Beyond the line: exploring the HRM responsibilities of line managers and the HRM department in four project-oriented companies in the Netherlands, the UK and Austria

Ann Keegan, Martina Huemann, Rodney Turner

Publication: Scientific journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The topic of what HRM (Human Resource Management) responsibilities are devolved from the HRM department to line managers has attracted much interest in recent years. We report findings from a study on the devolution of HRM practices in four POCs (Project-Oriented Companies) and argue that although HRM practices are carried out beyond the HRM department, they are also carried out beyond the line. While the literature on devolving HRM responsibilities to line management is burgeoning, the HRM responsibilities of managers beyond the line organization are neglected. We make two contributions to the literature. Firstly, our study reveals that some HRM practices are the domain of the project manager rather than either the line manager or the HRM department. The complex interplay of the roles of the HRM department, line management and project management creates challenges and pitfalls where people are managed across the boundaries of the permanent and temporary organization. We identify a potentially powerful role for the HRM department in both monitoring and guiding the different players from the line and project organizations, and in protecting the well-being of employees whose work traverses these organizational boundaries. Our second contribution is that we map the diversity of practices in different POCs for managing the interplay between the three main parties delivering HRM practices and offer project-orientation as a contextual indicator that contributes to diversity in HRM practices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3085 - 3104
JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
Volume23
Issue number15
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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