Business partners and working the pumps: Human resource managers in the recession

W.K. Roche, Paul Teague

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


This article examines the work and roles of HR managers in the Irish recession. It tests the validity of three competing views about the future of HR: that the profession needs to become a business partner; that it is knee-deep in a legitimacy crisis; and that it is fragmenting by being unable to cope with the complexity of modern organizational life. Three key findings emerge from the research. First, HR managers have gained greater influence in business decision-making, but much of this influence arises from short-run retrenchment measures. Second, many HR managers remain committed to long established professional values and ideas of good practice. Third, modern HR managers are developing a professional identity that allows them to perform multiple, competing roles. These findings challenge existing arguments about the effects of the current recession. They also speak to ongoing debates about changing HR roles by showing how HR managers remain adept at making pragmatic adaptations to secure their role in organizational life. © The Author(s) 2012.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1333-1358
Number of pages26
JournalHuman Relations
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Work, Employment, Economic recessions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Management of Technology and Innovation
  • Strategy and Management
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)

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