HR Devolution in the Digital Era: What Sholud We Expect?

Daniela Caterina Isari, Rita Bissola, Barbara Imperatori

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Despite much rhetoric about the need to be strategic, HR professionals have often had difficulty in establishing themselves as credible contributors to organizational performances, facing a legitimacy issue in their relationship with line managers. Adopting a social cognitive theory framework, the present study explores the HR professionals’ perceptions and expectations of the changing roles that HR professionals and line managers could play in a near-future scenario where a set of smart technologies will be applied to HRM. The research design is based on a two-wave survey: it involves 53 HR professionals belonging to the HR department of the Italian branch of one of the biggest international consulting companies which is about to implement a wide digital transformation. Preliminary findings prompt reflections into the role of digital practices in reshaping the relationship between the HR department and line managers, especially in consideration of the role of HR professionals’ technology readiness and tenure. They suggest that HR devolution is not a matter of ‘all or nothing’, but it requires different solutions, which also depend on the nature of the specific HR practice. From a managerial perspective, the paper suggests the paramount importance of sustaining the digital mindset of the HR professionals and their professional image.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHRM 4.0 for human-centered organizations
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Publication series



  • HR devolution
  • HR role
  • digital transformation
  • smart HR practices


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