Human Resource Management LO22692

David J Ramsey (
Fri, 17 Sep 1999 19:34:53 -0400

Replying to LO22676 --

Before we make a sweeping generalization such as, " yes more human
resources will go to the line management (LM)", or "no HR will not go to
the line", I believe that a clear distinction needs to be made regarding
human resources.

In the definition that has evolved over several generations of
manufacturing and corporate life, HR has come to mean those paper pushers
who do the nontechnical touchy feely stuff in the company. (The HR folks
have always fought that definition but it still holds in many
organizations.) However, within the last 6-8 years a ground swell has
started that causes the organization to recognize HR as the skills,
knowledge, creativity, and excitement possess by the people in the
organization . HR is becoming known as the key to the success or failure
of the organization.

If we use these distinctions, then the argument can be made that HR
activities have always been a key to the success of the line management.
Because th LM is the tactician responsible to achieve the planned outcome
envisioned by the executive strategic planner, the most successful LM will
always be involved in HR The only way the tactician can accomplish what
needs to be done is to do HR stuff such as delegate, communicate, train,
recognize, reward, coach and so forth.

The administrative items such as documentation, benefit administration,
and so forth are best done by the administrative clerical staff and those
people trained to focus on the data retention infrastructure. The
administrative items, while adding to the systems of the organization are
but a small piece of what the organization is really about. In fact,
often this administrative stuff is there only because some force outside
the organization has inflicted it upon the organization, e.g. government
EEO/AA records, OSHA, IRS compliance, etc. Because of this, most of these
activities are reactionary and therefore become unplanned.

Based on my experience, it is very important for the LM to be involved in
both strategic corporate planning as well as H. R. planning if the two
types of planning are separated. How else is the LM going to be able to
continue to successfully accomplish his responsibilities if he doesn't
plan for the inevitable changes that occur such as when a machine breaks
down, one of his human resources dies or otherwise leaves his
organization, etc. ?

The tenets of the learning organization and systems thinking that lead me
to assert that the LM must be involved in H. R. The human resources of
the organization are the system, the LM is in the system, therefore the LM
must do the H. R. stuff. H. R. and H. R. stuff are tools for the LM's and
the organization's success.

As an additional thought, I believe that the LM must be trained, coached,
educated to think in the systems method; after all they live in the world
of immediate responses to sometimes random occurrences. The systems
approach often gets lost when in the midst of a "fire fight".

I realize that I may have raised some points of disagreement. I encourage
others to reply.

Dave Ramsey, President
ISPO -- In Service to People Organizations; a human
resources/organizational development consulting firm.


David J Ramsey <>

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