News & Events

Symposium celebrating 25 years of the HRM research in the University of Twente


HRM, Technology and Innovation: Back to the Future

November 10, 2015


We are proud to announce that the Human Resource Management chair of the University of Twente is celebrating its 25th anniversary, and therefore organizes the symposium ‘HRM, Technology and Innovation: Back to the Future’.


Looking back at the technological and innovative developments in HRM, the past 25 years have brought us many challenges, which resulted in even more questions than answers. We decided to celebrate a quarter of a century of the HRM chair by arranging a gathering of some of the world’s leading scholars and business thinkers and asking them to look over the horizon of Human Resource Management. As the world of HRM keeps on developing at a dazzling pace, this symposium dares to explore the future of the interfaces between HRM, Technology and Innovation.


To discuss this question, we invite academics and business professionals to join our symposium and to look – together with us – into the future of HRM, Technology and Innovation. The symposium will be an interactive day including a keynote address by Professor Chris Brewster from Henley Business School (UK), breakout sessions on future developments in HRM, and plenary discussions on bridging the gap between science and practice.


Key details:

WHAT: The symposium on HRM, Technology and Innovation: Back to the Future!

WHERE: Campus of the University of Twente (Enschede, The Netherlands)

WHEN: November 10, 2015

WHY: To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the HRM chair of the University of Twente

WHO: Academics and business professionals

HOW: Through interactive break-out sessions and plenary discussions


The keynote address of the symposium will be provided by Chris Brewster, who is Professor of International Human Resource Management at Henley Business School, University of Reading, in the UK; and at Nijmegen University in the Netherlands. He had substantial experience as a practitioner and gained his doctorate from the LSE before becoming an academic. He researches in the field of international and comparative HRM; and has published some twenty five books and more than one hundred and fifty articles. He has taught in many countries around the world. In 2006 Chris was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Vaasa, Finland.


The program of the symposium comprises a mix of in-depth plenary sessions, highly interactive world café discussions and a plenary debate between scientists and practitioners. The registration starts at 9:00 with coffee; the program starts at 9:45.


Coffee and registration (Ravelijn building, Atrium)


Plenary session – Room RA-1501

Prof. dr. Theo Toonen, Dean of the Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social Sciences (BMS)

Key-note “HRM, Technology and Innovation”
Prof. dr. Chris Brewster, Professor of International HRM, Henley Business School, University of Reading

HRM department at the University of Twente: 25 years Ahead
Prof. dr. Tanya Bondarouk, chair of the HRM Department


Coffee break – Atrium Ravelijn


World café discussions

Room RA-2336

Room RA-2334

Room RA-2502

Room RA-2504

World café 1
Doing HR without HR

World café 2
HR Analytics: hello! (and goodbye?)

World café 3
HRM: from Innovation to WE-nnovation

World café 4
Beyond digitization: what is SMART HRM?

Jeroen Meijerink

Jan Kees Looise

Jordi Trullen

Marco Maatman

Sjoerd van den Heuvel

Jan de Leede

Auke IJsselstein

Cor Polling

Anna Bos-Nehles

Jorrit van Mierlo

Maarten Renkema

Milana Korotka

Tanya Bondarouk

Mireia Valverde

Niels Pulles

Petra Hoffmann


Lunch - Atrium Ravelijn


World café discussions (continued)

Room RA-2336

Room RA-2334

Room RA-2502

Room RA-2504

World Café 1
Doing HR without HR

World Café 2
HR Analytics: hello! (and goodbye?)

World Café 3
HRM: from Innovation to WE-nnovation

World Café 4
Beyond digitization: what is SMART HRM?


Coffee break – Atrium Ravelijn


Plenary session – Room RA-1501

Findings from the World Café
Presented by the World café discussion leaders

Plenary Debate
Led by Dr. Huub Ruël, Professor of International Business at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences


Drinks: Atrium Ravelijn


Diner: Faculty Club, UT Campus


World Café 1: Doing Human Resource Management without HR?

The human resource management (HRM) function is one of the most vivid examples of the adage ‘the only constant is change’. In the pursuit to add value, new HRM roles such as talent managers and business allies have been introduced and new delivery channels for providing HRM services have been added. Initially these changes were restricted to the outsourcing of administrative HRM activities. However, nowadays the allocation of HRM responsibilities is scattered among various internal and external stakeholders. In fact, employees themselves have entered this arena too as they become increasingly responsible for managing their own careers and development. Research suggests that traditional HRM activities are gradually moving away from HR advisors and HR managers: HRM responsibilities are devolved to line managers and supervisors, shared service centers anticipate to transition into transformational HRM service provision and organizations are planning to further digitize HRM services in the cloud or by installing mobile apps.

In this workshop we will discuss future developments in the distributions of HRM responsibilities. Will HRM advisors and managers become more strategic as other stakeholders take over their traditional responsibilities or will these traditional functions become obsolete? What are the implications of employee involvement in HRM? How do organizations keep in control of an HRM function that is increasingly fragmentized? Is HRM without HRM professionals unavoidable or needed, and desirable? What are the requirements for HRM functions to cope with future developments in HRM?

To address these questions, you are invited to the World Café where we explore research directions and business developments in the future of HRM responsibilities and delivery channels.

Themes for discussion:

1.HR Shared Service Centers

2.Competences & responsibilities of HR professionals

3.HRM & Technology

4.Employees’ involvement in HRM

World Café 2: HR Analytics: hello! (and goodbye?)

Already in 2005 Boudreau and Ramstad advocated that “the traditional service-oriented HR focus must be extended to a ‘decision science’ that enhances decisions about human capital”. They argued that with such a paradigm shift, the HR function could actually find out what it means to be ‘strategic’. The HR decision science could enhance decisions about people, just as “the marketing decision science enhances decisions about customers, and the finance decision science enhances decisions about money”. Only now, more than a decade later, it seems that the paradigm shift has finally set in. Businesses have opted for more popular language tough, using the terms HR analytics, workforce analytics or people analytics. Inspired by success stories of organizations generating up to $100 million in savings, while at the same time improving the engagement and productivity of employees, advanced HR analytics is becoming mainstream (McKinsey, 2015) and is increasingly considered to be an indispensable tool for HR (Boston Consulting Group, 2014). However, organizations are struggling to let HR Analytics become an organizational reality, where some even suggest that ‘HR and People Analytics’ represents one of the major capability gaps in today’s HR practice (Deloitte, 2015) and most organizations, even large multinationals, lack a clear vision of the future of HR Analytics within their company. Recent research, conducted by the University of Twente, even suggests that by 2025, HR Analytics has disappeared as an individual discipline.

In this workshop we will discuss questions such as: Can HR Analytics survive within the HR function? How should HR analytics be organized to contribute to business goals? What role does (and can) technology play to support HR Analytics? Should HR analytics be (partly) outsourced to specialized consultancies? What should universities teach their students in the area of HR Analytics? What insights should scholars provide in the coming years, thus what should academic HR Analytics research focus on?

We bring you to the World Café, where we will identify some future cutting-edge research directions and business developments in HR Analytics.

Themes for discussion:

1.Practices: Future applications of HR Analytics

2.Competencies: Teaching HR Analytics at universities?

3.Employees’ responses: Generating employee acceptance for HR Analytics

4.Technology: Future technologies to support HR Analytics?

World Café 3: HRM: From I-nnovation to WE-nnovation

More than a century ago companies were aiming for productivity and efficiency and had one best way of managing employees. Today, however, the most successful companies have shifted their focus towards innovation. Since 100 percent of all innovations come from people in organizations, at all levels, innovative HRM solutions deserve more attention. In the IBM (2011) research, all participating global HR leaders agreed that driving creativity and innovation is their number one business challenge, yet only 50 percent of them indicated they did anything about it. They attested that HRM plays a significant role in fostering innovation, but 71 percent of them did not use any screening tools to select creative job candidates. Google, for example, provides their employees with 20 percent time to innovate and recognizes that culture is more important than strategy to generate success. Organizations that have a culture supporting innovation are often more successful in business growth, profitability and attracting and keeping talent through employees that are customer-focused, value-driven and strategic. We know that it is not only R&D departments that can innovate, but the question remains, how we can engage every employee in the innovation process. This workshop will focus on WE-nnovation, where everybody is a potential source of innovations, not only R&D departments, considering that small changes in every-day work can initiate and develop organization-wide new products and processes.

In our World Café we will discuss the future of WE-nnovations, and such questions as whether it is desirable for all employees to be innovative; how to create a climate in which employees feel safe to share ideas? how to attract, develop and retain innovative employees? how can line managers stimulate employee-driven innovation? which competences are needed to innovate in a network? and what do we need to implement innovations?

Themes for discussion:

1.Innovation in HRM practices

2.Employee-driven innovation

3.Innovation in networks

4.Implementation of innovations

World Cafe 4: Beyond digitization: what is SMART HRM?

Since Tapscott coined the term “digital economy” in 1995, its has been extending its scope of impact from automating work processes to monitoring and influencing consumer behaviors, from value creation in the production chain within a company to the whole value chain within- and inter-businesses. Nowadays we observe digitization coming to the core of the knowledge work, involving decision making, and taking over cognitively challenging tasks. The HRM field enters smart businesses with convergence of human, digital and high tech dimensions, and it needs to anticipate its own smart future. The foreseeable HRM future may see traditional HRM tasks to be further digitalized or even… robotized. We also observe that the new breed of companies are the fastest-growing in history: Alibaba, Airbnb, Twitter, WhatsApp, LinkedIn, Xing, Facebook, Google; these companies are indescribably thin layers that sit on top of vast supply systems (where the costs are) and interface with a huge number of customers (where the money is) (Goodwin, 2015). The boarders between consumption and production become tangled, a consumer will convert into a producer, more than a co-producer. “Do-It-Yourself” economy forces the HRM field to become smart, where one may expect the future workforce consisting of “consumer as a producer and a costless employee”.

In this Café we will discuss such questions like What kind of smart HRM will best meet expectations of latest business developments? Can HRM go smart and combine digitization, automation and a network approach? What will be an impact of new technologies and robots on the employment management? How do businesses secure their HRM futureproof in the era of Smart Industries? What employees’ competences do businesses need to warrant success of smart industries?

We bring you to the World Café, where we will identify some future cutting-edge research directions and business developments in the smart HRM.

Themes for discussion:

1)HRM practices in Smart Industries

2)New competences for HRM professionals

3)Datafication of HRM

4)New jobs in Smart Industries