“Managing human resources in the UK public sector”
Prof. Katie Truss, Head of Department, Leadership, HRM and Organisation, Director, Kingston Business School, Employee Engagement Consortium
As the public sector has modernised and sought to become more efficient and cost-effective, the effective and strategic management of people has received increasing prominence and there have been calls for the HR function to play a more strategic role. However, not much is known about whether the role of the HR function has changed substantively, or what factors influence HR functional roles. We report on empirical data collected from six public sector organisations in the UK and show how more strategic roles have not replaced traditional approaches but, rather, have been grafted on, giving rise to a variety of hybrid HR forms. We argue that the specific nature of the role played by the HR function can be explained through a combination of isomorphic factors alongside strategic choice, social capital and co-evolution, leading to unique solutions developing over time in individual organisations.