Emerging HRM skills in Australia

Robin Kramar, Peter Steane*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to report on a study which explores trends in the role (what is done) of human resources (HR) in general and the role of line managers in managing people. The study developed from claims for the transformation of the HR role. It aims to explore trends in the role and new competencies which are being developed. Design/methodology/approach - The authors carried out qualitative, semi-structured interviews of 53 HR professionals across a range of industries and organisational sizes. Findings - The findings indicate that managers expect HR will increasingly encompass responsibilities for developing human capital as a strategic imperative of business, as well as the traditional operational executor/functional expert roles. Research limitations/implications - While the paper identifies competencies expected in the HR role at present, as well as emerging competencies required by both HR and line managers, it invites a more generalizable study in the future. Practical implications - The findings suggest a greater shift in strategic importance for HRM. Emergent competencies in other areas are identified, such as advocacy, conflict management, and succession and leadership development. Originality/value - The paper shows that both HR and line managers will continue to be functional specialists, with a trend for role-segmentation in the profession, as well as showing a need for a different mix of competencies, depending on career path and time.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-157
Number of pages19
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Australia
  • Career development
  • Competencies
  • Human resource management
  • Managers
  • Roles
  • Skills


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