It is production who do shop floor human resource management. They are in touch with every employee eight hours or more every day. What is the theory that supports them in their managerial activity.
F.W. Taylor advocated that managers take the responsibility for developing methods of accomplishing the required tasks and for training recruit in those methods. He wanted a foreman in charge of discipline apart from other foremen who look after specific aspects of methods.
Juan López-Cotarelo, Industrial Relations Research Unit, Warwick Business School points out that line managers play a central role in human resource management. In many organisations, they are charged with myriad HR-related tasks, such as filling out performance appraisal forms, interviewing candidates for employment, making salary increase recommendations and breaking employment-related news –good and bad- to employees.
He also points out that treatment of line managers in the human resource management literature has been at best patchy. The ‘functional’ or ‘micro’ HRM subfield (Wright and Boswell, 2002) has produced knowledge about the role of line managers in the separate HR processes, such as personnel selection and performance appraisals. Most of the work in this subfield however has focused on describing the various ways in which managers can be subject to biases in their decision making. For instance, the personnel selection literature has shown that the behaviour of interviewers influences the performance of applicants (Liden et al., 1993), and that interviewer similarity and affect towards the interviewee is linked to perceived job suitability of the applicant (Howard and Ferris, 1996). Likewise, the performance appraisal literature has devoted much effort to determining the effects of rater affect and rater similarity on performance evaluations (Levy and Williams, 2004) On the ‘macro’ or ‘strategic’ side of the literature (Wright and Boswell, 2002), research has almost universally espoused a research design which has limited attention to line manager actions.
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Juan López-Cotarelo, HR discretion: understanding line managers’ role in Human Resource Management
Juan López-Cotarelo, Industrial Relations Research Unit, Warwick Business School
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