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Line managers and HRM: A managerial discretion perspective


Line managers play a central role in HRM practices, but research and theory on how their role is enacted remains underdeveloped. This paper presents a case study of a large U.K.‐based fashion retailer and uses managerial discretion theory to develop a novel understanding of line managers' contribution to the implementation of HRM practices. We describe three distinct ways in which line managers engage with HRM policies and procedures, and propose that line managers make an important contribution to the effective implementation of HRM systems through exerting their cognitive and political abilities to bring about decisions that are well suited to their local situations. Moreover, we find that HR specialists design and manage HRM policies and procedures to afford different levels of managerial discretion in different areas of HRM.

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