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A change of name or a change of identity?: Do job titles influence people management professionals' perceptions of their role in managing change?

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The role and significance of people management professionals in managing change has become increasingly important with the growing ascendancy of "HRM" in its various manifestations. Yet there is persistent concern that "traditional personnel managers" may be less willing or able to act in this arena when compared with apparently new style HR specialists. Is it possible that individuals with an HR job title will perceive their role as more proactive or effective in managing change? The survey findings presented here of 98 people management professionals in a sample of 350 major UK companies, explore four key areas of HRM often closely associated with change management interventions. While the findings indicate important areas of agreement between "personnel" and "HR" sub-groups, defined by job title, they also demonstrate significant differences in role perceptions and evaluations of practice in the change management arena. It is concluded that people management professionals with an HR job title appear to identify more strongly with the change-oriented agenda of HRM. However, there were no significant differences between personnel and HR sub-groups in their perceived effectiveness at managing change. The implications of these findings for the future of the personnel job title are then discussed.
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Keywords: Human Resource Management; Organizational Change; Professionals

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 09 October 2002

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