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Developments in the Management of Human Resources

Developments in the Management of Human Resources Management Research News Volume 11 No. 1/2 27 dustrial relations practices and procedures. It thus at­ tends to the management of structural and cultural change. In particular, given that the success of many of these initiatives depends critically upon line managers (at all levels), this research gives particular attention t o them - in place of the more usual focus upon personnel spe­ cialists. Key issues being addressed include the precise ways in which line managers' roles are changing; the kinds of training and development being offered to equip line managers to handle their enlarged roles; the implica­ tions being drawn for recruitment and selection of these operational managers; and the implications for the rela­ tionship between operational managers and the special­ ist personnel function. The focus on line and general management therefore allows attention to be given to both the implications for their roles as a result of the new approaches, and also the extent to which general mana­ gers are themselves originating and driving these kind of changes. A central feature of this project is the attention being paid to practical issues in the management of strategic change and its implementation. Accordingly, the re­ search methods are geared to the contextualisation of practices. Fifteen major case-studies comprise the core of the approach. Semi-structured interviews, primarily with operational managers at all levels, constitute the main part of the study. The fieldwork commenced in the Spring of 1986 and to date 350 interviews have been con­ ducted in all parts of the United Kingdom. The cases include public and private sector organisa­ tions in manufacturing and services, they have varied pro­ ducts and technologies. But they are alike in that they are all large, unionised, organisations with considerable "histories", yet currently active in the experimentation with new initiatives. John Storey is a Principal Research Fellow in the Indus­ Developments in the Management of trial Relations Research Unit at the University of Warwick, Human Resources Coventry CV4 7AL. John Storey In response to a number of marked environmental changes - most especially, increased competition - many organisations are in the process of undertaking signifi­ cant initiatives which they hope will lead to improved via­ bility and effectiveness. Integral to many of these changes are adjustments to the practices of people man­ agement. While most of the separate elements in such initiatives are not entirely new there does seem to have been at least two relatively novel aspects. First, a higher profile at sen­ ior (Chief Executive) level t o the idea that "people are the ke y and second, a greater awareness of the possibility of co-ordinating different elements of people manage­ ment so as to constitute a more coherent, integrated ap­ proach. This may even be taken a step further so that the nascent people management strategy integrates more cogently with the wider business strategy. Most of the attention, to date, on human resources management has been directed at a very limited number of "special cases" (such as IBM and organisations occu­ pying greenfield sites). This project, however, seeks to examine the absorption process of "human resource" in­ itiatives into organisations which have well-developed in­ http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Management Research News Emerald Publishing

Developments in the Management of Human Resources

Management Research News , Volume 11 (1/2): 1 – Jan 1, 1988

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Publisher
Emerald Publishing
Copyright
Copyright © Emerald Group Publishing Limited
ISSN
0140-9174
DOI
10.1108/eb027943
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Management Research News Volume 11 No. 1/2 27 dustrial relations practices and procedures. It thus at­ tends to the management of structural and cultural change. In particular, given that the success of many of these initiatives depends critically upon line managers (at all levels), this research gives particular attention t o them - in place of the more usual focus upon personnel spe­ cialists. Key issues being addressed include the precise ways in which line managers' roles are changing; the kinds of training and development being offered to equip line managers to handle their enlarged roles; the implica­ tions being drawn for recruitment and selection of these operational managers; and the implications for the rela­ tionship between operational managers and the special­ ist personnel function. The focus on line and general management therefore allows attention to be given to both the implications for their roles as a result of the new approaches, and also the extent to which general mana­ gers are themselves originating and driving these kind of changes. A central feature of this project is the attention being paid to practical issues in the management of strategic change and its implementation. Accordingly, the re­ search methods are geared to the contextualisation of practices. Fifteen major case-studies comprise the core of the approach. Semi-structured interviews, primarily with operational managers at all levels, constitute the main part of the study. The fieldwork commenced in the Spring of 1986 and to date 350 interviews have been con­ ducted in all parts of the United Kingdom. The cases include public and private sector organisa­ tions in manufacturing and services, they have varied pro­ ducts and technologies. But they are alike in that they are all large, unionised, organisations with considerable "histories", yet currently active in the experimentation with new initiatives. John Storey is a Principal Research Fellow in the Indus­ Developments in the Management of trial Relations Research Unit at the University of Warwick, Human Resources Coventry CV4 7AL. John Storey In response to a number of marked environmental changes - most especially, increased competition - many organisations are in the process of undertaking signifi­ cant initiatives which they hope will lead to improved via­ bility and effectiveness. Integral to many of these changes are adjustments to the practices of people man­ agement. While most of the separate elements in such initiatives are not entirely new there does seem to have been at least two relatively novel aspects. First, a higher profile at sen­ ior (Chief Executive) level t o the idea that "people are the ke y and second, a greater awareness of the possibility of co-ordinating different elements of people manage­ ment so as to constitute a more coherent, integrated ap­ proach. This may even be taken a step further so that the nascent people management strategy integrates more cogently with the wider business strategy. Most of the attention, to date, on human resources management has been directed at a very limited number of "special cases" (such as IBM and organisations occu­ pying greenfield sites). This project, however, seeks to examine the absorption process of "human resource" in­ itiatives into organisations which have well-developed in­

Journal

Management Research NewsEmerald Publishing

Published: Jan 1, 1988

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