Human resource function competencies in European companies

Paul Boselie*, Jaap Paauwe

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    Purpose - To provide an overview of recent empirical survey research on human resource competencies in Europe. Design/methodology/approach - The survey data were collected in 2002 in the global human resource competence study (HRCS), an initiative of the University of Michigan. The study was processed online (web-based). The respondents of the European HRCS, the main focus of our empirical analysis in this paper, were HR professionals and line managers of multinational companies located in Europe. Findings - The results suggest that personal credibility and HR delivery have a positive effect on the relative ranking of the HR function and its professionals. According to non-HR respondents strategic contribution is the competency that will lead to financial competitiveness, while HR managers consider business knowledge to be crucial for added value of the HR function. Research limitations/implications - First, the data are cross-sectional and one should therefore be very careful in assuming certain causal relationships between domains and performance. Second, the analyses are built on perception data. Finally, the inclusion of more control variables like "size of the organisation" was limited as a result of missing data. Practical implications - The approach demonstrates how competencies of the HR function (e.g. HR delivery, personal credibility, strategic contribution) can contribute to a stronger position of the HR function within an organization and to agility and long-term viability of an organization (sustainability). Originality/value - This paper gives an overview of the literature on HR roles and introduces the HR competency perspective for strengthening the position of the HR function and the added value of the HR function to the organization's sustainability.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)550-566
    Number of pages17
    JournalPersonnel Review
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 12 Sept 2005


    • Competences
    • Europe
    • Human resource management


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