The strategic management of first-tier-managers: a British Aerospace engineering manufacturing company case study.

Martins, Lola-Peach ORCID: (2008) The strategic management of first-tier-managers: a British Aerospace engineering manufacturing company case study. PhD thesis, Middlesex University. [Thesis]


A framework, which encompasses the key factors influencing the first-tier-manager's (FTM's) human resource management (HRM) performance, is critical in terms of achieving strategic fit at the FTM's level.More recently, studies have shown that using an integrated framework as a management tool can yield enormous organisational benefits, for example, in terms of operations (Shamar et al, 2007), and optimising learning (Serpell and Ferrada, 2007, Robotham, 2004, May ). Previous studies, such as May (1999) - developing competencies in fast changing environments have also presented similar findings. The crucial HRM role of FTMs being the subject of renewed attention in the last few years, marked by burgeoning
studies on HRM devolution and the growing concerns associated with the FTM's performance in this regard,
gives credence to the above conclusion.

From a historical perspective, the HRM role of FTMs has been through three core phases, and is currently in the FORTH phase, which shows no signs of abating. Evidentially, the past decade has seen employers establishing more devolved management structures that place more emphasis on local level managerial decision-making. An important component of this shift in many has been the re-configuration of the role of FTMs to encompass a wider range of HRM responsibilities because of the crucial influence that FTMs can exert over worker attitudes and motivation (Purcell et al, 2003). At the same time, the available evidence also indicates that, in practice, whilst the FTM's performance of this role has been successful on the one had, in contrast it has often proved to be problematic. Four typical factors have been identifîed as contributing to the success of the FTM's HRM role.

Against this background, this research has used detailed case study evidence to explore how far the success or otherwise, of such a process of change is explicable in terms of the role played by the FOUR inevitably interrelated, sets of factors: the perceptions and attitudes of FTMs; the extent to which their new role is
defined; the degree to which Us introduction is linked to the provision of appropriate training and development opportunities; and the extent to which ail this is integrated into the broader way in which the organisation is structured and operates. The findings obtained from AeroCo, served to highlight the relevance of all of these factors and, in doing so, pointed to the fact that to be successful in attempts to reform the role of FTMs, need to take due cognisance of all of them, that is as a diagnostic tool to develop a strategic framework for managing FTMs.

In short, the study's findings highlight the fact that those that wish to enhance the HRM role of FTMs need to
adopt a strategic approach towards achieving this objective. They further indicate that such an approach
needs to encompass both 'vertical' and 'horizontal' dimensions. Thus, regarding the former, the strategic
approach has to extend to ensuring that the new role not only 'fits' with operational business needs, but also
wider management decision-making structures. Meanwhile, in relation to the latter, the strategic approach needs to encompass a close integration between all aspects of relevant human resource activities. Consequently, the findings point to the fact that human resource functions wishing to devolve aspects of their activities to FTMs need to think through carefully how this can be done in a way, which is compatible with the wider cultural, structural, and operational features of the organisational environment. In other words to ensure that any such change is pursued in an integrated rather than 'isolated', narrowly functional-based, manner.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in part fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Research Areas: A. > Business School > International Management and Innovation
Item ID: 8361
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Depositing User: Repository team
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2012 17:28
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2021 16:44

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