Essays on HRM Activities and People Management Are the Responsibility of All Line Managers Coursework

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing

The paper "HRM Activities and People Management Are the Responsibility of All Line Managers " is a perfect example of management coursework.   Line managers are increasingly being given the responsibility of handling human resource management (HRM) activities and people management. Whether the responsibilities are genuinely meant to be handled by line managers is still a point of discussion among many analysts and authors. This paper will critically analyse a statement that indicates that HRM activities and people management are the responsibility of line managers. The paper borrows widely from published literature (books and journals) and concludes that the statement being analysed is arguably stretching the truth a bit too far.

Theoretically, line managers are said to perform well when they have the dual responsibility of HRM activities and people management. In reality, however, line managers are not always able to take up the responsibilities of managing people and implementing HRM activities. Additionally, they may not always have the motivation or the opportunities to take up the responsibilities. Discussion According to Armstrong (1996), the traditional roles of managers still apply to date. Those roles include “ planning, organising, motivating and controlling” their subordinates (Armstrong 1996, p.

6). In his later work, Armstrong (2006, p. 95) indicates that in addition to the traditional roles of management, line managers have the responsibility of “ getting things done through people” . Since people make up the human resource for any company, one can then infer from the foregoing quotation that line managers directly manage human resources (people) in order to get things done. On their part, Harris, Brewster and Sparrow (2003) indicate that the line managers’ main role is handling daily work responsibilities and organising work for their subordinates.

Additionally, line managers are charged with the responsibility of overseeing the progress of people working under them (Harris et al. 2003). However, it is worth noting that most organisations have dedicated human resource departments and specialists. According to Armstrong (2006), the human resource (HR) department’ s role is to oversee the consistent implementation of HR policies in an organisation. Additionally, the HR department has the responsibility of ensuring that organisations implement employment law consistently. Armstrong’ s (2006) argument suggests that the HR department oversees the implementation of HR activities, but it does not actually implement.

Instead, those charged with the responsibility to implement HR strategies and activities are the line managers. Since they interact directly with employees, line managers are arguably in a better position to address grievances or discipline issues arising from the people they manage. According to Armstrong (2006), people matters are strictly the responsibility of line managers who deal with the same people. However, line managers can always solicit for advice from HR specialists. On their part, HR specialists should be more forthcoming with advice to the line managers as opposed to dictating what they should do.

Armstrong (2006) further notes that in cases where HR specialists take up the role of handling people and implementing all HRM activities, line managers do not act or think for themselves when they encounter different issues while handling people. Instead, they choose to refer the issues to the HR specialists. Such shifting of responsibility leads to time losses and inefficiencies, which are occasioned by the reluctance by line managers to act. Ideally, line managers should: get things done; make things happen and maintain momentum; find out what is happening in an organisation; react to problems or new situations, and respond to requests or demands by the workers.

All the aforementioned factors imply that line managers interact with their subordinates frequently and as such, could be responsible for HR activities and people planning in their respective organisations.


Alfes, K, Truss, C, Soane, E, Rees, C & Gatenby, M 2013, The relationship between line manager behaviour, perceived HRM practices, and individual performance: examining the mediating role of engagement’, Human Resource Management, vol. 52, no.6, pp. 839-859.

Armstrong, M 1996, Managing people: a practical guide for line managers, Kogan Page Publishers, London.

Armstrong, M 2006, A handbook of human resource management practice, Kogan Page Publishers, London.

Bos-Nehles, A, Van Riemsdijk, M & Looise, J 2013, ‘Employee perceptions of line management performance: applying the AMO theory to explain the effectiveness of line managers’ HRM implementation’, Human Resource Management, vol. 52, no.6, pp. 861-877.

Brewster, C & Larsen, H 2000, Human resource management in Northern Europe, Blackwell Publishers, Oxford.

Centre for Intelligent Information Retrieval 2005, ‘Capacity building for local NGOs: a guidance for good practice’, Learning Network on Capacity Development, viewed 13 March 2015, .

De Winne, S, Delmotte, J, Gilbert, C & Sels, L 2013, ‘Comparing and explaining HR department effectiveness assessment: evidence from line managers and trade union representatives’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 24, no.8, pp. 1708-1735.

Hailey, V, Farndale, E & Truss, C 2005, ‘The HR department’s role in organizational performance’, Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 15, no.3. pp. 49-66.

Harris, H, Brewster, C & Sparrow, P 2003, International human resource management, CIPD Publishing, London.

Harris, L, Doughty, D & Kirk, S 2002, ‘The devolution of HR responsibilities – perspectives from the UK’s public sector’, Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 26, pp. 218-229.

International Personnel Management Association 2002, Workforce planning resource guide for public sector human resource professionals, IPMA, Alexandria, VA.

Maxwell, G & Watson, S 2006, ‘Perspectives on line managers in human resource management: Hilton international’s UK hotels’, International Journal of Human Resource Management, vol. 17, pp. 1152-1170.

Purcell, J & Hutchinson, S 2007, ‘Front-line managers as agents in the HRM-performance causal chain: theory, analysis and evidence’, Human Resource Management Journal, vol. 17, pp. 3-20.

Download full paperFile format: .doc, available for editing
Contact Us