Role of Top Managers and Importance of Line Managers.

Top managers according to Thornhill and Saunders generally concentrate on formulating corporate goals and objectives. They offer ‘transformational leadership’ and they share their vision for future success with other employees. Budhwar (2000) cites the reasons why devolvement has taken place and why line managers have been entrusted with the primary responsibility of HRM. Certain issues are too complex for the top management to comprehend and it is easier for the local managers to respond fast to it. The middle managers play a vital role in any organization because they are the ones who interact most frequently with the employees (Thornhill & Saunders). They are thus expected to have the ability to inspire, encourage, motive, enable and facilitate change by allowing the employees to become committed to the organization. When middle managers are allowed to use discretion and take the decision, it prepares them to be future managers. Besides, the cost to the company is reduced with such a practice, contends Budhwar. This may sound convincing in theory but how efficient are the line managers to cope with the different issues that arise concerning the workforce remains debatable.

Bond and McCracken (2006) agree that organizations are increasingly adopting the HRM approach where personnel practices have become devolved to the line. This according to Thornhill and Saunders is the responsibility of top managers to introduce organizational structures that enable adaptability to promote positive employee relations but ultimately the line managers have to support the development and practice of flexibility.

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