Human Resource Management in the Context of Outsourcing

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In the context of greater interest being shown in outsourcing some or all parts of specialist human resource work, Discuss the argument that line managers and the human resource functions need to work closely with one another in order to improve performance.

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Human resource managers and line managers are two different people in an organization with different roles to play. However, for efficiency purposes, the two produce maximum output when integrated.

Criticism of hrm on their roles

Human Resource Managers have been criticized by line managers on different matters concerning management. The first accusation was that Human Resource managers don’t understand how organizations should be run, that they only apply principles of management according to what books say. (Marching ton and Wirlnon 2008) They went ahead to give examples of some of the employee rights that conflict with organizational goals.

This is evident through some of the ideas that human resource advocates for. For instance, motivation is viewed as a way of encouraging employees to work harder. Well, that is right but what form of motivation to be put to practice is what matters. For instance, giving employees gifts that affect the company’s liquidity position is wrong. This brings the organization to a lower grade and limits chances for expansion.

Human resource constraints line managers’ autonomy. In the urge to strike a balance in the organization’s work-life balance policy, human resource managers tend to interfere with the organization’s operations. Data clerking job for example involves dealing with companies that are located in different companies in the world. This means the time format of the two (buyer and seller) is different. Data clerking companies dealing with businesses from all over the world cannot dictate to their clients what should be done by when or what time the seller should not be at work since the time formats are different.

A line manager leading a group of employees in India will consider paying more so that the staff can work for long hours. On the contrary, a human resource manager in the same country will prefer releasing employees after working hours; something that will have a negative impact on the financial status of the organization.

Human Resource Managers are unresponsive and slow to act, always wanting to check options thoroughly rather than taking action immediately. (Canning ham and Hyman 1999). This idea has been supported by many writers and business managers too. It automatically slows down the organizations’ efficiency. In cases of employees missing jobs with no concrete reason, such an incident in a company would cost the organization a bigger loss than what that specific employee would have earned.

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From a human resource manager’s perspective, he would sermon such an individual and enquire what the cause of being absent was, even if he happened to have had prior information. Through all this process the organization will have lost a lot. On the contrary, a line manager would not wait for an explanation after confirming that the employee had no reason to miss work. He instead would find a temporary solution to have that problem solved then wait for an explanation.

Human resource managers were criticized also for promoting policies that may be fine in theory but hard to put into effect, for their particular workforce. This is absolutely true because those theories cannot apply to all fields of the economy. If by chance they are forced to apply they end bringing repercussions that might affect the efficiency of an organization. For example in a company that hires different professionals a human resource manager, who believes promotion is one way of motivating.

Strengths of hrm on a performance basis

Even though critics of human resources don’t find anything positive that would encourage human resource managers to work with line managers; supporters of human resources advanced different theories that support the reason why the two should merge. The first one was human resource promotes good practice in the field of management and development, of employees. This is because human resource managers focus a lot on improving the individuals working in a particular organization. This is achieved through the motivation and recruitment of individuals. Employees are hence more knowledgeable and motivated to work.

They also tend to have a sense of the professional interests of their members. Human resources don’t focus on profit maximization or sales but only on how to build their employees. This is achieved through the constant training that the organization organizes.

The human resource provides consultancy services that an employee needs and also answers general queries. It’s very effective in an organization to settle down any managerial dispute or employee problem in a professional and proficient manner.

It helps the business and commerce to make public relations and built a proper referral system. It’s important for a business to collaborate with other businesses sectors. This is possible through organizing seminars, business meetings, and company gatherings.

Human resource managers also play a big role in building the forethought of a particular business, this is possible through analyzing current positions of a particular organization they are working with and relating their findings with other organizations’ performance to gauge the difference.

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Business plans are well built by human resources managers too.

Strengths of line managers on a performance basis

However, line managers also have their strengths, especially when they act as human resources too. The fact that they already know what job human resource managers should be doing helps them to easily multi-task. They are basically “occupationally competent”.

From an organization’s perspective, the award would be more cost-effective as the organization would not have to pay for the services of an external human resource manager.

The fact that line managers are people already working in an organization is itself an added advantage because they already have a good working relationship with employees meaning the employees will not need to be oriented.

Line managers understand the time needed to undertake the award and will therefore be more likely to allocate some work time to portfolio building. This will be possible because they already have the management of portfolio knowledge, and thus with more responsibility of allocating human resources to different jobs to gain the necessary portfolio will be easy.

They are more perfect acting as human resource managers too because the assessment of competence is already part of the job of line managers. This is because they are responsible for the performance and development of staff members.

Line managers enable make the management of staff performance a more straightforward and transparent process. This is because employees already are used to accounting to the manager.

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The fact that they can easily access management makes them be in a better position to solve employee problems. Other advantages include; easy access to naturally occurring evidence, good connection with training needs. Reassessment arrangements are more flexible since the managers are informed of current demands at the workplace.

Weaknesses of line managers as hrms

However, critics of line managers raised some weaknesses of line managers too. In the light of line managers as human resource managers, line managers “don’t possess the skills and competencies necessary; to perform the H.R. aspects of their jobs effectively without specialist support. (Gennard and Kelly) 1997. Their knowledge of motivation and employee commitment is based wholly on what they believe should be to employees as far as their past experience is concerned. This might be right, but unprofessional

They also tend to have a negative attitude towards the need to handle employees professionally. They feel that competence in the area is gained from a mixture of common sense and experience that these skills are got from human behavior.

Line managers also are not committed to their job of acting as human resource managers. They are reported to have not been able to devout sufficient time to human resource issues- such as appraisal. (IVS employment review 2004) as a result, they tend to abandon some responsibility.

Inconsistency in application on how the staff is managed. This is due to unclear procedures to follow, in relation to compliance with employment legislation. (Carnohow et al 2000)

Strengths of merging the two

Despite the strengths and weaknesses of the two, combining the two has turned to be the best option since organizations have realized that one hand’s disadvantages are another hands’ advantages. CIPD Analyzed different reasons that support integrating the two systems.

Leading team briefings is one side that line managers could perform a more thorough job, in briefing a team on what’s next for the company to move forward. But a Lines Manager will not be better at solving group problems and communicating informally to train members because they are used to addressing from a leader’s perspective. On the other hand, human resource managers can effectively develop a team using the management skills that they acquire professionally but they would not be so effective in communicating a performance review to the board of directors. However, in cases of dealing with employees’ absence, human resource managers will be far effective.

The two professionals can share other responsibilities as well. For instance, when selecting individuals who should work in an organization, human resources managers tend to base their judgment on one side of the coin, but with combined judgments with line managers, the two can make just judgments. When induction and training are going on the two can team up since they have knowledge from different sides of the organization ranging from performance to hospitality. In cases of a disciplinary case, both have major strengths and weaknesses, combining the two leaves both equations balanced, for instance, the human resource manager will advocate for a fair deal, which will favor the accused to a large extent while a line manager will advocate for what will favor the organization as far as profits maximization is concerned.

Hrm might make a big mistake by promoting people of different professions to become managers. This will cause a mismanagement problem because for instance there is no way a doctor will learn management skills and be able to manage a lawyer.

HR elements can also be a disadvantage especially if they are highly specialized and differentiated. For example, issues may fall within an organization, both personnel, and other management functions. Communication in an organization in such cases may be best done by the marketing department or public relations. If you integrate the two it’s possible that different management functions will devise alternative solutions for these issues.


When the two are dealing with little responsibility output would be more effective than if only one dealing with such. For example, evaluating performance-related pay. A human resource manager will tend to overpay performance in the urge of trying to motivate labor. On the other hand, a line manager will award performance considering the financial position of an organization.

Recruitment advertising is another area that proves the significance of the two workings together. This is portrayed through the professional skills that are passed by human resource managers and the excellent marketing skills combined with experience that is held by a line manager. By advertising the manager will be in a position of addressing promotions and welfare of the organization since promotion posts might be advertised first within the organization before recruiting somebody else from the outside. Organizational development, the two working together would lead an organization to achieve higher heights. This is because the development of an organization is composed of more than just marketing, or recruitment, and motivation but rather every activity that the organization does.

Human resource managers and line managers can combine their efforts and move an organization to a different higher level. However, for that to happen, some things should be put in place first. First of all human resource managers should be able to relate to the cost of getting things wrong and it’s worthwhile estimating the financial implications of mistakes. Organizations may fail to perform better due to issues unwell addressed, for instance, cost should be viewed in softer motivation terms as far as levels of productivity and profits made by an organization.

Line managers should on the other hand adjust and try to understand the benefits of getting it right, financial rewards in a company should be part of the company’s budget if at all an the organization wants to maintain its workers and increase their productivity.


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