Purpose - The aim of this paper is to examine the impact of organisational restructuring on the devolution of FIRM to middle managers in the Irish health service. Design/methodology/approach - The study involved interviews with a cross-section of 48 FIR and line managers in one area of the Irish health service. Findings - Decision making by both HR and middle managers was adversely affected by the increased layers of bureaucracy that had resulted from the restructuring process. HR managers were devolving FIR activities but were still retaining control of information systems and this was both slowing down middle management decision making and leading to the creation of new databases by the managers themselves. HR managers were emerging as regulators of HR activities. Research limitations/implications - The study was conducted in only one area of the Irish health service and with a limited number of respondents. Originality/value - The study examines the way in which organisational context impacts on the devolution of HR activities to line managers and adds to an understanding of the relationship between HR and middle managers in the devolution of HR activities to line managers.
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