Date of Award

2002

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Second Advisor

Elsie P. Jackson

Third Advisor

Hinsdale Bernard

Abstract

Problem. As the number of organizations involved in major restructuring increases, Human Resource (HR) leaders find themselves in a labyrinth of evolving roles. How might they facilitate the organization's desire to successfully wed human needs and experiences to profit expectations and strategies?

Purpose. This qualitative study seeks to increase understanding of the dual role played by human resource leadership, as they are both survivors and facilitators of organizational restructuring. It answers the overarching question: What are the unique contributions made by HR leaders to the organizational restructuring process?

Methodology. Through a purposive sampling process, 11 HR leaders were identified who had major roles in organizational restructuring within the past 5 years. These HR leaders brought insights from manufacturing, health care, finance, and publishing. Open-ended interview questions explored their perspectives on the challenges of restructuring, specifically in their role of HR leadership. Interviews were audiotaped, transcribed, and analyzed for common themes.

Results. The HR leaders identified five key roles during restructuring processes: strategic business partner, coach/facilitator, implementer, educator, and survivor. Attributes portrayed by HR leaders in their various roles also illuminate the ways in which HR leaders are uniquely positioned to facilitate restructuring. The results ofthis study blend well with Fullan, Senge, and Greenleaf as a new model of HR leadership roles emerges. Multiple impacts on their personal and professional lives are identified as are suggestions to improve the process of mergers and restructuring to support employees.

Conclusions. As organizations struggle with restructuring, HR leaders, working from a foundation of civility, offer a potent combination of skills and attributes that enable their organizations to heal and optimally restructure. As organizations endeavor to restructure, utilization of the knowledge, skills, and attributes of HR leaders is essential.

Subject Area

Personnel management, Organizational change

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