The Influence Capability of Human Resource Executives on Top Management Committee Members
Ecole des Relations Industrielles, Université de Montréal
HEC Montreal - Department of Management Sciences
December 15, 2009
Relations Industrielles/Industrial Relations, Vol. 64, No. 4, 2009
Over the past few years, an increasing number of authors in the human resource management field have developed an interest in the roles played by HR departments and HR executives in the formulation of the business strategy. However, it is relevant to examine in which context the use of these roles becomes legitimate. According to a number of authors, this is particularly the case when businesses are facing demanding human resource challenges.
Therefore, taking into account the current context characterized by an economy under pressure, HR executives should be in a good position to benefit from such a context to become influential partners within their respective top management committee. However, very little is known about the extent to which members of the top management committee perceive HR executives as having a high capability to influence them. Also, so far, no one has addressed the gap that may exist between the perception of the top management committee members and the perception HR executives hold for themselves with regards to their capability to influence the latter.
In this study, we chose to investigate HR executives who come mainly from the greater Montreal area. In total, we met 41 HR executives for whom we investigated their influence capability. Following the interview, we invited each HR executive to hand out a short questionnaire to each member of the top management committee that they had tried to influence over the last three years.
Results show that, overall, HR executives tend to overestimate their influence capability when compared to the perception of their executive colleagues and chief officer. Finally, this study also confirmed that a good reputation, a solid credibility and high referent power can facilitate the capability of HR executives to influence others.
Keywords: influence, executives, referent power, human resources, credibility, reputation
JEL Classification: M12Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: April 12, 2010
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