Today HR is also required to play a larger strategic role within an organisation. Daily administrative duties, however, often prevent human resources managers from playing a more important strategic role. However, modern technology can simplify the way in which human resources departments perform their daily tasks. There are various computerised information systems and programs that can be used for this purpose. The high unemployment rate and the poor economic situation have also affected local government. Many municipalities have a limited budget with which they must provide their communities with basic services such as electricity and water, sanitation and refuse removal, municipal health services and fire fighting services. Municipalities also play a role in the development of their communities. The quality of services provided by the municipalities will depend on the employees of the municipalities. It is therefore important to improve the skills and competencies of the workers to ensure better service delivery to communities. Technology is increasingly being used to address challenges faced by municipalities, to enhance service delivery as well as to improve internal efficiency. Raw data can be converted to useful information that can help key decision makers make a more informed decision about projects. In this study, the Breede Valley Municipality was used as a case study to learn more about the problem under study. The objectives of the study was to identify: a) the advantages web-based technologies can hold for HR employees in their daily work; (b) how training and development is implemented within the municipality; and (c) the challenges, constraints and recommended steps for improvement. A thorough literature study formed the basis of the research and was supplemented with individual interviews with relevant employees at Breede Valley Municipality. This municipality, like most in South Africa, is tasked to deliver services to their communities with limited financial resources at their disposal. Optimal use of technology can assist the HR department to play a more strategic role within the municipality, in freeing them from their administrative tasks.

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