CASS BUSINESS SCHOOL
Human Resource Management
"Human Resource Management advocates the devolution of people management from the Human Resource function to line management. However, research shows that this is difficult to achieve in practice (Gratton et al, 1999.) Discuss why this is the case. Indicate what can be done to ensure that line managers take responsibility for the implementation of HR policies and practices."
Human Resource Management advocates the devolution of people management from the Human Resource function to line management. However, research shows that this is difficult to achieve in practice (Gratton et al, 1999.) Discuss why this is the case. Indicate what can be done to ensure that line managers take responsibility for the implementation of HR policies and practices.
The devolution of people management from the Human Resource function to the line management is a fact that fits in with the general change of the anatomy of the Human Resource Management at organizational level (Morley J. M, Gunnigle P. and O'Sullivan M. (2006)). Nowadays employers follow a more employee-centric strategy in order to meet with the increasing demand on good quality products or services in an environment characterized by Government deregulation in most of the industries and strong competition. According to Morley J. M, Gunnigle P. and O'Sullivan M. (2006) as organizations move to "leaner" and "flatter" organization structures, it is clear that the founding of a fixed personnel/HR function is no longer a seemingly inevitable consequence of increases in organization scale. Furthermore, while examining the option to manage an organization without using formal HR function there can be found two ways to carry on the principals of human resource, firstly with internal devolution (line managers, middle managers) and secondly with external devolution by assigning Human resource role to external contractors. This report will mostly cover the first pathway. First of all, we will define what "the devolution of people management from the Human Resource function to line management" implies and address the questions "why there is a need for devolution from Human Resource function to line management?". Secondly, we shell mention the problems of such a devolution and the reasons that underpin them. And finally, the attempt to find solutions to the aforesaid problems will be made. In that way we shell try to answer the question "what can be done to ensure that line managers take responsibility for the implementation of HR policies and practices".
Devolution, causes and benefits.
Devolution of HRM occurs where organizations pass the responsibility for HRM activities from HRM specialists to line managers (Brewster and Larsen (2000); Hutchinson and Wood (1995)). Non-specialist line managers become responsible for HRM activities, rather than the function be passed to other HRM specialists but located at lower levels of the organization (Hall and Torrington, 1998). A common theme in the HRM literature is that "operational" or "transactional" HRM activities are devolved to line managers, while HRM strategic decisions remain with the HRM specialist(s) often in partnership with senior management (Ulrich, 1998). The human resource responsibilities that line management has to deal with include recruitment, appraisal, pay, health and safety, training and development and discipline. Line managers' task is to apply the human resource principals to their area of work whereas the human resource specialists' concern is to effectively apply the HRM principals and procedures across the organization. According to Gennard and Kelly (1997) both Human Resource Management and line management can benefit from a mutual extensive participation on the HR sector as they between HR and line managers can create mutual benefit for both as they both contribute to solve business problems. Because of the devolution...
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