The role of HRM and HR managers has evolved over the years. HR managers are now held in higher regard than they were in the past. Scholars have shifted their focus from examining the position of HR managers to analyzing the specific roles that they play in an organization. There is a shift from the traditional ‘set roles to ‘extended set roles when it comes to modern HR managers. HRM frameworks dictate the selection of HR managers. On the other hand, HR managers are expected to operate in accordance with certain HR functions irrespective of their professional prominence. There are several frameworks that seek to explain the selection criteria of HR managers in relation to HRM. For instance, Dave Ulrich’s model specifies that HRM has four distinct roles that touch on the administrative, industrial, innovative, and sophisticated functions of an organization. Another HR model that is known as Storey’s model proposes that personnel management can be divided into four roles; change-makers, advisers, regulators, and handmaidens. Monk’s HR model outlines four roles of Employee management namely traditional/administrative, traditional/industrial relations, innovative/professional, and innovative/sophisticated. The three major HR models have definite similarities but they are all fundamentally different. Most HR models come under sharp theoretical and practical criticism for not satisfying basic HR frameworks. The validity of any HR model depends on its practical applications. This study was particularly original because it focuses on HR managers’ roles during mergers. Furthermore, the study concentrates on David Ulrich’s four roles of HR to evaluate the role played by HR managers during mergers. The study is also a positive contribution to HRM because it uses real-life case studies to validate Ulrich’s four models.
The reasons for using Ulrich’s model in this study are many including the fact that this model has been able to withstand both theoretical and practical criticism. The role of HR managers during mergers starts with their potential to become change creators in a particular organization. This position gives HR managers justifiable prominence within an organization. There is empirical evidence to indicate that the role of HR managers is constantly changing. However, some stakeholders argue that while HRM has changed over time, the role of HR managers is not in constant change. Nevertheless, there is research that can be used as a guide to the elevated positions that are played by HR managers. Mergers are a good example of the efforts of change-makers within an organization. HR managers are listed as some of the factors that influence mergers in an organization. In addition, HR managers are usually at the center of merger proceedings. The HR manager experiences several challenges in the course of merger proceedings. Some of the most critical stages of a merger include the pre-merger stage and the strategic planning and organization stage. There are other steps in the course of a merger including the searching, analysis, and offer stages. HR managers’ role in mergers is mostly witnessed during the post-merger integration. In the post-merger period, HR managers will actively seek to manage the process by ensuring a smooth procedural, sociocultural, and physical integration. Overall, HR managers work hard to ensure that their organizations are able to initiate successful partnerships with others. Some of the roles that are strategically played by HR managers include staffing the merger process, rightsizing, and managing the effects of mergers on employees.