Human resource management : a study of two English district health authorities
The thesis is primarily about personnel management in the National Health Service (NHS). It uses managerial strategy theory to examine the arguments about the changing style of personnel management and the emergence of human resource management (HRN). Some scholars have argued that the adoption of HRM results in an increasing role of line managers in the formulation and implementation of personnel issues. It is further argued that HIM results in increased ambiguity in personnel issues, and consequently poses a threat to personnel management. Using a case study qualitative approach involving the analysis of documents and in-depth, semi-structured interviews, the thesis examined the implications of the integration of the personnel strategy of quality circles into the organizational strategy of quality assurance in two English district health authorities in the Post-Griffiths period. The research revealed that both quality assurance and quality circles initiatives are responses to the potential deterioration in health service delivery as a result of the cuts in health care expenditure. They are, thus, opportunistic and reactive approaches for managing under financial constraints and as such cannot be considered as HRK The empirical evidence indicates that personnel managers did not play any significant role in the quality initiative programmes; as such both programmes did not pose any major threat to personnel management although they encourage line management involvement in personnel issues. This heightens the ambiguity between line and staff functions and relationships in personnel. This research is significant in showing how higher level managerial decisions, a response to environmental pressures provide a link between organizational policies and the employment practices at the lower levels within an organization. It has shed some light also on the supposed effects of employees commitment programmes on personnel management thus contributing to the debate on the supposed 'transformation' of personnel management into HRM.