This paper seeks to compare Ulrich's model of HR transformation/shared service organisation (the “three‐legged stool”) with the empirical evidence from the research. The aim of the paper is to describe the journey from theory to practice of HR transformation in organisations as they adopt and adapt the model.
An institutional frame of reference is used for case studies of seven Swedish organisations. The respondents in the 192 interviews are HR professionals, line managers and other stakeholders.
All seven of the organisations adopted the HR transformation as a standard blueprint. Management consultants played a leading role in this process. HR service centres were established, the local HR staffs were reduced radically, and the remaining role, the HR business partners, took on lesser importance. During the adaptation process a variety of solutions resulted, some of which were innovations.
Because of the small sample size, the generalisability of the results is somewhat limited.
The results may useful to both researchers and practitioners, whether they are involved in the study or in the re‐organisation of HR. It is not easy to imitate a theoretical model or a “best practice” model without taking the translation process into consideration.
Previous studies have not examined how HR transformation/shared service travels in different organisations using this number of interviews in in‐depth research. These results show that achieving the desirable HR organisation depends on the translation and interpretations of the concepts in the local context.
Boglind, A., Hällstén, F. and Thilander, P. (2011), "HR transformation and shared services: Adoption and adaptation in Swedish organisations", Personnel Review, Vol. 40 No. 5, pp. 570-588. https://doi.org/10.1108/00483481111154441
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