The e-commerce approach to people management (i.e. HRM) is popularly believed to be radically new and an innovative rewriting of the 'old' rules of employment. Yet little is known about which HR practices are used by such companies, and what might explain these companies' policy selections in the realm of HR. Exploratory survey data based on a sample of 30 small-medium UK e-commerce firms reports use of employee involvement in decision-making, internal communication, financial participation and reward schemes, performance evaluation, training and provision for employment security. Insights from interviews with five senior managers from the sample augment the survey data with qualitative evidence on e-commerce firms' approach to HR. The findings suggest that this approach falls somewhere between radical 'new' innovations and enduring continuities with 'old' people management techniques, and that this has parallels with the experience of small-medium enterprises generally. Copyright

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International Small Business Journal
Erasmus Research Institute of Management

Dietz, G.R, van der Wiele, A, van Iwaarden, J.D, & Brosseau, J. (2006). HRM inside UK E-commerce firms: Innovations in the 'new' economy and continuities with the 'old'. International Small Business Journal, 24(5), 443–470. doi:10.1177/0266242606067267