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Module: BSM534: Human Resource Management

HUMAN RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

ESSAY

Module: BSM534: Human Resource Management Module Co-Ordinator: Dave MacKintosh Due Date: 05.03.2012 Words: 1354 Student number: 1115556
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Module: BSM534: Human Resource Management

Introduction There is a strong relationship between line managers and human resource managers. The role of managing people is usually given to line managers according to Human Resource Management (HRM). Line managers have more responsibilities in guaranteeing human resource (HR) policies and strategic aims. However, HRM has the responsibility for creating the rules and strategies that show how HR activities are established and applied in methods to make the staff more productive and reliable. These strategies are used by line managers and employees in their everyday work. (Armstrong 2009) Strategic focus HR managers are involved in a wide variety of tasks and it is difficult to predict the exact nature of their job. However, a considerable part of their work can be devoted to line managers, who are well skilled in HRM. Their job can consist of establishing policies, standards and procedures, to integrate them into companys objectives and to provide and organise training and development. HR practitioners can also be involved in company programs, such as involvement, communication and consultation. Another important part of a HR managers job is that he should maintain records of people, and provide recommendations and expertise for the other managers. In some organisations the HRM department could execute all the activities stated above, while in other organisations many of these functions are delegated to other managers. It depends on the companys management style if it will use HR staff with good knowledge and style or if the functions will be divided between line managers. (Foot and Hook 2011) Devolution Line managers responsibilities include active implementation of operational HR tasks, such as selection and recruitment, training, performance appraisal, rewarding and firing. This redistribution of tasks from HR manager to line manager is known as HR devolution. Also, a line manager with a HR role has an organisational joining position and therefore has a position in the centre between HR management and personnel. Because line managers are not HR specialists, the support from HR professionals seems to be important for efficient HRM implementation. Thus an additional level of support is needed. Line managers cannot be left to their own device. The HR department needs to know the long-term objectives of the firm and the short-terms goals of the line managers. This will help the HR department to bring business strategy and HRM to line managers. In addition, topic of main importance for line managers is to have HR training in order to get the needed capabilities. Another important point in assessing the relationship between line managers and human resource managers is the HR task. It is argued that some tasks are more welcomed and easier to understand and implement by line managers, than others. This increases the HR role in situations when more strategic issues must be executed. (Caroline, De Winne and Sels 2011)

Module: BSM534: Human Resource Management

HR practices There are a lot of policies and practices that are part of HR but which are the main responsibility to line managers. As it is pointed out by Boxal and Purcell (2003) high levels of organizational performance are not only accomplished by having well developed HR policies and practices. These practices must be implemented reasonably. In this aspect the role of line managers in people management is essential. Also, dealing with people is one of the most significant roles of line managers. After all, it should be said that line managers bring HR policies and implement them into reality. Line managers work quality is explained by Hutchinson and Purcell (2003). The main points are that line managers need time to realise their management duties, they must be selected carefully and to encourage the development of a good working relationship with their senior managers. (Armstrong 2009) The basic role of HR managers is to provide services to internal customers, such as line managers, team leaders and employees. These services may be just general or may cover all areas of HRM. The aims are to offer efficient services that fit the needs of business, its management and employees. (Armstrong 2009) Recent years the trend has been to give more authority to line managers to make decisions with pay increase. The amount of authority may vary widely. The main reason is that line managers are close to individual employees and are in the best position to distinguish how they should be valued. However, there are problems of giving more authority to line managers. For example, decisions could be made in a subjective and unfair manner. As a result, giving unlimited freedom to line managers is considered a mistake. (Armstrong 2009) Models of HR Sanders and Frenkel (2011) consider that there are two main views in HR practices. According to the best practice perspective, it increases the motivation and skills which leads to improved work performance. The process perspective tries to ask the how question. It is a new research area and is focused on employee attitudes and performance. The essential part of this practice is the organisational performance of employees. The relationship between line managers and HR practices is shown by their execution in employee satisfaction. An example of perspective is how line managers, all of whom have different duties, communicate with each other and the consequences this brings. At senior level, the issue is related to the low status of HR directors and their unacceptable role by the heads of marketing, finance, operations and other departments. Ulrich (1997) and Ulrich and Brockbank (2005) argued that there is a close partnership between HR and line managers, mainly in terms of executive strategies and aims, trust and agreed priorities which should increase individual and organizational abilities. Partnership between HR managers and line managers leads to shared knowledge, advanced employee job satisfaction and solid team performance. After all, it is considered that the more the HR department encourages the so-called high-performance HR practices, the more valued the function is seen to be by senior managers.( Sanders and Frenkel 2011 p.1615) The existence of different kinds of managers submits that relations or social capital will be established at different structural stages. (Sanders and Frenkel 2011)

Module: BSM534: Human Resource Management

Effectiveness Although it is said that HR practices are important for company performance, their impact depends on their successful implementation by line managers. Also, the relationship between line and HR managers influences an organisations performance. However, there is no research proving that HR and line managers harmony on HR practices positively affects the company performance. Moreover, it is very likely that HR and line managers evaluation of the effectiveness of HR is different. HR managers are a basic part in firms strategy implementation. Chen, Hsu and Yip (2011) argue that HR contribution in the strategic planning process is critical to firm performance. Moreover, Harney and Jordan (2008) found that line managers play a fundamental part in the companys strategic direction and business performance. Therefore, if HR and line managers work is coordinated, it is likely that the organisation will make improvements that will raise the future firm performance. Also, HR managers can increase the line managers approval by meeting their expectations. (Huselid, Jackson and Schuler 1997) Results from a survey made by Gilbert, De Winne and Sels (2011) show that line managers can enhance employees performance by the effective enactment of HR practices and the effective relations-oriented leadership behaviour. (Gilbert, De Winne and Sels 2011 p.1618) It is usually considered that HR manager is synonymous to the HR department. (Purcell and Kinnie 2007) Conclusion In conclusion it can be said that HR managers play an essential role in organisations. To summarise, Chen, Hsu and Yip (2011) consider that an organisations performance depends on an agreement between HR and line managers. In that case an effective, consensual and collaborative relationship between HR and line managers is a critical factor in raising organisation performance. (Chen, Hsu and Yip 2011) In other words, the main reason for the better performance of an organisation is the understanding between the line manager and the HR manager. Staff performance is due to the line manager and personal qualities, but without the contribution of HR the level of performance would be decreased.

Module: BSM534: Human Resource Management

References: ARMSTRONG, M., 2009. Armstrong's handbook of human resource management practice. 11th ed. London : Kogan Page. BOXAL, P. and PURCELL, J., 2003. Strategy and Human Resource Management. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. CAROLINE, G., DE WINNE, S. and SELS, L., 2011. Antecedents of front-line managers' perceptions of HR role stressors. Personnel Review, 40(5), pp. 549-569. CHEN, Y., HSU, Y. and YIP, F., 2011. Friends or rivals: comparative perceptions of human resource and line managers on perceived future firm performance. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(8). FOOT, M. and HOOK, C., 2011. Introducing human resource management. 6th ed. Harlow: Prentice Hall. GILBERT, C., DE WINNE, S. and SELS, L., 2011. The influence of line managers and HR department on employees' affective commitment. International Journal Of Human Resource Management, 22(8), pp. 1618-1637. HARNEY, B. and JORDAN, C., 2008. Unlocking the Black Box: Line Managers and HRMPerformance in a Call Centre Context. International Journal of Productivity and Performance Management, 57, pp. 275-296. HUSELID, M., JACKSON, S. and SCHULER, R., 1997. Technical and Strategic Human Resource Management Effectiveness as Determinants of Firm Performance. Academy of Management Journal, 40, pp. 171-188. HUTCHINSON, S. and PURCELL, J., 2003. Bringing Policies to Life: The vital role of front line managers in people management. Executive Briefing Series, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. PURCELL, J. and KINNIE, N., 2007. HRM and Business Performance. The Oxford Handbook of Human Resource Management, pp.533-551. SANDERS, K. and FRENKEL, S., 2011. HR-line management relations: characteristics and effects. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 22(8), pp. 1611-1617. ULRICH, D., 1997. Human Resource Champions: The Next Agenda for Adding Value and Delivering Results. Boston: Harvard Business School Press. ULRICH, D. and BROCKBANK, W., 2005. The HR Value Proposition. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.