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Does HRM really matter in bringing about strategic change? Comparative action research in ten European steel firms


  • Hertog, Friso Den
  • Iterson, Ad Van
  • Mari, Christian


Summary This paper discusses the contribution of human resource management to major transformations in ten European steel companies during the 1990s, and is based on an exchange program organized by the European Confederation of Iron and Steel Industries (Eurofer). The study focuses on three aspects of HRM's contribution to strategic change: (1) the context in which change was embedded, (2) the implementation process of the change, and (3) the communication strategies used by management to create trustworthiness regarding the change process. Some firms proved to be supporters of "long marches" (incremental change over an extended period of time), while others were rather involved in "short strokes" (rapid overall change) (cf. [Kanter, R. M., Stein, B. A. and Jick, T. D. (1992). The challenge of organizational change. Free Press, New York]). We conclude that HRM has played a role as strategic partner in most steel companies, particularly those who made short strokes, while also a trend towards closer integration of HRM with line management became evident, primarily in those firms taking long marches.

Suggested Citation

  • Hertog, Friso Den & Iterson, Ad Van & Mari, Christian, 2010. "Does HRM really matter in bringing about strategic change? Comparative action research in ten European steel firms," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 28(1), pages 14-24, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:eurman:v:28:y:2010:i:1:p:14-24

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    Cited by:

    1. Ananthram, Subramaniam & Chan, Christopher, 2013. "Challenges and strategies for global human resource executives: Perspectives from Canada and the United States," European Management Journal, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 223-233.
    2. da Silva Gonçalves Zangiski, Marlene Aparecida & Pinheiro de Lima, Edson & Gouvea da Costa, Sergio E., 2013. "Organizational competence building and development: Contributions to operations management," International Journal of Production Economics, Elsevier, vol. 144(1), pages 76-89.


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