Continuity and change: The role of the HR function in the modern public sector

Catherine Truss*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Citations (Scopus)


As the public sector has modernized and sought to become more efficient and cost-effective, the effective and strategic management of people has received increasing prominence and there have been calls for the Human Resource (HR) function to play a more strategic role. However, not much is known about whether the role of the HR function has changed substantively. In this paper, we present empirical evidence from six matched-pair public sector organizations in the UK to assess whether HR functional roles have changed, as envisaged, into a model more akin to the private sector. The findings highlight the complex and often contradictory nature of HR functional roles, and suggest that new and more strategic roles have not replaced traditional approaches but, rather, have been grafted on, giving rise to a variety of hybrid HR forms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1071-1088
Number of pages18
JournalPublic Administration
Issue number4
Early online date24 Oct 2008
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes

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