Examines the role of 28 personnel directors on the boards of private business and public sector organizations and offers an analysis of their influence and the factors explaining that influence. First, personnel directors adopted a business orientation directly involving them in business strategy, although this was more emergent than formally planned. Second, successful personnel directors required professional competence in HR proactively contributing to solving business problems. Third, excellent social skills in developing effective interpersonal relations with other board directors was important. A fourth factor was the management style of the MD/CEO including recognition that personnel could make a significant contribution to business goals. Where the MD held a strong people orientation, personnel was likely to have influence, whereas if the MD’s priorities lay elsewhere then the role was tougher, but not impossible.
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