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HRM and project intensification in R&D-based companies: A study of Volvo Car Corporation and AstraZeneca
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration . Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2918-2341
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Business Administration . Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
2006 (English)In: R & D Management, ISSN 0033-6807, Vol. 36, no 5, 467-485 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Projects have become the standard mode of organising R&D activities. The main focus of this paper is to analyse the relationship between the project operations of the R&D-based firm and its Human Resource Management (HRM). This paper draws on a comparative case study of AstraZeneca and Volvo Car Corporation. It is argued that the project intensification currently under way has some important structural and content effects on the HRM practice of the firms. As to the content effects, we identify five critical areas within the HRM practice where special attention is needed due to project intensification. As to the structural effects, we identify two separate logics for HR specialists: the HR-based logic and the task-based logic. These logics give new knowledge about the design of the HR organisation and how the HR departmental structures should be adapted in a project-intensive setting. The case studies also illustrate three alternative roles for line managers when they assume increased HR responsibility.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2006. Vol. 36, no 5, 467-485 p.
National Category
Social Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13170DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9310.2006.00448.xOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13170DiVA: diva2:17963
Available from: 2008-04-10 Created: 2008-04-10 Last updated: 2015-09-22
In thesis
1. Human Resource Management in Project-Based Organisations: Challenges, Changes, and Capabilities
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human Resource Management in Project-Based Organisations: Challenges, Changes, and Capabilities
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Alternative title[sv]
Human resource management i projektbaserade organisationer : utmaningar, förändringar och förmågor
Abstract [en]

This doctoral thesis addresses human resource management in project-based organisations. The aim is to explore the challenges for HRM in project-based organisations and the changes in people management systems to meet these challenges. The thesis consists of a compilation of six papers and an extended summary. The research reported in the thesis is based on a combination of multiple, comparative, and single case studies of project-based organisations. The core case studies have been conducted at Saab Aerosystems, AstraZeneca, Volvo Car Corporation, and Tetra Pak. The results indicate central challenges regarding competence development and career structures, performance review processes and reputation of project workers, and the increased responsibility and pressured work environment for project workers. They further indicate that many of these challenges are handled through a more HR-oriented line manager role, while HR departments are downsized and centralised. The thesis hence emphasises the need to understand HRM as a dimension of management in which various players share the responsibility for its design and performance. To conclude, the thesis applies a capabilities perspective on project-based organisations and develops a conceptual framework that embraces people capability: the organisational capability to manage the relation between people and their organisational context. In this framework, people management systems improve people capability when they integrate it with strategic, functional, and project capabilities. It is suggested that the people capability framework provides new possibilities to analyse HRM in project-based organisations and to explain the changes in people management systems that are needed to align them to the project-based context.

Abstract [sv]

I avhandlingen studeras human resource management (HRM) i projektbaserade organisationer. Syftet är att utforska de utmaningar som HRM i projektbaserade organisationer möter på grund av de speciella karaktärsdrag som denna organisationsform har, samt hur personalarbetet i denna typ av organisationer förändras för att anpassas till ett projektbaserat arbetssätt. Avhandlingen är en sammanläggningsavhandling bestående av sex artiklar och kappa, författade på engelska. Artiklarna bygger på fallstudier av projektintensiva och kunskapsintensiva organisationer. De centrala fallstudierna har genomförts på Saab Aerosystems, AstraZeneca, Volvo Car Corporation och Tetra Pak. Avhandlingen visar på utmaningar gällande kompetensutveckling och karriärvägar, utvärderingsprocesser och rykte för projektmedarbetare, samt individens ökade ansvar och tidspressade arbetssituation. De visar vidare på att många av dessa utmaningar framför allt hanteras genom en mer HR-orienterad roll för första linjens chefer medan personalavdelningar minskas och centraliseras. I avhandlingen tydliggörs därför vikten av att förstå HRM som en dimension av management där flera aktörer tillsammans bidrar till dess utförande och uppbyggnad. Avslutningsvis används ett perspektiv som fokuserar organisatoriska förmågor i projektbaserade företag för att utveckla en konceptuell modell för people capability: den organisatoriska förmågan att hantera relationen mellan individer och deras organisatoriska kontext. Modellens utgångspunkt är att personalarbetet i projektbaserade organisationer kan bidra till en förbättrad people capability om det integrerar denna förmåga med strategiska, funktionella och projektförmågor. I avhandlingen föreslås att people capability modellen ger nya möjligheter att analysera HRM i projektbaserade organisationer och att förklara de förändringar personalarbetet som krävs för att anpassa det till det projektbaserade arbetssättet.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2008. 137 + papers 1-6 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Arts and Science, ISSN 0282-9800 ; 431
Keyword
HRM, project-based organisations, people management systems, people capability, project management, line management, HR department, project capability, personalarbete, people capability, projektledning, linjechef, HR-avdelning, projekt, HRM, projektbaserade organisationer
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-11533 (URN)978-91-7393-925-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-05-09, A2, House A, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:15 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-04-10 Created: 2008-04-10 Last updated: 2015-09-22Bibliographically approved
2. Human Resource Management in Project-Based Organisations: Challenges and Changes
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Human Resource Management in Project-Based Organisations: Challenges and Changes
2006 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis is about human resource management (HRM) in project-based organisations. Firms have over the last decades tended to rely increasingly on project-based structures. This process of projectification implies a changed work situation for individuals in modern organisations. Researchers from the project field of research as well as from the HRM field of research have pointed to possible implications that projectification might have for HRM. This thesis explores this area through a combination of multiple, comparative, and single case studies of project-based organisations. The studies aim at identifying and analysing the changes and challenges for HRM in this particular context.

The studies are presented in four separate papers. The findings suggest a number of important and empirically nested challenges related to Competence, Trust, Change, and Individuals. Moreover, the changing roles of HR departments and line managers in the overall HR organisation are discussed and analysed. The thesis proposes alternative roles for line managers, depending on the organisational context, and it also proposes two ’ideal types’ of HR-departmental structures.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Ekonomiska institutionen, 2006
Series
FiF-avhandling - Filosofiska fakulteten – Linköpings universitet, ISSN 1401-4637 ; 89
Keyword
HRM, project-based organisations, projectification, HR department, line manager, competence, trust, change, individual
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-7662 (URN)91-85497-36-3 (ISBN)
Presentation
2006-02-24, , Vallfarten, Campus Valla, Linköpings universitet, Linköping, 13:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2006-11-14 Created: 2006-11-14 Last updated: 2015-09-22

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Bredin, KarinSöderlund, Jonas

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