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Exploring the Role of HR Practitioners in Pursuit of Organizational Effectiveness in Higher Education Institutions

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Matthew Brannan



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Routledge, 2015.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


This paper focuses on how human resource (HR) professionals view their role in contributing to organizational effectiveness (OE) in the higher education (HE) sector. Drawing on interview and documentary data, we trace how rival definitions of OE relate to two emergent conceptions of rationality. First we identify instrumental forms of rationality based on assessments of how well (or efficiently) organizations achieve preordained objectives. Second, we identify stakeholder satisfaction models of OE, which concern the extent to which competing needs of stakeholders are satisfied and, thus, presuppose a more dialogic view of rationality. The empirical findings suggest that HR professionals do support attempts to reorientate their institutions towards a top-down form of organization, which would privilege high-level objectives and efficiency. This implies a move away from a more traditional view of universities as discursive and participatory organizations, where effectiveness is regarded as meeting the varied needs of stakeholders, such as academics, students and the wider society, in a balanced way. This may also complement a move to a ‘business partner’ model of human resource management (HRM). However, whilst the HRM professionals largely favour such a shift, they acknowledge limitations to the extent that is practical or even entirely desirable.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mansour FM, Heath G, Brannan M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Change Management

Year: 2015

Volume: 15

Issue: 3

Pages: 210-230

Print publication date: 28/07/2015

Online publication date: 11/06/2015

Acceptance date: 20/03/2015

Date deposited: 27/09/2019

ISSN (print): 1469-7017

ISSN (electronic): 1479-1811

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/14697017.2015.1045539


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