HRM and Project Intensification in R&D-Based Companies: A Study of Volvo Car Corporation and AstraZeneca
19 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2006
Projects have become the standard mode of organising R&D activities. The main focus of this paper is to analyse the relationship between the project operations of the R&D-based firm and its Human Resource Management (HRM). This paper draws on a comparative case study of AstraZeneca and Volvo Car Corporation. It is argued that the project intensification currently under way has some important structural and content effects on the HRM practice of the firms. As to the content effects, we identify five critical areas within the HRM practice where special attention is needed due to project intensification. As to the structural effects, we identify two separate logics for HR specialists: the HR-based logic and the task-based logic. These logics give new knowledge about the design of the HR organisation and how the HR departmental structures should be adapted in a project-intensive setting. The case studies also illustrate three alternative roles for line managers when they assume increased HR responsibility.
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