This paper is set in order to demonstrate the research proposal on the subject of the role of line managers in reward in the context of human resource management. The main covered areas will include the presentation of research objectives and rationale, brief critical investigation of the recent studies and research methodology. The ethical issues are going to be demonstrated at the end of the research proposal.
Research Objectives and Rationale
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Recent research demonstrates that the role of line managers in the implementation of reward programs is neglected in most of the cases. This, in turn, negatively affects the general process of reward program integration. For instance, a survey, which has been done on 1300 organizations in 80 countries, has demonstrated that only 30 % of these organizations have reported a successful implementation of reward program (Stark and McMullen, 2008). It has been further presented in the research that HR executives tend to design the reward programs whereas the line managers tend to integrate those. The research, however, fails to provide an in-depth perspective on the subject of the involvement of both line managers and HR executives (Armstrong and Bowen, 1998). Therefore, it is important to provide the extensive perspective on the subject of the role of line managers in the implementation of rewarding programs. This will contribute to the academic body of research in the human resource subject area. Additionally, it will allow human resource management to identify the main problems with their reward strategies; thus altering the strategies in order to acquire a success in delivery of reward programs.
As a result, given the concept of the study, the main research objectives are:
- To explore the concept of rewards and general role of HR representatives in it
- To investigate the level of line managers’ involvement in the rewarding process in the context of HR management
- To identify and explore the elements of the most successful and effective rewarding strategy
This section is designed in order to deliver a brief critical investigation of key theoretical concepts on the subject of line managers’ involvement in the development and implementation of reward programs. The main sub-themes will include identification and exploration of human resource function in the development of reward programs, investigation of performance management and identification of the most effective method of reward in the context of line managers’ involvement.
Reward and Reward System
The reward systems have been integrated within HRM only recently. These have been designed in order to provide the monetary value to those employees who have added value to the organization. This concept is directly interlinked with the development of career and increase in motivation (Thorpe and Homan, 2000). Secord, (2003, p. 403) states that reward management is associated with “designing, implementing, maintaining and communicating reward processes”. These processes, in turn, shape the level of monetary payment for value-adding activities, performed by employees.
HR Role and Function in Reward
In general, there is little evidence in HR’s delivery of the actual value to the company. Assessment on 54 organizations, located in the USA, has demonstrated that the majority of companies has not assessed HR department due to the lack of value, delivered by this sector (Ramlall, 2002). It has been further estimated that some companies do not have any specific rating system to measure the performance of HR department (Becker, Huselid, and Ulrich, 2001).
One of the key functions of HR is related to the design of reward system. However, this function has been ignored in the recent studies. CIPD (2006) has done a survey in the organizations on the subject of the role of HR representatives in the reward systems. It has been estimated that front-line management plays a much more significant role in the integration of the reward systems, contrary to HR specialists.
HR duties are associated with a large number of aspects that should be taken into consideration in order to successfully fulfil the job. This implies that the HRM system should be visible, authoritarian, legitimate and understandable (Bowen and Ostroff, 2004). If these factors are not presented in front of employees, the strength of HRM system, as perceived by employees, decreases.
HR representatives are important in design of reward system and performance management. Armstrong and Bowen, (1998) outline the personal characteristics of HR executives and their experience, as the important factors that are projected in design of reward and performance management systems. However, there is little contact between HR executives and employees, which develop the obstacles to actual integration of reward systems and performance management. This implies that HR executives are not able to actually see the performance of employees in order to base the decisions (Armstrong and Bowen, 1998). This increases the significance of line managers in relation to this task.
Role of Line Managers in Reward Systems
The studies suggest that the role of line managers in fulfilment of some of the HR functions has been increased over the time. Along with the transferring of supervisory duties to line managers, their people management duties have been enhanced as well (Hales, 2005). In the light of current line managers’ role in people management, the HR function and role are ignored and diminished.
The research suggests that line managers are not qualified enough in order to fulfil these types of duties, namely reward systems integration. However, they are trusted by their subordinates as a result of cooperative work together. This is contrasted by the gap, which is developed on the basis of lack of time, willingness and qualifications in order to actually perform HR-related duties (Becker, Huselid, and Ulrich, 2001).
It has been further added that for line managers it is easier to implement reward systems and performance management, since there has been a direct link found between the leadership style and motivation development (CIPD, 2007). This implies that line managers are more knowledgeable about their employees’ traits and level of job’s quality. Furthermore, the line managers are able to influence employee motivation development (CIPD, 2007).
Performance management is regarded to be crucial in effective management of organizational culture. It aims at the evaluation of employee’s attitude and behavior in relation to the job; thus contributing to the increase of the overall significance of performance management practices, as perceived by employees (Hannah and Iverson, 2004). Other scholars suggest that it is a leadership function, which contributes to the efficiency of performance management (Uhl-Bien et al., 2000). This corresponds to the ability to see the supervisor’s willingness to provide feedback and explain the goals of the organization, as the main factor that contributes to the increase of employee morale and therefore the company’s overall productivity (Smewing, 2001). This suggests that the employees are seen to be taken care of, therefore are more prone to commit to the organization over the long term.
HR specialists are the ones that design performance management programs whereas line managers tend to realize those programs. However, the majority of line managers do not have sufficient tools in order to maintain a qualitative performance management (CIPD in ONREC, 2004). Additionally, it has been estimated that the concept of performance management has changed over time. This suggests that initially, this concept was integrated in order to address the issues of pay and the ability to achieve certain organization’s objectives (CIPD in ONREC, 2004). Currently, this concept has evolved into the talent management and the ability to recruit and retain the best employees on the market. Additionally, performance management has evolved into shifting away from the dogma that financial pay may be the only motivating force behind the performance (Armstrong and Baron, 1998). Large attention in the motivation-related research has been attributed to the significance of intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation suggest that the employee is motivated by the force of self-motivation. Extrinsic motivation suggests that the employees are motivated by the external factors, like the increase of pay (Speckbacher, 2003). It is stated in the same source that it is a challenging task to channel the intrinsic motivation, however, performance management is shifting to the integration of this dogma. The intrinsic motivation suggests that the employee receives satisfaction from the achievement of certain objectives. Therefore, this motivation eliminates the need to provide additional financial benefits in order to increase employee’s productivity. Additionally, already increased employee morale reduces the need for further integration of the additional practices, aimed at the increase of one’s productivity (Speckbacher, 2003).
This section aims at the presentation of the main research methodology and its elements. This section is based on the integration of “research onion” framework, which implies a shift from presentation of “research method” to the description of “primary data instrument” through a variety of stages (Saunders et al., 2009).
Due to the scope and subject of research,mixed research methodology is applied. This methodology suggests that the study will be conducted whilst integrating the elements of quantitative and qualitative research methods (Saunders et al., 2009). This method is regarded to be associated with a high degree of costs, which is suitable, given the scope of the research (Ellin Datta in Greene, 2007).
Research paradigm has been selected to be positivism and interpretivism. Positivism philosophy suggests that the researcher incorporates value- free, objective perspective on the subject of the study. This requires minimum integration of the values and opinions that have been acquired throughout the lifetime (Saunders et al., 2009). Interpretivism on the other hand allows interpretation of the collected information into the narrative format. This is especially applicable to the qualitative interviews. One of the possible disadvantages that may emerge as a result of positivism application, that the researcher may integrate some lifetime values within data collection and analysis processes (Frauendorf, 2006). This might become an obstacle, due to the lack of critical research skills.
The research approach is proposed to be deductive, in order to benefit from the development of theory on the basis of evaluation of the elements of the acquired data (Thyer, 2010). Deductive research approach exercises the shift from more expanded towards more detailed in line with the subject theory and elements (Thyer, 2010). In other words deductive reasoning employs top down approach, where the conclusions are drawn on the basis of acquired findings. Since this subject is regarded to be multi-dimensional, the analysis of smaller details, associated with the role of line managers in development and integration of reward systems, would be beneficial.
The research is proposed to be of explanatory character. The main aim of this type of research is to explore the causal relationships between dependent and independent variables. The ultimate purpose of this research is to explain the situation and predict the events (McNabb, 2008). The main question in relation to the explanatory research is attributed to – “ Why this event has happened?”. Therefore, the main question in relation to this research would be – “Why the role of line managers is so significant and/or so insignificant?”.
Qualitative Research Question:
What is the role of line managers in reward system planning and integration as projected in real life time activities
Quantiative Research Hypothesis:
- Line managers have a direct positive affect on reward system integration
- Line manager have a direct positive impact on performance management activities
The research design is chosen to be a multiple case study (Yin, 1993). This implies that two case studies will be developed in order to investigate the role of line managers in the development and integration of reward systems. One case will include the line managers; whereas another case will include the employees. This will allow data collection will allow the acquisition of data on the subject of insight on this subject, from line managers and subordinates, which would contribute to the development of the full picture on the subject of study. Multiple case study is known to be associated with the triangulation of data and research methods (Yin, 1993). It has been estimated that case study strategy is well applied to qualitative and quantitative methods, which will result in the achievement of research objectives (Yin, 1993).
Along with the integration of mixed research methodology, questionnaires and semi-structured interviews have been selected to be applied as part of the primary data instrument design. Questionnaires will be distributed among employees, namely floor employees in the selected commercial companies. Semi-structured interviews are going to be targeted at the line managers in order to deliver a follow up on the acquired findings, by questionnaires. This will allow demonstration of the perspective of line manager involvement in reward systems integration from both perspectives. Questionnaires are beneficial since these allow collection of the data from a large sample, which is a primary research objective in relation to the employees’ study group (Saunders et al., 2009). Due to the specifics of the study, the questionnaires are going to be distributed via e-mails, in order to enable quick rate of responses. This is also associated with low degree of costs due to the utilization of the interactive platform for questionnaires distribution (Saunders et al., 2009).
Interviews, in turn, aim at the acquisition of an in-depth perspective on the subject. As a result, once the primary data from questionnaires is collected, the line managers will provide clarification of the causal relationships between the perspectives of employees about their involvement and their actual fulfilment of duties. The interviews will be heldon site, in order to ensure comfortable settings during the interview. This would allow access to the opinions and views that are hidden deep inside one’s psychology. There is a large risk of bias opinion emergence due to the depth of the interview process and involvement of qualitative opinions, views and behaviours (Saunders et al., 2009). Additionally, the lack of research skills might result in the possible shift from the main subject; thus the inability to acquire valuable findings that would correspond with the research objectives. Primary data quantitative analysis is proposed to be maintained on the basis of SPSS processes integration and narration.
Sample is a group of individuals with specific characteristics that have been selected in order to represent the whole population (Saunders et al., 2009). This research will be based on the incorporation of probability sampling strategy. This strategy suggests that all the individuals within the population have equal chances to be selected for the study. The main segmentation variable will be based on the occupation of study respondents (Saunders et al., 2009). This implies that for questionnaires, the sample will consist of floor employees and for interviews the sample will consist of line managers. The sub-sampling strategy is selected to be a stratified random sampling. This implies that all the employees are considered for participating in the study whilst being grouped with regard to their occupation (Saunders et al., 2009). This correlates well with the cross-sectional research design. The sample size is proposed to be 150 floor employees and 10 line managers in one commercial organization, which is geographically limited to the UK.
The cross-sectional timeframe has been chosen to be applied in this study. This implies that the research will be conducted over a short period of time, in contrast to the specifics of longitudinal timeframe. This would ensure relatively quick observation of study participants whilst conducting questionnaires and interviews (Jackson, 2008). This would allow investigation of a sample where the members possess different characteristics.
Due to the incorporation of direct human contact as part of the research design, there are some ethical issues to address. First of all, the study will be based on the integration of confidentiality-related policies. This suggests that all the material, which is acquired as part of primary data collection, will be stored confidentially in order to avoid sharing to any other 3rd party, unless otherwise stated by the primary data owner.
In addition to this, the questionnaires and interviews are going to be supplied with the introductory letter. This introductory letter is designed in order to acknowledge the study participants with study’s purpose, aims, terms and conditions. By accepting the terms and conditions of the research, the study participant agrees to participate in the process of research conduct.
Both questionnaires and interviews are designed in order to address the race relations and equality of rights. Any study participant will have the opportunity to withdraw from any stage of research conduct process, whereas their data will not be utilized for the purposes of research. The study participants will have a right to stay anonymous, unless otherwise stated.
All the expenses, namely research, transportation, communication and stationary are manageable by the researcher.
Design of Primary Data Instrument
Pilot Study and Data collection
Analysis and Discussion Chapters Completion
Draft review by supervisor
Amendments and Final Review
This paper was designed in order to demonstrate the proposal for the research on the subject of line manager’s involvement in reward systems integration and performance management. It has been estimated as part of the literature review, that line manager role is significant in the integration of both of these processes. It is mainly associated with the fact that they are able to see and engage in the actual performance management; thus being able to produce objective results in relation to reward systems, contrary to the HR department. It has been further estimated that employees tend to develop both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, where intrinsic motivation is much more significant in channeling in order to acquire the benefits in relation to the financial performance of the company. As a result, the main objectives of research is to explore the level of involvement of line managers in the reward systems. This is proposed to be done by the means of mixed research methodology integration. The primary data collection instrument consists of interviews and questionnaires that are distributed among 10 line managers and 150 floor employees in the commercial organization in the UK.
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