HR Managers’ Specific Roles

Subject: Management
Pages: 10
Words: 2815
Reading time:
11 min
Study level: PhD

The ability to harmonize human resource management of an organization with strategic business dynamics and reflect on particularistic policy frameworks forms the key to higher productivity and profitability. This has been the case due to the constant changing business environment that dictates the mode of organizations’ operations needed to achieve established objectives. Marc and Purcell (2009, p.38) explain that human resource management form an important platform for leveling organizations with local and international demand. The latter is possible because organizations can be strategically located and empowered to foresee the need for articulating new systems.

Such systems can be employed by employees in boosting productivity. It is against this consideration that this paper seeks to evaluate human resource management from a case study on the merger between the Middle East Emirates Bank International and the National Bank of Dubai using Dave Ulrich’s employee champion and change agent framework. The paper also explores how these frameworks can be applied in order to gather the highest levels of competitive advantage for an organization. Using the necessary theoretical frameworks, the paper examines the major areas that the human resource managers (HRMs) in a merger can address so as to maintain high productivity, positive culture, and sustainable profitability (Stone & Ron 2007, p.103).

A brief overview of the merger

Mergers and acquisitions by companies have become very critical in maintaining market capitalization, sustainability and subsequent organizational developments. Through such business arrangements, the Middle East Emirates Bank International merger with National Bank of Dubai has been able to bring a new focus as more resources have been made available towards implementing key changes needed to prove the overall productivity and market demand. On the same note, the merger has not merely reduced non-constructive competition but has also vitalized its human resource management in effecting the necessary organizational changes that can allow a perfect fit of departments and their respective roles.

The essence of forming any merger as Cascio (2006, p.46) argues is largely dependent on the need to infer stronger guidance and create focus in operations. The Middle East Emirates Bank International merger with National Bank of Dubai was executed in March 2007 through the committee of managing directors alongside with members derived from both mother companies. The reason for the merger between these two giant companies was to further the already high growth rate of both businesses and also improve service delivery in the banking industry. Emerging as a leading financial institution in the region was also another objective of the merger. When the two business enterprises merged, the financial scale of the new enterprise led to massive stability in terms of profitability and overall marketing demand.

Since its formation, the progress of the merger and the strategic management assimilated by its leadership has been the key towards profitability. From previously assimilated management matrix, the merger adopted specific goals and strategic business practices that shifted to a long term consideration of extending the activities making it quite easy to project their profit margin to AED 7.1 billion. This was an increase of 50 per cent per year. One key evident aspect in the operations of the merger centers on resource consolidation. According to Bolman and Deal (2008, p.3), the ability of any organization to evaluate and create an avenue for resource consolidation is very critical for success to be achieved.

An analysis of HRMs role in the merger

Dave Ulrich proposes four key models necessary in the analysis of the roles of a human resource manager in a merger. Those four human resources (HR) models become crucial components that business partnerships must employ in order to succeed in HR management. Ulrich lists the four roles that are critical. Two of the roles were used in the merger between Middle East Emirates Bank International and the National Bank of Dubai. Those that were used by its HRM include employee champion of operations and welfare of employees in the new business entity as well as acting as agents of change whenever new strategies are being adopted and implemented.

Employee champion


Human resource in an organization forms the most important factor that dictates the ability of an organization to strongly establish itself and meet new objectives. Its management plays some vital HR championing roles whereby workers’ welfare, their motivation, appraisal and safety are central points of focus. The latter aspects determine the overall productivity and profitability of an institution.

Human resource management of employee champion in the Middle East Emirates Bank International and the National Bank of Dubai merger have mainly centered on improving employees’ efficiency in the provision of banking services. One key element that comes out of from the case study is the improvement of training in order to enhance employees’ development capacity.

LaForge et al (2007, p.53) view HR championing as one of the most critical aspects of administration in the sense that employee championing aids in creating the necessary forces for articulating employee activities, organizational policies and overseeing training procedures and practices. Training in this case provides workers in the merger with adequate skills necessary to handle new tasks and opportunities created.

Dave Ulrich stresses the importance of best practices in human resource management theory by indicating that training seeks to create an intrinsic outset in the management of labor towards pre-established goals. It considers the application of training as a unique human resource management framework in an organization. The aforementioned creates two key implications that greatly matter in motivating and championing employees (Weightman 2008, p.61). Employee championing through training creates a different working environment to employees within the merger.

Team operations

One of the key responsibilities of HR managers that is evident from the merger is to ensure that employees of both the merged companies work as a team for high productivity. Human resource management should seek to infer teamwork at all levels of organizational operations. According to Keynes (2007, p.51), team operations are based on the need to collectively own variant results in an organization. Operations within the framework of teams enable all employees to participate maximally in the realization of objectives set out for an organization. Encouraging operations of teams act as an indirect mode of bringing down the management to the lower levels of business operations. As a result, the teams are able to operate as partially independent sub-components of the overall umbrella of the merger. A human resources manager through encouraging team participation would therefore promote autonomy in the merger operations and reduce the need for supervision of subordinates by their seniors.

Recruitments and promotions to attract and retain top talent

According to Calvin (2007, p.81), HR managers should seek to use the best recruitment systems that guarantee adoption of most qualified staff to work in an organization. As indicated earlier, employees of an organization act as the image of the institution both internally and externally. In the Middle East Emirates Bank International and the National Bank of Dubai merger, the HR management has sought to reach the qualified and talented employees and bring them to the organization in order to facilitate its ability to achieve the set objectives.

Promotions as a motivation factor is critical in the merger since it is a major HRM practice that has seen the merger grow in strength. It has been assimilated as part of the merger’s culture to encourage creativity and innovation in employee operations.

This is particularly very effective from a teamwork perspective since emerging leaders are easily identified and promoted to managerial positions. Similar to operation of teams, promotions enable stronger ties between employees and HR managers owing to their acceptance at both the lower and higher levels of management (Gareth 2004, p.61). Due to promotions, employees are able to relate more positively with their management teams because they easily identify with their leaders and therefore reduces their resistance to propositions and new changes injected in an organisation (Hatch 2000, p.29).

Human resource management and change agent

In terms of change, Ulrich seeks to evaluate the changes that occur in human resource management and their implications in organizations. He indicates that the latter is achieved by deviating from the commonly employed mechanistic model. The mechanistic scientific management theory seeks to create a highly bureaucratic system of organizational structure whereby strong centralization of ideas are followed (Oxford Business Group 2006, p.74). However, Ulrich’s model indicates that by focusing on the better change models and frameworks, an organization is able to make huge advances in terms of performance.

In the merger between the Middle East Emirates Bank International and the National Bank of Dubai, the strategic focus of ensuring change and transformation has been an important leadership activity of the HRM. This role has been critical in the sense that it calls for competence by ensuring that the set organization’s objectives are met by assisting employees to accept and embrace change that comes with a merger. Change management has become a critical factor that most mergers seeking to break from particularistic cultures adopt. Kurt Lewin in his theory of organization change supports this notion through the freezing and refreezing model and indicates that it is very important for a merger in adopting a common culture and ensuring that the same is accepted in an organization.

One of the reasons for the success of the merger between Middle East Emirates Bank International mergers with National Bank of Dubai is the adoption of change. According to Astorino (2009, p. 3), the major role of an HR manager in a merger scenario is to act as a change agent within an organization. It is clear that the duty of human resource management have assimilated a high result-driven model that seeks to employ all the available techniques for addressing existing organizational problems. As noted earlier, the task becomes even more significant due to the dynamic and unpredictable nature of the existing organizational culture.

Although Harold’s and Heinz’s (2006, p.37) argument differ with this consideration, it is no doubt that the top management is better placed to enhance change within an organization. Achieving this requires viewing an organization from multiple dimensions. Such dimensions include the staff point of view, the organization demand and strategies, and the required cost that derives their comparative abilities. As already mentioned, change roles by human resources management is based on the need to have a continuous system that generates the best system for addressing any work related aspect an therefore infer the need for continued improvement.

As a change agent, an HR manager is able to generate the necessary assessment of working conditions and the workers’ perceptions that determine how effective they perform their roles. Cohen and Morrison (2000, p.21) note that globalization trends have generated the need for inclusive review of all the strategies used to achieve various change objectives in an organization. Perhaps, in the perspective of HRM roles, this is indeed very critical owing to the different conditions that are posed by variant work environments and employees created by a merger. All these factors affect an organization as a whole be it directly or indirectly.

Unlike other workers in their organizations, an HR manager is able to articulate the need for change as a factor of harmonizing operations and also generating higher levels of productivity and profitability. Owing to the complexity nature of Middle East Emirates Bank International and the National Bank of Dubai merger banking operations especially at the international level and the application of new technology as well as the need for improvement, its HR manager is indeed best placed to coordinate programs that promote homogeneity of operations and products availed to the consumers (Chuck 2007, p.92). From the above discussions, change is based on the need to continuously improve the products’ quality and therefore raise customer’s value.

It has been argued by international human resources managers and practitioners that an HR manager within a merger should seek to offer the correct platform for change to employees in order to enhance their ability to accept decisions. This is probably the case in the Middle East Emirates Bank International and the National Bank of Dubai merger. By providing the necessary platform for change, its HR manager has allowed the localization of the merger’s international strategies to fit within the context of organization strategies.

Though care should be taken to prevent excessive autonomy of staff and employees, Kurtz (2008, p.93) argues that that they form the best platform for promoting change. He adds that despite an HR manager having access to the management records, workers and employees may be well placed to cite the need for change due to their experience in workplace operation. In this case, cooperation should be based on the interlink between staff and management at all levels so that an HR management can be effective.

Arquilla (2007, p.102) points out that whereas organizational culture remains a major hurdle in a merger towards effecting change in employee operations, human resources managers have been deemed critical in determining how effective a given culture would operate to generate change strategies. In order to achieve this, it was noted that there is need to generate an intrinsic involvement of employees in the change agenda.

This will not merely draw their attention towards key improvements, but will make change to begin with their participation. In this respect, the role of HRM becomes a factor of production as employees will contribute to the change as part of their own making. This concurs with Ulrich’s model bearing in mind that it is a major strategy for harmonizing the necessary organization culture based on values and objectivity needed to generate high productivity for the company.

The role of human resources management is brought out as a critical strategic practice that must create the necessary drive for change and employee satisfaction within an organization and its operations. With special reference to employee championing, Kotler et al (2008, p.84) observe that all employees in an organization should be satisfied with their working environment, salaries and compensations among other necessities that relate to their work.

Was strategic player or administrative expert used in the merger?

Strategic player

The role of a strategic player is not very vivid in the case study of Middle East Emirates Bank International and the National Bank of Dubai merger. Whereas the role of a strategic partner as some would argue encompasses almost all the other four roles by Ulrich, the evolution of thinking notes that this particular role focuses on multiple dimensions like consultancy, knowledge management and business expertise.

In their publication, the Oxford Business Group (2007, p.27) evaluate the implications of a strategic player in human resources management theory towards improving the ability of an organization to raise the level of its productivity at different categories of production. However, in this merger, the human resource managers appears to strategically articulate effective mechanisms that create room for change in the organization, a sense of identity for employees, and better communication between employees and their managers.

Administrative expert

According to Ulrich’s framework, the contributions of an administrative expert in an organization by human resource managers’ (HRM) are critical for business growth. However, this appears to be lacking in the case study merger. Of note is the role of an administrative expert which is mainly central to value. This from the evolution of thinking is delivered through technology and other administrative efficiencies. An HRM expert’s roles would include expanding the role of a functional expert through formulating interventions, menus and policies which is lacking in this case study (Chava and Nachmias 2007, p.65). Kotler et al (2008, p.76) indicate that for an organization to be effective in articulating objectivity, a holistic articulation of employee championing and change models must be enunciated.


To sum up, the ability of an HR manager to champion employees and infer required management changes in an organization relies on the manager’s capacity to comprehend the existing organizational culture and its effect on a merger. This is very crucial as noted in the merger between Middle East Emirates Bank International and National Bank of Dubai. This understanding will enable the generation of changes necessary for a new culture that promotes organization strategies.

The reason for understanding organizational culture is based on the fact that the underlying cultural values, beliefs, communication, perceptions, and relationships among employees are critical factors for improvement since they determine how effectively operations will be assimilated. In this regard, all employees at different levels should be factored in the process of change in order to promote the effectiveness of a merger through creativity and innovation.

However, attaining success in a merger is indeed one of the most difficult aspects both in terms of aligning the different organizational values and work cultures. The success of Middle East Emirates Bank International merger with the National Bank of Dubai has been strategically planned through competent massive team involvement so as to effect change from an established organizational culture.


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