Title: The perceptions of human resource managers of the shifting importance of managerial roles in downsizing organisations

Authors: Alan T. Belasen, Nancy Miller Frank

Addresses: SUNY-Empire State College, 28 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, USA. ' SUNY-Empire State College, 28 Union Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866, USA

Abstract: Middle managers are often called upon to exercise completely new skills that may well be the opposite of those they had exercised successfully before organisational downsizing. These same managers are suddenly expected to become vastly more valuable in their current roles. In this research, we have set out to survey the perceptions of human resource (HR) managers across industries regarding the shifting importance of managerial roles before and after downsizing and whether existing or planned HR systems are well enough designed to handle the training and development needs of surviving middle managers. Overall, 85% of the HR managers in our sample agreed that, after downsizing, transformational roles are more important than transactional roles for the functioning of middle managers. Across the board, HR managers reported that tasks and responsibilities underlying transactional and transformational managerial roles shifted significantly after downsizing. About 47% of the HR managers believed that more could have been done to ease the adjustment and increase the success of the transition of middle managers into a changing organisational environment, but their suggestions differed little from activities provided before or during the transition. It is proposed: that the transformation of middle managers should be followed by a parallel transformation of the HR function; and that redressing the long term unsustainable effects of hypereffective managerial behaviour lies in the ability of HR executives and professionals to design competency and educational programmes that help restore the confidence of surviving middle managers, while also supporting their developmental needs.

Keywords: competing values framework; downsizing effects; HRD; human resource development; management education; human resource management; HRM; managerial roles.

DOI: 10.1504/IJHRDM.2004.004976

International Journal of Human Resources Development and Management, 2004 Vol.4 No.2, pp.144 - 163

Available online: 29 Jul 2004 *

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