Friday, September 11, 2020

Utilizing ABMs for The Human Resource Management

In a previous post from a few years ago we looked at how the workplace the layout might impact subordinates interactions with managers. Now turning to work employee satisfaction within the workplace, at the forthcoming International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling and Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation (or SBP-BRiMS for short) we have a paper entitled "The Human Resource Management Parameter Experimentation Tool".

In this paper we have created a model called the "Human Resources Management-Parameter Experimentation Tool" or HRM-PET for brevity, which is based on Herzberg et al. (1959) Two-Factor Theory. This theory has been used and tested for decades in human resource management as it can capture the interaction between a work force’s motivation and their environment’s hygiene. Hygiene in this context relates to policies and administration, supervision-technical, relationship-superior, working conditions, and salary which together moderate job dissatisfaction. While the theory has been extensively used it has not been explored via an agent-based model until now. By utilizing agent-based modeling, it allows us to test the empirically found variations on the Two-Factor Theory and its application to specific industries or organizations.

If you are interested in finding out more about this work, below we provide the abstract to the paper, an annotated graphical user interface of the model along with the basic decision making process for the agents. This is followed by some of the results from the model and movie of a representative model run. At the bottom of the post we provide the full citation to the paper, along with that of Herzberg et al. (1959). The model itself which was created in NetLogo 6.1, can be found along with a detailed Overview, Design concepts, and Details plus Decision making (ODD+D) document at The rationale for utilizing the ODD+D and for sharing the model is that it allows broader dissemination of the model and its methodology.

Human resource management (HRM) draws on the field of organizational theory (OT) to identify, quantify, and manage people-based phenomena that impact organizational operations and outcomes. OT research has long used computational methods and agent-based modeling to understand complex adaptive systems. Agent-based modeling methodologies within HRM, however, are still rare. Within the HRM and management science literature, Herzberg’s et al. (1959) Two-Factor Theory (TFT) is a framework that has been tested and used for decades. Its ability to capture the interaction between a work force’s motivation and their environment’s hygiene lends itself well to agent-based modeling as a method of study. Here, we present the development of the Human Resources Management-Parameter Experimentation Tool (HRM-PET) as the first explicit ABM instantiation of TFT, filling the gap between the study of HRM and computational OT tools like agent-based modeling. 

Keywords: Human Resources Management, Management Science, Workforce Dynamics, Agent-based Modeling.
HRM-PET graphical user interface.
Decision making process for the agents in HRM-PET.
Worker congregation to work units under three variations of work unit hygiene factor distributions and two variations of weighing worker satisfaction and dissatisfaction.

Herzberg, F.I., Mausner, B. and Snyderman, B. (1959)The Motivation to Work (2nd ed.). New York: John Wiley.
Iasiello, C., Crooks, A.T. and Wittman, S. (2020), The Human Resource Management Parameter Experimentation Tool, in Thomson, R., Bisgin, H., Dancy, C., Hyder, A. and Hussain, M. (eds), 2020 International Conference on Social Computing, Behavioral-Cultural Modeling & Prediction and Behavior Representation in Modeling and Simulation, Washington DC., pp. 298-307. (pdf)

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