New organisational forms: Devolvement of responsibilities and its impact on the firm. A comparative analysis of Austria, Germany and Sweden at the example of the human resource function

Project Details


It is widely assumed that pressures such as globalisation, technological change and shortening of product cycles lead to radical innovations and new organisational forms. Although there are differences between the new organisational forms, they offer several new innovative ideas. Among these are the outsourcing of low-value activities, the provision of front-line managers with full autonomy and the development of more flexible, project-based forms of organisation. It is anticipated that these changes will lead to growing demands on interpersonal, intellectual, psychological, social and technical employee skills. Currently not only the extent of these changes, but also the abilities of organisations to cope with them are subject to discussion. The project focuses on the devolvement of responsibilities from central units to line management linked with these new organisational forms. Because of the importance of the human resource function we focus on this area. There are four major research objectives. Firstly, to analyse the extent of change towards new organisational arrangements, i.e. the devolvement of responsibilities from central human resource specialists to line management over time and between countries. Secondly, to study how the shift of human resource responsibility to line managers works in practice. Thirdly, to examine the impact of such a devolvement on the firm, employees and managers. Fourthly, to describe and explain differences between the countries studied in the extent to which new organisational forms have been adopted and in the way in which they have been implemented. For the research a survey data as well as case study data will be used. The survey data will be mainly based on information from a major survey about human resource management in Europe done by the Cranfield Network on European Human Resource Management (Cranet-E).

Financing body

Oesterreichische Nationalbank (Jubiläumsfonds)
Effective start/end date1/10/9930/09/02

Collaborative partners

Austrian Classification of Fields of Science and Technology (OEFOS)

  • 502026 Human resource management
  • 502044 Business management
  • 504007 Empirical social research