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Frontline HR

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Frontline HR

A Handbook for the Emerging Manager

Thomson South-Western,

15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

HR activities are moving to frontline managers. Shouldn’t your organization be ready for the challenge?

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable


In this age of restructuring, downsizing, cost-cutting and restless employees, frontline managers have to handle tasks normally performed by the human resources (HR) department. The problem is that many managers aren’t trained or prepared to assume these responsibilities. This situation is also unsettling for HR personnel, who see their traditional functions shifted to other departments. Jeffrey Hornsby and Donald Kuratko believe this dilemma can be resolved if HR professionals help managers master HR functions, and thus make HR relevant to a company’s overall strategic planning. The result is more qualified line managers and purpose-driven HR personnel. getAbstract recommends this dry yet informative book to any individual or organization facing a similar workplace predicament.


Changing with the Times

Until recently, frontline managers paid little attention to human resources (HR). Many had grown accustomed to operating in their own little universes, looking after their people and keeping their supervisors happy. They concentrated on running their divisions, and left employee recruitment and development, labor and safety issues, and ethical and legal matters to the HR department. This system worked successfully for years, but now the dividing line between management and HR has become blurred. More companies want their HR staff to take on additional responsibilities and become key players in the organization’s overall strategic game plan.

Managers are finding themselves increasingly responsible for functions traditionally handled by HR, such as employee discipline, health and wellness initiatives and labor relations. This is especially true of a small organization, which may not even have an HR department. More than 99% of U.S. firms have fewer than 500 employees, but HR management research has focused mainly on larger firms. Many smaller companies are ill-prepared for the challenges that accompany organizational growth and need assistance...

About the Authors

Jeffrey S. Hornsby is a professor of human resources and entrepreneurship, department of marketing and management, at Ball State University, Indiana. Donald F. Kuratko is executive director of the Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation at the Kelley School of Business, Indiana University-Bloomington.

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