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Line Managers are being delegated Human Resource responsibilities.

How
can organisations ensure that these activities ((specifically either recruitment
and selection or disciplinary procedures) are carried out appropriately?
Lots of academic literature has suggested line manager as an important person to encourage
employee learning and development. In recent years, a debate regarding HR and line manager
has got great attention (Ellinger & et al). s al!ays, still the HR literature remains largely
theoretical and rhetorical in inspiring line manager to hold HR accountabilities. "ut the reality
that !e shouldn#t forget is that this all are e$ception but not practice, as assigning HR
responsibility to line manager involves various ha%ards and difficulties. &hat should be
properly analyse and considered before ma'ing any steps. Instead of the reality that lots of
!riters has pointed their finger on changing line manager role to support HR department the
actual e$perimental data that sho! its implementation al!ays lac'. &o analyse the role of line
manager on HR department some (uestion li'e) !hy line manager should be empo!er !ith
HR responsibilities* +hat advantage !ill they have for assessing HR tas's* &hese (uestions
should be considered.
ntroduction
line manager heads all revenue generating departments including selling and
manufacturing and is also responsible for achieving the organi%ation#s goal by accomplishing
functions such as target setting, decision ma'ing and ma'ing policy to shape the !or' !ithin
certain criteria. In this sense line manager directly contribute to any form of output either
products or services.
,ormally, in an organi%ation hierarchy, a line manager holds authority in a vertical line (chain
of command), and over a specific product line. &hey are charged !ith meeting organi%ational
goal in a particular functional area or line of business. If !e ta'e an e$ample of an automobile
company, then one type of line management might be the light truc' division. -o a line
manager is a very critical part of an organisation because he plays a critical role in specifying
tas' and .ob re(uirements and allocating individual .ob roles for those in their
immediate team.
Human resources are an organi%ational function that deals !ith the people and issues related
to the people such as performance management, compensation, hiring, and training. Human
resource management is the function of separate department of any organisation that deals
!ith issue of recruitment, management, and leading to!ards the proper direction for the
!or'force !ithin the organi%ation. "eside this, their main areas of concern are hiring,
performance management, compensation, organisation development, and training, safety,
motivating employee, communication, administration and benefits. /&he HR function is
increasingly seen as one of the 'ey functions in the development and implementation of
strategic responses to increasing competitive pressure, as both public and private
organisations is forced to adapt to respond to domestic and international competition, slo!er
gro!th and declining mar'ets.0 ("uyens and 1e 2os, 3445)
!hanging environment
&here is no doubt that the commercialisation has directed to!ards improved customer6service
and (uality performance. nalysing to these, efforts has been made for vital reassessment of
the part of line managers. 7roviding responsibility of HR activities to line managers, both
public as !ell as private sectors believe tighter bond bet!een line managers and employees
!ith prompter decision6ma'ing and effective solution of any difficulties on !or'place.
partnership model that involves HR e$perts and line managers is gradually becoming
common. Ho!ever, line managers should be provided !ith support to enable them to handle
their ne! HR responsibilities effectively.
+ith the increasing demands for effectiveness, accountability and money value have led
to!ards the reconsideration of ho! organisations are resourced and operated, both private and
public organi%ation. &raditional bureaucratic approaches are no longer suitable to deal !ith
the increasing complication of the I& and the demands for !ell6organi%ed, effective and
prompt services. +ith changes in emphasis, organisations are becoming more and more
careful and increasingly e$amining its internal format and s!otting the roles and
responsibilities of employees as !ell as managers !ith aim of delivering the high (uality
service to its related parties.
1ue to increasing competitive environment organi%ation are enforced to change their HR
strategic and obligated to reconsider the role of line managers in HR practise. &his mind6set
change responds to 8uest#s (59:;) avocation to HR departments that, /If HR< is to be ta'en
seriously, personnel managers must give it a!ay.0 "ut the concepts of shifting HR
responsibility to Line manager emerged !ith "re!ster and Larsen (5993)defining this concept
as /the degree to !hich HR< practices involve and give responsibility to line managers rather
than personnel specialists.0 Engaging Line management to HR issues provides them an
opportunity to involve !ith people management decision6ma'ing, on the same time HR
specialists can !or' on attaining closer orientation of an organisations structures and
procedures !ith organi%ational ob.ectives, !hile remaining sensitive to macro environmental
changes. Empo!erment of HR responsibility to line managers has been tried to achieve better
strategic combination of HR !ith organi%ational ob.ectives. -pecialist e$pertise and internal
consultant or strategic business partners !ho !or' !ith line managers to assist them to reach
their ob.ectives has faced some complications. s =ald!ell and -torey (344;) identify,
business partnering roles are comple$, ambiguous and confusing !ith business partners
sometimes coming into conflict !ith HR specialists and line managers leading to fragmented
HR provision.
Line managers HR involvement
>n the above part of essay discuss about the role of HR department and Line manager in an
organi%ation and vie! of different personalities regarding empo!erment of HR responsibility
to line manager. 8oing through all this process it is very essential to 'no! that can a line
manager could handle those responsibilities in this competitive environment. s the !ay of
!or' process 'eeps on changing !ith the invention of technology, does it affect HR and can
line manager is capable to cope this. &here is no doubt that the role of line manager is being
changing significantly in recent years. In this conte$t, Hoogenboorn and "re!ster (5993)
posits that line managers are no! being allocated ne! responsibilities and held accountable
not only for budgeting and allocating of resources but most importantly for people
management issue. "re!ster and Larsen (3444) have given some reason for increasing debate
of assigning HR responsibility to Line <anager in recent years.
5. "ecause of trends of managing organi%ations through development of cost6centre or
profit6centre6based approaches.
3. It is line managers, not the HR specialist, !ho are in fre(uent contact !ith employees
? allocating tas's, entrusting them, monitoring performance, and line managers are
responsible for the performance of their subordinates.
@. &here is a gro!ing influence of service industries !ith ma.or focus of being
responsiveness to customer.
A. 1ecisions of staffing are increasingly made in real time, and there has been a 'ind of
common movement to reduce the number of department li'e HR.
-torey (5993) has admitted that involvement of line manager in HR has challenges the
distinction bet!een line and staffs function !ithin organi%ation. If the line managers are
allocated !ith some HR responsibilities he is responsible to participating in the design of
training activities, HR budgeting, providing HR1 activities as a trainer, ma'ing !or'ing
environment, coaching and mentoring initiatives. (+alton 5999) +atson and <a$!ell 344;)
<ore critically, the role of line manager as HR staff can have lots of loop hole. &here is
al!ays a big (uestion mar' that could a line manager can successfully handle HR
responsibilities li'e recruitment, selection or any 'ind of disciplinary procedures. s 'no!n
Line manager#s ma.or role is to create and stimulate the appropriate !or'ing environment that
should support learning all the time. In this sense line manager is more li'ely responsible to
manage staff rather that recruiting, he should focus on coaching staff and helping them to
develop s'ills but not to selecting ne! staff line. Researches have sho!n that usually line
managers lac' 'no!ledge of HR management as it demand complete technical 'no!ledge.
>ne should have capability to understand psychology of people in order to decide !hether he
could do the .ob or not. +ith additional responsibilities !or'load of managers !ill increase
and they may be unable to pay enough effort on development of employee. HR responsibility
doesn#t include line manager#s performance ob.ectives. -o it can be hard for line manager to
play t!o opposite roles of coach and assessor. Limited involvement and s'ill of line managers
to handle HR responsibility can present ma.or barrier to development of organi%ation. "oth
+hitta'er and <archington (344@) suggest that line manager#s limited s'ills and competence
in HR practices and insufficient training !ill undoubtedly affect overall performance of line
manager. <c8overn and +allace (3444) support this argument, they are also convinced that
incapability and misunderstanding of HR practices on the part of line managers prevent any
organi%ation from strong learning culture) lac' of training can lead to inconsistencies in
implementing organi%ational HR policies potentially e$posing the organi%ation to la!suits
and employment tribunals. &o support this argument e$ample of organi%ation !here I !or'
can be best. "ecause it is a medium organi%ation it is line manager !ho holds all HR
responsibilities. "ut as a HR staff he is not successful as the staff termination rate is so high.
nyone can see that he lac' the HR 'no!ledge so that he is unable to manage his staff
properly.
"ut, it should be accepted that line manager involvement in HR !ill lead to!ards
transformation and development of managers themselves !hich !ill ma'e them more
competent in staff management. It !ill contribute positively to broader organi%ational change.
Line managers are only the person !ho can help to improve the (uality of HR as they can
close the gap bet!een individual and organi%ational performance. s line mangers are very
closer to the daily operation and customer they have good 'no!ledge regarding organisational
facts and needs. &hat is very helpful to ma'e meaningful HR strategy. +hen !e tal'ing about
allocating HR responsibilities to line manager that doesn#t mean that traditional HR
department#s function should be disappeared or abolished. It is only about ma'ing managers
active on HR department not about ta'eover of the .ob from HR specialist. &his !ill be
beneficial for HR specialist as !ell. &hey can pull themselves out of regular administrative
.ob and can be more creatively and efficiently focus on strategy development and change
management issue. In this conte$t, <c=rac'en, <. and +allace, suggest that HR specialists
should be able to offer regular support to line managers helping them to analysing
performance problems, assess learning needs, develop individual learning plans and develop
their o!n coaching s'ills. Hales (344B) conform that involvement of line manager in HR have
t!o very important achievements. Cirstly, the spread of HR< and acceptance of participative
management that is highly alarmed !ith ac(uiring better performance through commitment
but not control. It led line manager to!ards ta'ing the role of /coach0 or /leader0 of !ell6
motivated !or' team. -econdly, he suggests that it has led to line managers procuring middle
management functions and becoming /mini68eneral <anager.0
In short, devolving HR responsibilities to line manager can offer numbers of benefits to an
organi%ation. It provides liberty to HR specialists to get involve on strategic issue !hich can
be real valuable. Relation bet!een HR specialists and line manager !ill be closer that
encourages a partnership model for managing !or'force. Line manager involvement in HR
!ill also clarify the HR concept and appreciate line managers for the successful solution apart
from comple$ities of dealing !ith employee concern. &his !ill result self6encouragement to
line managers for using their resources and getting more involvement in everyday !or'place
management decision. =onse(uently, any issues or problems that rise can be addressed
promptly before they become !orse. case study of line manager involvement in HR in the
,H- by =urrie and 7roctor (3445) found that line managers are important contributors to
strategic change !hen provided !ith discretion in implementing HR strategies !ithin their
o!n !or' groups.
&he table belo! can sho! the potential pros and cons of involvement of Line manager on HR
issue.
Cavour
gainst
5. Increase local management responsibility.
3. Line managers !ill be more responsible for employee#s issue.
@. 7otentiality of cost saving.
A. 7olicies and their practices to suit local conditions.
B. =ommunication line !ill be shorter.
D. 1ecision ma'ing speed !ill be increased significantly.
;. +hole organi%ation !ill be a!are of human management issue.
:. Lac' of time to accomplish the tas'.
9. Line manager#s !or'load !ill be increased.
54. Lac' of evenness in decision ma'ing.
55. dditional training cost to train manager.
53. Increase in criticisms.
5@. =onfusion about the responsibilities of line manager. &raditional definition of line
mangers need to be updated.
-ourcesE industrial relation services, 599:
&here is al!ays argument for empo!ering HR responsibilities to line managers. ,o one has
come !ith a solid conclusion !eather it is beneficial or harmful. &he critical issue is
separation of responsibilities bet!een HR specialist and Line managers. &he movement is
to!ards the delegation of responsibilities to line managers particularly in areas li'e
recruitment and selection, evaluation, and to sometimes over training and disciplinary matters.
&he basis for decentralising tas's of human resources management to line managers is very
clear. =onsidering HR responsibilities as part of line manager#s .ob, delegation those
authorities permits larger possession of those decisions and allo!s them to shape it to local
situations.
!onclusion
Handling complete HR responsibilities to line managers can be problematic as line managers
really don#t have HR s'ills and 'no!ledge that is enough to handle the situation properly.
Increasing !or'load may affect their everyday activities or regular .ob. &o prevent this
problem !hile ma'ing line manager more responsible for HR, area of responsibilities should
be clearly stated. 7recaution should be al!ays ta'en to eliminate possible conflict. In this
regards, HR specialist need to support line manager !ith every decision he made.
Responsibilities of line manager are al!ays increasing. It is seen that line mangers# functions
usually cross to other functions is vital to the success of organi%ation. =onsidering this ris'
management and HR management are being increasingly being assigned to line mangers.
>verall picture is that in each part of globe there are al!ays noticeably more corporates
increasing line management responsibility than compressing it. &he evidence sho!s that
recruitment and selection, safety and hiring and firing of employees are more li'ely to have
been allocated to the line manager, !hile corporate relations and training are more li'ely to
stay !ith the HR function. Last but not the least, considerable investment is therefore need to
train line manager before assigning them responsibilities so that they could gather confident to
handle ne! responsibilities as a HR agent. 2ery important thing to 'eep in mind is,
/e$perience in FG suggests that HR management may be reluctant to abandon the familiarity
of their traditional roles. 1evolution can also foster tensions !ith line managers and !ith the
central personnel department.0(=ollins =, 599A).
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