Collaborative HRM Delivery: Surfacing the Features and Associated Impacts that Emerge in Line Manager-HR Professional Relationships

Power, Jamie R (2009) Collaborative HRM Delivery: Surfacing the Features and Associated Impacts that Emerge in Line Manager-HR Professional Relationships. PhD thesis, Waterford Institute of Technology.

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The notion of line managers assuming an increased involvement in the human resource management issues relating to their direct reports is not a contemporary phenomenon. With the adoption of strategic human resource management practices,line managers, as a group, are specifically identified, through devolution approaches, as the drivers and deliverers of HRM policy and practice to support the strategic integration of HRM with the wider business strategy and moreover, integrate HRM policy and practice within the line management function. However, the research in the field predominantly categorises the division of roles and responsibilities and, as such, the actual relationships that are forged have not been addressed in the same level of detail. Consequently, acknowledging the vociferous calls for research to advance upon the studies that simply frame the roles and impacts of line managers and HR professionals, this research focuses on the relationships formed by and between line managers and HR professionals with reference to HRM delivery. The research itself is approached from an interpretivist orientation and embodies a single case research design in the context of a semi-state organisation, where the units of analysis were individual line managers (20), individual HR professionals(14), individual business-unit HR Managers (4) and individual Group HR Managers(2). By utilising social exchange theory (Blau, 1964), the extent of line manager and HR professional interaction and relationships has been illuminated, ranging from close to distant, in conjunction with identifying the tangible and intangible exchange content, the preferred face-to-face mediums of exchange and the varying degree of dependency within such relationships. Additionally, the development and impact of trust and reciprocity have been explored by adopting a social penetration (Altman & Taylor, 1973) lens to relationship tie development. Finally, a sense-making perspective (Weick, 1995) has informed how and why line managers and HR professionals form perceptions of their role and relationships and how the quality of relationships is evaluated. Specifically, the features of line manager-HR professional relationships were found to be: not homogenous in their categorisation; influenced by respective experience and competency levels; cross-functional with associated mixed authority and dependence features; geographically and perceptually distant and trusting and not reciprocal in a calculative manner. The quality of relationships was evaluated in terms of the relationships formed between the respondents, the degree of conflict between them and the receipt or absence of credible outcomes from collaborating. Turning to the impacts of such relationships, reflecting the existing literature in the field, the line manager and HR professional respondents experienced positive (requesting and receiving support and guidance, knowledge sharing and enhanced respective understanding and appreciation) and negative outcomes (competency concerns, stress, work overload and finding time to collaborate). Furthermore, the organisational impacts included: strategic integration of HRM practice, forging of close ties and realising and releasing social capital embedded in line manager-HR professional collaborations. Importantly, this research study has contributed both in terms of theory development in relation to social exchange, knowledge and understanding on line manager-HR professional relationships with reference to HRM delivery and furthermore, has achieved this within an Irish organisational context. As such, this research (and taking cognisance of the limitations of adopting single descriptively-orientated case study methodology) may provide both a useful framework and serve to identify additional opportunities for further research in the field, in conjunction to offering a variety of practical implications and recommendations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Departments or Groups: *NONE OF THESE*
Divisions: School of Business > Department of Graduate Business Studies
Depositing User: Alan Carbery
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2010 15:55
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 10:26

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