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Managing ward managers for roles in HRM in the NHS: Overworked and under-resourced

Hutchinson, Sue; Purcell, John


Sue Hutchinson

John Purcell


Drawing on case study research in seven NHS Trusts, this article considers the role and management of ward managers and paramedic supervisors, focusing on their human resource management (HRM) responsibilities. In the National Health Service (NHS), these front-line managers are critical to the delivery of effective HRM and thereby strongly influence organisational performance and service delivery. However, despite the mounting literature on leadership and performance in health care, little is known about this body of managers who have been generally neglected by academics and practitioners. This article seeks to address these shortcomings by considering the content and practice of these junior managers' role, their work experiences and factors that influence their ability to deliver effective HRM. The findings reveal that the roles of these managers have been enhanced and extended to include an extensive portfolio of HR duties but is subject to considerable constraint. The multiplicity of roles these managers are required to perform has magnified issues of role conflict and ambiguity, heavy workloads and stress. Fundamentally, however, these managers lacked support from senior managers and the HR function. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Hutchinson, S., & Purcell, J. (2010). Managing ward managers for roles in HRM in the NHS: Overworked and under-resourced. Human Resource Management Journal, 20(4), 357-374.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Nov 1, 2010
Journal Human Resource Management Journal
Print ISSN 0954-5395
Electronic ISSN 0954-5395
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 4
Pages 357-374
Keywords ward managers, front line managers, NHS, HRM
Public URL
Publisher URL