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Reconceptualising line management in project-based organisations: The case of competence coaches at Tetra Pak
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.
2007 (English)In: Personnel review, ISSN 0048-3486, E-ISSN 1758-6933, Vol. 36, no 5, 815-833 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Purpose: The aim of the article is to analyse HR devolution from HR departments to the line. Two important problems are addressed. The first problem concerns the disregard for the changes in line management that comes with HR devolution. The second problem addressed deals with the lack of studies of organisational contingencies.

Design/methodolgy/approach: The paper presents and analyses an in-depth case study of a radically projected firm within the Tetra Park group where a new HR-oriented management role has been created to replace the traditional line management role. Based on the case study findings, the paper elaborates on the new approach to line management and how a new management role is moulded in the context of project-based organisations.

Findings: Based on literature studies, the paper identifies four key challenges for HRM in project-based organisations that are critical for the development of the new approach to line management in such settings. Based on case study observations, it analyses the creation of a new management role – the so called “competence coach” – in project-based organisation within the Tetra Park group. It argues that the new approach adopted points to the need of breaking out of traditional conceptions of line management, and of developing the concept of an HR-oriented management role that is a legitimate player in the HR organisation of a firm.

Originality/value: The paper provides a rich case description of a project-based firm in a HRM perspective. The descriptions and the analysis give practical as well as theoretical implications of HRM issues that arise in project-based firms, and of changes in line management as a way of developing the capabilities to handle these issues.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Emerald Group Publishing Limited, 2007. Vol. 36, no 5, 815-833 p.
Keyword [en]
Devolution, Human resource development, Human resource management, Line management
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-13171DOI: 10.1108/00483480710774061OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-13171DiVA: diva2:17964
Available from: 2008-04-10 Created: 2008-04-10 Last updated: 2015-09-22Bibliographically approved
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

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Bredin, KarinSöderlund, Jonas

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