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Antecedents of front‐line managers' perceptions of HR role stressors

Caroline Gilbert (Faculty of Business and Economics, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Sophie De Winne (Department of Business Studies, Faculty of Business and Economics, Lessius University College, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)
Luc Sels (Faculty of Business and Economics, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium)

Personnel Review

ISSN: 0048-3486

Article publication date: 2 August 2011

Abstract

Purpose

Based on role theory, this paper seeks to investigate the impact of HR devolution characteristics (number of devolved HR tasks), characteristics of the HR devolution context (level of support from the HR department, and presence of institutionalised incentives to perform the allotted HR tasks well), and personal characteristics of the front‐line managers (HR competency) on front‐line managers' perceptions of two HR role stressors, i.e. HR role ambiguity and HR role overload.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper uses a sample of 169 front‐line managers from 47 organisations. The results are based on two moderation regression analyses, taking into account the nested nature of the observations.

Findings

The results suggest that the execution of a high number of HR tasks does not lead to the occurrence of HR role stressors among front‐line managers. However, for the HR department it is important to create an appropriate environment in terms of giving HR support and advice to line managers, and training line managers regarding their HR competencies.

Research limitations/implications

This research opens up interesting lines of inquiry regarding the conditions under which the partnership between the HR department and line management can be successful.

Practical implications

The paper provides HR practitioners with insights into the conditions needed to avoid perceptions of HR role stressors among front‐line managers.

Originality/value

The paper applies role theory in a new context, i.e. the HR role of front‐line managers.

Keywords

Citation

Gilbert, C., De Winne, S. and Sels, L. (2011), "Antecedents of front‐line managers' perceptions of HR role stressors", Personnel Review, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 549-569. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483481111154432

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited