Middle managers promised a bigger role in future decision-making

2009

Around half of board members across the globe say they will be seeking greater insight from their middle managers in future as companies seek to reposition themselves after the downturn, suggests to a new report from the Economist's Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Behind customers (57%), middle managers were identified by 47% of the Management magnified: Getting ahead in a recession report's 229 board level respondents as key to the decision-making process to steer the company out of the downturn.

However, it would seem that despite many people blaming the downturn on human rather financial factors, HR is still one of the last areas of the business to be consulted when major decisions have to be made.

When asked which function had the most input in decision-making 68% said it was finance. Only 18% cited HR with sales (38%), strategy (36%), operations (26%), marketing (34%), and customer services (34%) functions all coming before it.

Asked which functions had least input into major decisions, 41% chose IT followed by HR on 32%. Professionals from human resources were less likely to consulted than colleagues from the sustainability function.

Dr Graham Dietz is a lecturer in HRM at Durham Business School in the North East of England. He told Management Issues that it looked as if the lessons of the impact of human behaviour on business were not being learned.

Deitz: "It doesn't come as a surprise. This has been going on for 20 years. HR is often the bridesmaid but never the bride and if these figures are correct then it looks as if the problem hasn't gone away.

"Human resources issues have wide business consequences. If companies simply pass the business strategy down to HR to implement without getting the function involved in the process of creating it then it is not good for the business," he said.

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