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Article

Melissa Intindola, Judith Y. Weisinger, Philip Benson and Thomas Pittz

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of a multi-level approach consisting of individual, human resource management (HRM) team, and organizational…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to highlight the importance of a multi-level approach consisting of individual, human resource management (HRM) team, and organizational contingency factors when considering the efficacy of HR devolvement efforts. The authors accomplish this through a review of the relevant devolvement literature to show how outcomes are impacted by contingency factors, which highlights a gap in extant scholarship, and the authors organize the literature in a way that is meaningful to future researchers interested in the topic as well as practitioners involved with its implementation.

Design/methodology/approach

The authors use a narrative review approach to describe previous devolvement research (e.g. Hammersley, 2001; Harvey and Moeller, 2009). In contrast to a systematic review more commonly seen in quantitative meta-analyses, a narrative review allows for a more descriptive and detailed analysis and critique of quantitative, qualitative, and theoretical research (Bezrukova et al., 2012; Posthuma et al., 2002). This methodology produced over 300 books, journal articles, magazine articles, and discussion papers. In this review, the authors chose to focus only on those peer-reviewed papers reporting empirical findings or developing theoretical arguments surrounding devolvement.

Findings

While the studies reviewed herein are admirable and help call attention to an important topic in HRM, they nonetheless fail to provide a comprehensive understanding of contingencies affecting devolvement as they do not consider the multi-level nature of the phenomenon. Therefore, the authors’ contribution lies in the identification and categorization of contingency factors affecting the occurrence of devolvement operating at the individual, HRM team, and organizational levels.

Originality/value

As devolvement continues to be a viable means for assigning HR responsibilities from the human resources department to managers, its effects can have an impact on organizational performance, the strategic positioning of HR, and various job attitudes of line managers. Therefore, a clearer picture of devolvement in order to understand its continued significance is an important contribution.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 46 no. 8
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article

Feza Tabassum Azmi

Devolution of human resource management to the line managers is an area that has received ample research attention, yet it remains a relatively unexplored area in the…

Abstract

Purpose

Devolution of human resource management to the line managers is an area that has received ample research attention, yet it remains a relatively unexplored area in the Indian context. Some researchers have examined the nature of devolution in India, but there is still a dearth of studies that establish the devolution‐organizational performance link. Thus, this paper study is carried out to explore the above link in the Indian context.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper is based on primary data obtained through a structured research instrument from senior human resource executives of top ranking companies in India. Scale unidimensionality, reliability, and validity were assessed.

Findings

The structural equation modeling capabilities of LISREL 8.50 are employed to assess the relationship between devolution and organizational performance. It is found that the structural model fits the data well. The model shows that devolution has a significant direct and positive impact on organizational performance.

Research limitations/implications

The research instrument developed for the above study has been tested in the Indian context only. It needs to be tested and cross‐validated on other samples indifferent settings, cultures, and countries to further test its unidimensionality, reliability, and validity.

Practical implications

The paper has implications for both academicians and practitioners because it explores a largely untouched upon area in the Indian context.

Originality/value

The paper is unique in the sense that it develops a reliable and valid instrument for measuring devolution and then explores the devolution‐performance link.

Details

International Journal of Commerce and Management, vol. 20 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1056-9219

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Book part

Ulf Papenfuß, Iris Saliterer and Nora Albrecht

This chapter investigates financial resilience of German local governments. The local governments included in this analysis challenged the applicability of the financial…

Abstract

This chapter investigates financial resilience of German local governments. The local governments included in this analysis challenged the applicability of the financial resilience concept by reporting no significant direct impact of the financial crisis during the last 10 years. This is also in line with more general observations suggesting that Germany weathered the financial crisis successfully and without the dramatic effects on its local governments that are observable in other countries. During semi-structured interviews with key administrative decision-makers, it turned out that the financial crisis impacted the local governments’ commercial tax revenues only in its aftermath, and respondents rather highlighted the refugee crisis in 2015 and sudden changes in the tax base caused by relocation, bankruptcy or economic turmoil as financial shocks. More general trends, for example, upper governmental levels devolving more service and administrative responsibility without sufficient compensation, and in particular long-term issues, that is, high debt levels magnifying effects of financial shocks, seem to challenge German local governments. Some cases included in this investigation seem reluctant to make conflict-laden, but necessary changes, and feel exposed to policies and regulations by upper governmental levels. This creates uncertainty and at times leaves them in a sense of helplessness and infeasibility of proper planning. However, the need for investing resources to build up internal capacities has already been pointed out. From a financial resilience perspective, this seems even more important in a context where relying on buffering was feasible, but might prove insufficient once other internal capacities are required to tackle local governments’ financial vulnerabilities.

Details

Governmental Financial Resilience
Type: Book
ISBN: 978-1-78714-262-6

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Article

This section on the broad issues of human resource management includes: a look at the problems facing joint ventures in Russia, which offers the advice: “put the locals in…

Abstract

This section on the broad issues of human resource management includes: a look at the problems facing joint ventures in Russia, which offers the advice: “put the locals in charge”; an examination of the increasing use of performance measurement in public sector management; and the results of a worldwide survey into issues facing human resource managers in the 1990s.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 14 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article

Jacob Hoogendoorn and Chris Brewster

Responsibility for human resource management is being spread aroundorganizations in two ways: by decentralization, the allocation ofpersonnel tasks formerly undertaken…

Abstract

Responsibility for human resource management is being spread around organizations in two ways: by decentralization, the allocation of personnel tasks formerly undertaken centrally to more local parts of the organization; and by devolution, the allocation of rules formerly undertaken by personnel specialists to line managers. Evidence from The Netherlands indicates that both processes are working there but with a considerable degree of doubt as to whether line managers can handle devolved personnel tasks. Comparative data from across Europe show that The Netherlands is in the top half of countries devolving these functions. Such decentralization and devolvement may mean a new role for personnel specialists.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 21 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article

Noreen Heraty and Michael Morley

Focuses on the line manager as a key stakeholder in the humanresource development process. Considers the general trend towardsdevolvement of human resource activities to…

Abstract

Focuses on the line manager as a key stakeholder in the human resource development process. Considers the general trend towards devolvement of human resource activities to line specialists. Examines issues involved in devolving training and development to the line, with specific emphasis on the potential difficulties. Recent empirical evidence is represented. Concludes that the shape of things to come, at least for the foreseeable future, will be a sharing of responsibilities between the specialist and the line.

Details

Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 19 no. 10
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0309-0590

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Article

Tamer K. Darwish, Abdul Fattaah Mohamed, Geoffrey Wood, Satwinder Singh and Jocelyne Fleming

The resource curse literature suggests that firms operating in non-oil and non-gas industries in petrostates face considerable challenges in securing competitiveness and…

Abstract

Purpose

The resource curse literature suggests that firms operating in non-oil and non-gas industries in petrostates face considerable challenges in securing competitiveness and sustaining themselves. Based on a firm-level survey within a micro-petrostate, Brunei, the purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between specific HR policies and practices and organisational performance; analyse, compare, and contrast oil and gas with non-oil and non-gas sectors; and draw out the comparative lessons for understanding the potential and performance consequences of HR interventions in resource-centred national economies.

Design/methodology/approach

Data for this study were generated from a primary survey administered amongst the HR directors in companies operating in all sectors in Brunei. A statistically representative sample size of 214 was selected.

Findings

The authors confirmed that firms in the oil and gas sector indeed performed better than other sectors. However, the authors found that the negative effects associated with operating outside of oil and gas could be mitigated through strategic choices: the strategic involvement of HR directors in the affairs of the company reduced employee turnover and added positively to financial returns across sectors.

Practical implications

Developing and enhancing the role of people management is still very much easier than bringing about structural institutional reforms: the study confirms that at least part of the solution to contextual difficulties lies within, and that the firm-level consequences of the resource curse can be ameliorated through a strategic choice.

Originality/value

The nature of the present investigation is one of few studies conducted in South East Asia in general and in the context of Brunei, in particular. It also contributes to the authors’ understanding whether HR interventions can ameliorate the challenges of operating in a non-resource sector in a resource-rich country.

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Article

Tamer Khalil Darwish and Satwinder Singh

The purpose of this paper is to test empirically the relationship between the strategic involvement and the devolvement of human resource functions with organisational performance.

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to test empirically the relationship between the strategic involvement and the devolvement of human resource functions with organisational performance.

Design/methodology/approach

This paper is based on the primary data collected from the population of financial firms based in Jordan. The methodology adopted for the purpose of data analysis includes the use of basic statistics, zero‐order correlations, confirmatory factor analysis and hierarchical regressions.

Findings

The results provide strong support for the hypothesis that the involvement of human resource functions into the business and corporate strategy reduces employee turnover rate and enhances financial performance. The analysis does not support the second hypothesis that empowering day‐to‐day human resource functions to line managers impacts negatively on employee turnover and positively on financial performance.

Practical implications

Our results imply that financial performance can be enhanced and employee turnover rate decreased by involving human resource directors in the overall strategic decision‐making process of companies. However, our results also imply that the devolvement of routine human resource issues to line managers is neither positively related to the financial performance of the companies nor negatively related to employee turnover. This raises doubts as to whether, after having involved human resource functions into the strategic affairs of the company, they are empowered enough to make a positive impact.

Originality/value

This is one of few papers conducted on this topic in a non‐western environment, and the first of its kind for the country of Jordan. This paper contributes to the field through its approach to measuring and testing strategic human resource management theory. The paper also successfully links the core aspects of strategic human resource management with objective indicators of financial performance of the companies.

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Article

Anastasios Hadjisolomou

The purpose of this paper is to revisit discussions on managerial work, seeking to re-examine the front-line service manager’s position within the service triangle, and…

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to revisit discussions on managerial work, seeking to re-examine the front-line service manager’s position within the service triangle, and bring forward questions of agency that remain under-developed by scholars. Challenging the assumed unitarist and “consensus” standing point in organizations it recognizes that front-line managers, similarly to their subordinates, resist corporate demands and unveils stories of “battles” and disengagement towards their role, providing a rich empirical agenda regarding managerial misbehaviour. In order to explore front-line managers’ agency issues, the paper adopts the framework of the dimensions of misbehaviour, as developed by Ackroyd and Thompson (1999), to capture and to better describe and understand the recalcitrant agential practices by front-line managers.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper calls on qualitative data from two case study organizations in the Cyprus food-retail sector. In total, 46 interviews took place with participants across different departments and different management levels. This aimed for a better and deeper understanding of the research problem through understanding of the different perspectives.

Findings

The evidence reveals the intensification of FLSMs’ work and their feelings of pressure. FLSMs, however, did not stay apathetic and have utilized tactics to oppose the increasing workload and the expansion of their role. The paper classifies these tactics using the four dimensions of misbehaviour (Ackroyd and Thompson, 1999), namely, appropriation of time; work, product and identity. It shows that FLSMs not only resist corporate demands, like their subordinates, but also devised practices which are similar to workers. The data also reveal a variety in actions of misbehaviour between FLSMs depending on the level of customer interaction and their mobility on the shop floor.

Research limitations/implications

Students of managerial work overlooked the political realities of management and the contested nature of (front-line service) management work. As this study has shown FLSMs across the shop floor strongly identify more with “front-line employees” than senior management, protecting their own interests within the employment relationship via oppositional actions and disengagement. FLSM is, of course, in an agency relationship with capital; however, this neglects the heterogeneity in interests at different levels of management. This paper shifts the focus of management research away from the traditional agency argument and discusses FLSMs as “misbehaving agents”. It challenges the assumed unitarist and “consensus” standing point for FLSMs in organizations and calls HRM scholars to embrace a pluralist analysis in line management research.

Practical implications

This research shows that FLSMs misbehave as an expression of discontent towards the expansion and intensification of their role. Yet, the data reveal variation in the organization of FLSMs’ work across the shop floor and consequently variation in their actions of misbehaviour. This suggests that it is erroneous to presume a similar labour process for these managers and/or over-generalize their battling actions. HR practitioners will need to re-examine the roles of FLSMs in organizations, recognize the variety of interests within management, step away from rhetoric discourses of unproblematic devolvement of HR and managerial tasks to the front-line and appropriately review, redesign and re-organize front-line managerial work.

Social implications

Although research has fruitfully located the powerlessness of front-line managers as a central theme in their analysis, the complexity of the front-line management position within the social relations of interactive service work and their “logic of action” within their labour process remains a relatively marginal theme in research. Indeed, FLSMs’ position within the triangle, where managerial work is subject to degradation and trilateral conflicting dynamics and their battles within their own labour process, still remains under-explored. This study addresses this research lacuna focusing on the FLSMs’ experiences on the front-end and their actions of misbehaviour within their labour process.

Originality/value

The paper brings forward questions of agency that remain under-developed by scholars and unveils “stories of battles”. It discusses FLSMs as “misbehaving agents” a question that is only superficially addressed in resistance and managerial studies. This paper challenges the embedded HRM unitarist assumption that FLSMs are conscientiously agents of the capital and reveals evidence suggesting the plurality of interests across management. HRM scholars, especially those discussed line managers as HRM partners, have overestimated FLSMs’ identification with senior management and the strategic goals of the organization. As this study has shown FLSMs across the shop floor strongly identify with “front-line employees”, protecting their own interests within the employment relationship via oppositional actions and disengagement.

Details

Employee Relations: The International Journal, vol. 41 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article

Henrik Holt Larsen and Chris Brewster

The notion of line management accepting greater responsibility for human resource management (HRM) within employing organisations is now received wisdom. This paper…

Abstract

The notion of line management accepting greater responsibility for human resource management (HRM) within employing organisations is now received wisdom. This paper presents data on the variation in practice across Europe, noting the evidence that the HR role is increasingly assigned to line managers, and that the extent of such assignment varies from country to country. This first presentation of data from 1999/2000 updates previous work the authors have presented on this topic: the evidence shows that in terms of that assignment, countries tend to remain in the same relationship to each other.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

Keywords

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