Perspectives on line managers in human resource management: Hilton International's UK hotels

Gillian A. Maxwell, S. Watson

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    60 Citations (Scopus)


    Although contextual factors act to encourage the devolvement of human resource management to line managers, recent research indicates that there is substantial potential for human resource specialists and line managers to share more effectively responsibility for their organization's human resource activities in business partnerships. The foundation for this is arguably commonality in opinions on the principles and practices of human resource activities. However, line managers and human resource specialists often have dissonant opinions on human resource management. This paper explores line manager and human resource specialists' perspectives on line manager involvement in human resource management, theoretically and empirically. The primary work comprises a survey of the views of line managers and human resource specialists on devolving a range of human resource activities to line managers in a case organization, Hilton International's UK hotels. Differences between line managers' and human resource specialists' perspectives are found in five aspects: understanding and ownership of the company's service and HR strategy; line manager involvement in and rankings of HR activities; HR specialists' support of line managers; barriers to line managers' involvement in HR activities; and the competence of line managers in HR activities. Importantly, it is found that where there are divergent views across line managers and their HR specialist in their hotel there is poor hotel business performance and, conversely, convergent views are evident in the effectively performing hotels. These findings may have resonance for other organizations in devolving human resource management to the line and developing human resource business partnerships for business performance. It is proposed that three types of line manager buy-in are central to their active involvement in HR, namely: conceptual understanding of the rationale for their involvement; implementation effectiveness through HR role clarity and capability; and affective commitment in believing in the value of their involvement in HR.

    Original languageEnglish
    JournalInternational Journal of Human Resource Management
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2006


    • devolving human resource management
    • line managers


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