Strategic implications of HR role management in a dynamic environment

Cathy Sheehan, Helen De Cieri, Brian Cooper, Tracey Shea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to consider the impact of human resource (HR) role overload and HR role conflict on the HR function’s involvement in strategic decision making and to examine whether conditions of environmental dynamism moderate the impact of HR role conflict and HR role overload in that relationship. Design/methodology/approach – The authors collected data from two sources, senior HR and top management team (TMT) executives. A total of 180 HR executives and 109 TMT members completed the survey. In all, 102 organisations were included in the sample with matched HR executive and TMT responses. Findings – Results did not support hypothesised negative relationships between HR role management and involvement in strategic decision making but did establish the moderating effect of environmental dynamism, such that these associations were more negative at higher levels of dynamism. Research limitations/implications – The cross-sectional nature of the study precludes making inferences about causality and would need to be replicated with a longitudinal design before stronger inferences could be drawn with regard to the relationships between the variables. A strength of the study however is the use of two sources of data to address the issue of common method variance. Practical implications – The research has implications for the potential value that HR provides in dynamic environments and the risk that HR role conflict and overload pose to the contribution that HR can make during these periods. Originality/value – The research shifts the focus away from the definition of HR roles to considering how these roles are enacted and kept in balance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-373
Number of pages21
JournalPersonnel Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016


  • Environmental dynamism
  • HR role
  • HR role conflict
  • HR role overload
  • Quantitative

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