Line Management Case Study

1.4. HRM Devolution and Role Stress of Line Managers
As it has been discussed by Purcell and Hutchinson (2007), the role of line managers and FLMs is critical in the delivery of HRM policies and procedures in the organisation. Moreover, it exercises a big influence on the employees’ performance outcomes. Although the importance of these roles has been widely recognised, there is still a tendency among companies to promote line managers for their technical skills and knowledge, and not give the right weight to their people management competencies (Gennard & Kelly, 1997). Nevertheless, a wide number of limitation to the attempts of line managers in putting HRM policies into practice exists (Renwick, 2002). Although they significantly contribute
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Örtqvist and Wincent (2006) argued that whenever the prospects of the role holder are “conflicting, ambiguous, or overloading, the focal person will experience role stress” (p.399). Evans (2016) argued that role stress must be considered an important factor to the issues associated to the devolution of HRM to the line. Therefore, it might be possible that the role holder experience diverse sources of stress such as role conflict, role overload and role ambiguity (Katz and Kahn, 1966). Role overload exists when the volume of work and the time available to have it completed are incompatible. This incompatibility is often presented under the form of organisational delays, time pressure on line managers, and increased general workload, which are recognised as the main reasons of a negative attempt of implementation of HRM (McGovern et al., 1997; Hutchinson and Purcell, 2010). A study conducted by Evans (2016) outlined this incompatibility as mostly caused by a reduction of resources, and by an increase of responsibilities through organisational actions at strategic levels. These strategies often consist in reductions of staff budgets, increases of requirements for customer service, and intensifications of the HRM duties for line and FLMs. On the other hand, role conflict refers to a situation in which there are inconsistencies in the expectations of a role, such that the fulfilment of one of these would make it difficult or even impossible to compliance another. Hutchison and Purcell (2010) argued that role conflict is mostly caused by tensions between different expectations of the role. Evans (2016) discussed that role conflict is often provoked by organisational strategies of profitability in which FLMs are

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