The Utility of Human Resource Managers’ Action: A Self-centred Perception by Different Organizational Actors

  • João Leite RibeiroEmail author
  • Delfina Gomes
  • Ana Caria
Part of the Management and Industrial Engineering book series (MINEN)


This study analyses how different organizational actors perceive and characterize human resource (HR) managers’ actions at the strategic, tactical and operational levels. In this study, 257 interviews were conducted with organizational actors, and Grounded Theory was applied to analyse the data. The interviewees were employed at ten companies (three multinational and seven Portuguese companies) and represented different hierarchical positions: top managers, peers of HR managers and collaborators from different organizational functions. The interviewees expressed very clear views regarding desirable axes of action for HR managers, and these actions could improve perceptions of HR managers and departments. These desirable axes of action were as follows: proactive; strategic combined with an operational level of action; demonstrating initiative; pragmatic; simultaneously global and local (glocal); transparent; objective; just and impartial; legitimate; and efficient and effective. Therefore, the results highlight three main axes where HR managers need to focus their attention: principles of practical action, principles of communication and ethical values. The results demonstrate that when developing their identities and credibility within organizations, HR managers must consider the perceptions of different organizational actors. The ways in which HR managers are perceived by different organizational actors pose a challenge and have an effect on the roles and influence that HR managers and departments can have at the strategic level in organizations. This study contributes to the literature by exploring an important yet underdeveloped field of research on how HR managers are viewed within organizations.


Human resources management Human resources managers Axes of action Perception Grounded theory 



The second author acknowledges that this study was conducted at Research Center in Political Science (UID/CPO/00758/2013), University of Minho, and supported by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology and the Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science through national funds.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Leite Ribeiro
    • 1
    Email author
  • Delfina Gomes
    • 1
  • Ana Caria
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Economics and ManagementUniversity of MinhoBragaPortugal

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