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Me, us and them? From bipartite to tripartite devolved HRM in professional service contexts: evidence from hospitals in three countries

McDermott, Aoife Mary, Fitzgerald, Louise, van Gestel, Nicolette and Keating, Mary A. 2015. Me, us and them? From bipartite to tripartite devolved HRM in professional service contexts: evidence from hospitals in three countries. Human Resource Management 54 (5) , pp. 813-831. 10.1002/hrm.21728

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Abstract

This article explores the devolution of HRM in a hospital context. Based on secondary data and 128 interviews conducted in nine hospitals across three European countries (Ireland, the Netherlands and UK), we examine roles and responsibility for HRM under devolution and coordination between those delivering it. Findings challenge bi-partite conceptions of devolution, identifying a tripartite model with: (1) HR practitioners, (2) line managers and, (3) senior professionals (managers and specialists) implementing HRM. Involving senior professionals in HRM reflects longstanding concern regarding managerial legitimacy in overseeing professional work. In the tripartite relationship each party has scope to contribute to people-management: HR practitioners to formulate a strategic framework, HR practices, and provide advisory services; line managers to implement HR practices and interface between HR and front-line professionals and; senior professionals to act as line managers’ advocates and provide expert knowledge and credibility to inform people-related decision-making. However, lack of role clarity and tensions in coordination relate to the differing goals of, and distance between, the HR function, line managers and senior professionals. Our theoretical reframing of devolution notes potential for tripartite relational involvement to enhance HR performance in professional service contexts, the contingencies affecting this and potential implications for the HR architecture.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Business (Including Economics)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor > HD28 Management. Industrial Management
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 1099-050X
Funders: Health Research Board, NIHR SDO
Related URLs:
Date of Acceptance: 7 December 2014
Last Modified: 19 Mar 2019 16:49
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/68248

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