HR Duties Devolved to Front-Line Managers: An In-Depth Identification of Role Expectation Differences in the Dutch Healthcare Sector

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The aim of this study is to precisely determine the differences between the role expectations being held by front-line managers (FLMs), middle managers, and human resource (HR) practitioners about the FLMs’ devolved HR role. This study took place in the Dutch healthcare sector and made use of a qualitative, single case study design. In total, nineteen semi-structured interviews have been conducted, including eleven FLMs, eight middle managers and two HR practitioners. Additionally, the FLMs’ job descriptions have been analysed, shaping the study’s document analysis. This study is unique as it combined various theoretical frameworks for thoroughly identifying role expectations regarding FLMs’ devolved HR role and empirically validated the 2016 HR Competency Model. Both are helping to understand the mediating HRM-performance relationship better. Findings revealed that an FLM’s staff budget tends to be a factor influencing the content of role expectations. Furthermore, FLMs are expected to master the Credible Activist and Culture and Change Champion competencies, rather than the Compliance Manager and Technology and Media Integrator competencies. This study provides various interventions to stimulate FLMs’ HR role performance and narrow the gap between intended and implemented human resource management (HRM), affecting employee behaviour and organizational performance in a desired way.
Faculteit der Managementwetenschappen