Sample Term Paper

5517 Words Nov 10th, 2010 23 Pages
‘Employee champion’ or ‘business partner’? The views of aspirant HR professionals Dennis Nickson, Scott Hurrell, Chris Warhurst, Kirsty Newsome, Dora Scholarios, Jo Commander and Anne Preston
University of Strathclyde Abstract This paper focuses on the perceptions, expectations and experiences of full-time students studying a CIPD-accredited Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in Human Resource Management. Drawing on survey, focus group and interview data the paper considers students perceptions of the role of HR, how their views changed during the course of the academic year, their initial thoughts on pursuing an HR career and early experiences as HR practitioners. The results suggest that at the point of exiting the course students tended to view
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HRM is seen as distinct from the pluralist industrial relations approach involving mediation, mutuality and maintenance of the quality of working life. Instead it aligns with a unitarist assertion of organisational values, goals and strategy (Legge, 2005; Storey, 2007). As a result, HRM is also attempting to move away from the „routine administration‟ of personnel management and into a „business partnership‟ model, ultimately contributing to the productivity and financial performance of the firm (Francis and Keegan, 2006). For example, the CIPD (2007) reporting a survey of 787 HR professionals notes how over half of their respondents

organisations had re-structured in the last year and „by far the most common reason for restructuring was to enable the HR function to become a more strategic contributor‟ (p. 2). This strategic aspiration is seen as not only placing the HR function in a more central position within organisations but also increasing the status of HR practitioners as professionals.

As a result of the move towards business partnership some have argued that HRM suffers from a „social legitimacy‟ gap in terms of the traditional pluralist employeecentred welfare function (see for example Kochan, 2004; 2007). Indeed, Francis and Keegan (2006) drawing on the work of Ulrich (1997) recognise that two possible roles that HR managers could fulfil are that of „business partner‟ and „employee champion‟ with the

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