This paper will review the roles and responsibilities of line managers in management of human resources and to what extent they contribute to organizational effectiveness.
Top managers according to Thornhill and Saunders generally concentrate on formulating corporate goals and objectives. They offer ‘transformational leadership’ and they share their vision for future success with other employees. The middle managers play a vital role in any organization because they are the ones who interact most frequently with the employees. They are thus expected to have the ability to inspire, encourage, motive, enable and facilitate change by allowing the employees to become committed to the organization. This role of middle managers and their ability to strategically manage the human resources has been challenged.
Bond and McCracken (2006) agree that organizations are increasingly adopting the HRM approach where personnel practices have become devolved to the line. This implies that the line managers should become more involved in HRM at the operational level. The role of the personnel specialist has also undergone a change. He concentrates on formulating strategy and is not concerned with what happens at the operational level from the perspective of the line manager. A study on local pay in the NHS revealed that middle managers used their discretion on a number of issues thereby operationalizing HR strategy. Line managers definitely have more opportunity to translate the HRM policies into practices at the operational level.
A study of four companies in the financial sector by Bond and McCracken showed that line managers do take decision when employees make requests for time off at a short notice.