While HRM has stimulated studies assessing the extent of UK training, there has been little sustained research into trainer roles and influence. Using semi‐structured interviews with trainers in public and private sector organizations, considers the assumptions and tactics that trainers use to enhance their influence. Shows that, at a rudimentary level of service, attendant approaches to build credibility with line management locks training into a subservient position. Likewise, while shared threats can close some of the status gap between training and line management, alliance tactics are insufficient to improve the general status of trainers. High status training is not achieved by a progressive passage through a common sequence of mobility stages. It develops from a supportive training culture where trainers develop new ways to assess their organizational contribution on conventional performance criteria and from charismatic trainers innovating training knowledge. Continually reinventing their contribution, however, means that high status remains conditional.
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