The impact of employment regulation on human resource professionals: a study set in the public sector

Wootton, Danielle (2016). The impact of employment regulation on human resource professionals: a study set in the public sector. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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The impact of employment legislation on the conduct of employment relations has been widely studied, but there has been relatively little attention to the effects on human resource professionals. The thesis investigates this issue by conducting thirty one semi-structured interviews at three public sector organisations. Three potential areas of impact are identified: The conduct of the role, notably whether it has become more legalistic; the potential to play a part in organisations’ wider strategies; and the professional status of human resource. With regard to the first, the role of the human resource professional in working practice is found to be akin to that of an organisational legal adviser, including mitigating potential risks of employee litigation. On the second, strategic decision making is found to be a problematic area in employee relations as there are too many unknowns and external influences that are beyond the control of the human resource function. Nonetheless, the strength of the function lies in sound pragmatic operational strategic practices. Finally, on the third the thesis argues that human resource professionals within the employee relations environment are organisation-based pragmatic legal advisors but that they lack the educational advantage and decision making skills required of legal professionals. Nevertheless, employment regulation has raised the expertise level needed in the profession, which in turn has elevated the human resource identity such that in future the role may move even further in the direction of formalisation and professionalisation.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Birmingham Business School
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HD Industries. Land use. Labor


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