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UNIT In recent years, Nigeria has witnessed



Nigeria is believed to be the most populous country in
Africa with an estimated population of over 200 million people currently. Nigeria’s
human resource base has made it one of the most attractive havens for foreign
investors in Africa. With an increase in the involvement of both international
and local organizations in Nigeria, there is urgent need to build revolutionize
Human resource management by developing capabilities and utilizing local
competencies.  According to (Fajara,
2011), the knowledge of human resource management (HRM) and more importantly
perhaps, understanding of the factors that impact on HRM in Nigeria will become
increasingly critical to the way business is done in Nigeria and ultimately its
success.  HRM policies and practices are
carried out within an economic, social, political and legal environment. Assess
Human resource management and strategic human resource management practices in
Nigeria; I suppose that they seem to have challenges that can be said to be
most familiar to most country.

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The Devolvement of HRM to Line Managers in Nigeria is a
significant challenge for HRM, line managers, and organizations.  In recent years, Nigeria has witnessed a
steady rise in managerially strong human resource department that has given
room to the need to devolve most of the human resource authority to line
managers in agreement with (Holt-Larsen & Brewster, 2003).  The acceptance of this devolution of human
resource management to line manager in Nigeria and Africa at large is gradually
gaining approval because of the numerous challenges that come with it. In
contrast, research in Europe shows that there is a widespread acceptance of HR
department passing on more of their responsibilities to the line managers to
restrict the level of control and autonomy they have (Holt-Larsen &
Brewster, 2003).  This change is as a
result of the trend that favors management through cost centers, the need to
integrate human resources management to day-to-day management, business
knowledge-based Human resource management that is customer friendly and the
need to make urgent decisions. For a Multinational company like Ecobank
Transnational Incorporated (ETI), the change has been gradual. Over the three
years, I worked in this organization; this overlap is taken care of in such a
manner that both the HR department and the line managers can cope with it. As
more of the HRM roles moves to the line managers, redundant HR professionals
are either redeployed to other departments or disengaged. On the part of the
line managers, their workload increased substantially but not in proportion to
their benefits. The organization seems to have benefited from the devolvement
because the cost reduced and staff are now being more engaged with the task at
no additional cost to the company. There were also departments that the
devolvement hurt as the line managers due to their unwillingness to learn the
HR roles passed on to them thoroughly, were less effective and efficient in
carrying out their task and as a result, the organization suffered a loss in
some areas. The practical problems associated with this devolvement for line
managers are as follows; lack of interest and not taking responsibility. Lack
of time to be useful, knowledge gap in dealing with HR problems effectively,
not being abreast with current HR trends, not being strategic in handling human
resource management issues, to maintain competitive advantage and poor policy
formulation on HR issues (Holt-Larsen & Brewster, 2003). 


There are numerous potential benefits of the devolvement of
human resource responsibilities to line managers in the modern global
organization. According to (Holt-Larsen & Brewster, 2003), the evolution of
human resources roles to line managers is of great benefit to the line manager
because it gives them more room to have autonomy over their team of staff
through their traditional organization structure is being altered by a less
distinct function. It implies that they have more power to keep their team
members motivated an engaged. The size of the Human resource department will be
affected by this devolution as much work is passed on to the line managers,
leaving the Human resource department with less work to do. In most cases, this
can prompt the organizations to downsize the HR department to reduce overhead
cost. Though this causes loss of job for staff in any company, the firm stands
to gain be cost reduction. In my opinion, the firm has more to achieve with the
devolvement of HR department to line managers because, in recent times, the
decrease in the size of the Human resource department is well accepted
(Holt-Larsen & Brewster, 2003). The devolution will create more pressure on
human resource professionals to prove their worth and standout in the

Ulrich (1995) suggested four recent roles for Human resource
management; change agent, strategic partner, administrative expert and employee
champion. Strategic partners and change agents in their overlap with line
managers serve as internal consultants. This overlap is needful in the area of
policy formulation, to develop policies that are jointly agreeable and have
been argued for implementation to be realistic (Holt-Larsen & Brewster,
2003).  For Ecobank transnational
incorporated to leverage on the overlap between HR and line management for
improved efficiency, the partnership is essential for this devolvement to be
successful. In support of the benefit of devolvement in Ecobank transnational
incorporated as a human resource professional, I am in total agreement of human
resource management concentrating on strategic partnership and change agent
roles. For this to be possible, the employee champion and the administrative
expert position must be passed on to the line managers in an efficient and
effective manner for competence and compliance sake. Another way efficiency can
be improved in ETI is by repositioning the human resource department to be able
to add value to the company by seeing and treating the rest of the organization
as customers and keeping abreast with the business need or the company
(Schuler, 1990).  Welch (1994), proposed
that human resource management should be concerned with strategy formulation
instead of implementation.


Company staffing policy is a significant indicator when it
comes to recruitment in the subsidiaries of ETI.  The geocentric approach is used by Ecobank
transnational incorporated, in their recruitment approach. According to
Perlmutter (1969), the best people are recruited and used for essential job
positions throughout the MNC regardless of their nationality. Sparrow (2007),
argued that human resource roles in multinational organizations, are confronted
with a lot of challenges, but three main observations about the function of
Human resource specialist working in the area of international recruitment and
selection can be made. The added value of the HR function in a global company
lies in its ability to administer the delicate balance between internationally
co-ordinated systems and sensitivity to local needs, including cultural
differences, in a way that supports both business needs and senior management
ideals. The role of the line managers in recruitment cannot be overemphasized.
For hiring to be rightly done both the human resource professional and the line
manager must collaborate in making this happen.


In conclusion, I will encourage the organization to support
the devolution of HR department because the benefits far outweigh the
disadvantages if rightly done. I also believe that geocentric firms have every
cause to rejoice because they own the future. Human resource specialist needs
to embrace this transformation and adapt to the change, or their demise will
not be sooner than later. They should see themselves as businesspersons who
functions as a business executive. They should be more than just a personnel
specialist but needs to understand and communicate how human resource programs
directly impact business objectives and bottom line. They should become an
agent of change, by anticipating and focusing on the management of change.  They need to help articulate and build
evolving company culture and value system by becoming a driving force in making
change happen in attitudes, behavior, and skills. Be a consultant to the
organization and act as a partner to line managers, an advisor, and counselor
on human resource matters to CEO and other senior managers.  Earn acceptance by being a creative problem
solver, a strategic planner—formulator and implementer. Integrate planning into
corporate human resource strategic planning process (Schuler, 1990). 



Fajama, S. (2011) Human resource management practices in
Nigeria. Journal of Management and Strategy. 2 (2) pp. 1-3


Holt-Larsen, H. & Brewster, C. (2003) Line management
responsibility for HRM: What is happening in Europe? Employee Relations. 25(3)


Perlmutter, H. (1969) The tortuous evolution of the
multinational corporation. Columbia Journal of World Business. 4(1) pp.9-18.


Plourde, Y., Parker, S.C. & Schaan, J.-L. (2014)
Expatriation and its effect on headquarters’ attention in the multinational
enterprise. Strategic Management Journal. 35(6) pp.938–947


Schuler, R. (1990) Repositioning the human resource
function: Transformation or demise. Academic of Management Executive. 4(3)


Sparrow, P. (2007) Globalization of HR at the functional
level: Four case studies of the international recruitment, selection, and
assessment process. International Journal of Human Resource Management. 18(5)


Ulrich, D. (1995) Share service: From Vogue to value. Human
Resource Planning. 18(3) pp. 12-23.


Welch, D. (1994) Determinants of international human
resource management approaches and practices: A suggested framework. Journal of
Management Studies. 31(2) pp.139-164.







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