The Delivery Of HRM Within The Organisation And The Role Of Line Managers In Delivery Of HR: Implications For Coca Cola


The aim of current research is to highlight the importance of line managers in execution of human resource management practices. The theoretical aspects of line managers have reflected that contribution of line managers in human resource delivery is important for reducing cost, enhancing speed of decision making and in improving employee related outcomes. The report has implemented line manager’s contribution in Coca cola and along with the appropriateness of leadership style has also been seen in the perspective of Coca Cola.


The line managers have always been contributed in human resource management and they are considered as core element in human resource management process. There are significant benefits associated with involvement of line managers in human resource management process in terms of improved employee related benefits and strengthen relationship of employees and their immediate supervisors. The current report has focused on implication of theoretical aspects regarding contribution of line mangers in human resource management delivery in Coca Cola Company. The Coca Cola is one of the leading player in beverage industry and it has significantly involved its line managers in human resource management execution. The report has been divided into two section. The first section has recommended the application of lien managers in Coca Cola Company by highlighting its several benefits. The second section has incorporated discussion of various styles of leadership which are more suitable for contemporary organizations. Followed by this, the discussion of most effective leadership style has carried out in the light of culture and structural aspects of Coca Cola. The transformational leadership style is suggested to Coca Cola in the light of benefits for effective management of human resource management.

1.Role of Line Managers in HRM Delivery- Coca Cola

The line managers are significantly involved in delivering human resource management as they are the immediate team leaders and supervisors (Malik, Khan, Shah and Gul, 2010). Being in significant interaction with human resources, the line managers are considered as an intermediary between human resource management practice and human resources (Ozcelik and Uyargil, 2015). The Coca cola is highly competitive organization and it has strong base of highly competitive human resources. The research on company has indicated that in Coca Cola line managers are significantly involved in managing human resources and they are receiving substantial support from human resource department. The research on line manager’s contribution has shown that being over burdened with operational responsibilities, the capacity of line managers to engage in human resource management is hindered (Azmi and Mushtaq, 2015). The Col cola company can increase the capacity of their line managers to contribute in delivery of human resource management practices by offering them room to manage both operation and human resource management activities.

Along with this, as indicated by research, the role of middle and line managers is substantially complex and the roles of both are not clear in terms of delivery of human resource management practices (Wigbels, 2015). The role clarity is needed to be ensured by Coca Cola Company in the way that line managers should be well aware of their role of motivating and inspiring employees.  Likewise, the line managers are highly relying on policies and procedures to recognize their roles regarding execution of human resource management (Storey, 2007) and these roles need to be clarified by the Coca Cola Company. The clarification of human resource management execution policies can enhance the effectiveness of line managers.

Moreover, the skills of managing human resources is required in line managers and effective training of line managers is mandatory (Savaneviciene and Stankeviciute, 2012). The Coca Cola Company has highly qualified staff and line managers are well aware of the leadership styles and their intricacies. There is no requirement of extensive training program for line managers to execute human resource management practices, yet few awareness programs could be carried out with an aim of educating line managers. The knowledge of line managers can be enhanced about contemporary strategic human resource management practices, such as they should be conveyed about the importance of employee empowerment for enhancing performance levels of employees (Datta, Guthrie and Wright, 2005). Along with this, the line managers must be aware of motivational approaches which can help them in inspiring and motivating human resources of the company. Likewise, the line managers need to know about the importance of delegating authority to human resources in order to enhance the enthusiasm and commitment level of their human resources. Being, highly innovative company, the Coca Cola needs to engage both HR and line in management of human resources with an aim of coping with competitive challenges of contemporary environment.

Along with this, the line managers can feel reluctant to get engage in human resource management related activities (Dowling, 2008). The high resistance of line managers can cause ambiguities in implementation process of human resource management and Coca Cola needs to overcome resistance of line managers to take their responsibility in human resource management delivery. Currently, the Coca cola has actively engaged line managers, yet they are reluctant to offer feedback to human resources due to potential role ambiguities between their operational and human resource activities. Likewise, the human resource devolution perspective is indicating that when involved in human resource management, the line managers can handle employee relations in effective manner (Evans, 2016). Given this perspective, the Coca Cola needs to engage line managers for strengthening relationship with employees and their immediate supervisor. This relationship perspective is recognized as leader member exchange and it plays significant role in generating positive employee related outcomes (Edgar, Geare and O'Kane, 2015). It is note able that affect based trust is recognized as significant factor for enhancing effectiveness of human resource function within organization and Coca cola can generate higher levels of affect based trust by increasing line manager’s contribution in human resource management execution.

Similarly, the line managers can help Coca Cola in reducing lead times of decision making process. Being in closer interaction with employees, the line managers can detect performance related issues immediately and decisions regarding performance improvement can be made by them in less time (Friedman, 2009). In comparison to it, when middle or senior management is involved in decision making process regarding human resources, then decision making takes more time (Paul and Anantharaman, 2003). Additionally, outsourcing of human resource function creates ambiguities and along with increasing cost it also lowers the speed of decision making process (Gilbert, De Winne and Sels, 2011). Alternatively, involving line managers in human resource function helps in minimization of cost and it also improves overall efficiency of the process. The line managers are also benefited from cross training processes and the Coca Cola Company should focus on offering training regarding human resource management processes. Finally, according to the perspective of human resource triad, the Coca Cola can develop partnership between human resource department, line managers and employees, such that they all can combine their functions for effective delivery of human resources management. The triad approach demands for an integrated approach of human resource management encompassing contribution of all three parties (Gomez-Mejia, Balkin and Cardy, 2004).

2.Effective Leadership Styles for line managers

Any initiative within organization is implemented through people and effective human resources are crucial for successful implementation of new strategies and programs (Eagly et al., 2003).  Along with this, the new initiatives always come with change and appropriate management of change requires effective style of leadership (Paul and Anantharaman, 2003). The line managers being at the frontier of organization, are responsible for getting jobs done through people and they play significant role in delivering human resource management practices (Storey, 2007). Given this view, it is the key responsibility of line managers to inspire human resources of organization with an aim of enhancing level of their performance in long run. Therefore, selection of right leadership style is key of success and it can enhance effectiveness of line managers in delivering human resource management.

The effectiveness of leadership style is needed to be established in the light of role of line managers in human resource management delivery. It has been identified from the literature that line managers are closer to the employees and they can affect their performance level (Sosik and Godshalk, 2000). The closer relationship is mainly based on trust and leaders who distribute power among their employees and rely on participative style of leadership are likely to gain trust of their employees. The trusted leaders are better able to handle conflict among employees and they are actively listened by their employees (Leban and Zulauf, 2004). The line managers relying on participative style of leadership can enhance employee involvement and engagement and performance related issues can be significantly reduced by them through encouraging employees to work with their full potential.  

Likewise, an important role of line managers being mentioned in literature in that they are facilitators of information and act as an intermediary between management and employees (Aronson, 2001). Therefore, any likely change and any new strategy implementation is communicated to employees by line managers and their style of leadership contributes in their convincing abilities. It is important to note that transformational style of leadership is considered as important in exciting the employees purposefully for implementation for change. The transformational leaders are in better position to encourage their employees to develop greater sense of flexibility, such that their resistance for change can be reduced and they can contribute for execution of new strategy in effective way (Bass and Stogdill, 1990).  Therefore, it can be argued that line managers can overcome resistance of human resources by encouraging them throughout the change implementation process and motivating them based on their charismatic personality and transformational style of leadership.

Followed by this, the effective management of human resources rests in the hands of managers and line managers are considered as immediate supervisors of individual employees and teams (Bhatti et al., 2012). The human resources require significant support from their supervisors and line managers have lesser sense of distance with human resources and they can offer huge support to them. Based on this notion, the style of leadership should incorporate the notion of guiding employees and offering them direction so that they can work for growth of organization. It has been seen that transformational leaders are involved in effective communication of vision to employees and then stimulate human resources for achieving that vision. They offer support to workforce in coordination of activities (Giltinane, 2013). Therefore, the role of supporting the workforce requires transformational style of leadership as it encompasses individualized consideration and employees feel valued members of organization.

3.1 Leadership Style of managers in Coca Cola

The Coca Cola is one of the leading beverage company and their success is based on the selection and retention of highly motivating human resources. The extent to which Coca cola has become successful in motivating its employees, lies in the right selection of leadership style. It has been indicated by the researchers that Coca cola’s culture is supported by transformational and democratic style of its leaders. The evidence has indicated that different leadership styles are adopted under different situations by the management (The Coca-Cola Company, 2016). However, the major reliance is maintained on democratic leadership style in which managers are involved in sharing decision power with group members and encourage them to take responsibilities (Ojokuku, Odetayo and Sajuyigbe, 2012). The employees are offer empowerment and they are fostered to generate new ideas for promoting innovation within organization.

The line managers in Coca cola are highly engaged in encouraging creativity among work force. The Coca Cola is innovative among the beverage industry and it is owning five leading brands. The innovation capability of the company is enhanced through contribution of its creative human resources and enhancement of creativity is encouraged by line mangers. Evidently, the line mangers are relying on effective leadership style and by adopting democratic style, they can engage employees in effective manner. However, the democratic style is abed on the notion where responsibility of failure is offered to employees who make decisions (Choudhary, Akhtar and Zaheer, 2013). Therefore, the fear of failure may hinder the creativity level of employees and innovation may suffer in long run.

The contemporary organizations can gain competitive advantage by relying on two core aspects; one is innovative workforce and second is flexible structure (Javed, Jaffari and Rahim, 2014). The Coca cola has successfully gained excellence in both perspectives. However, in terms of leadership styles of line managers to manage human resources in effective way, the transformational style can be implemented by them. The transformational style of line managers can enables them to closely work with human resources (subordinates) with an aim of identify the required change in their approach and practices (Van Dierendonck et al., 2014). They work by being partner with employees and it helps them in inspiring the workforce for achieving the vision. The Coca cola has a diverse and integrated vision consisting of people, portfolio, partners, planet, profit and productivity. The company has a diverse set of portfolio and new products are being continuously introduced by the company that are fostered by innovative work force of company (The Coca-Cola Company, 2016). Therefore, in order to realize the visions of Coca cola, the line managers can adopt transformational style as they transformational leader can inspire change and innovation based on technology can be accepted by employees.

Along with this, the motivation and morale of employees is highly desired by the Coca cola in order to sustain their excellence in industry. It has been highlighted in the literature of strategic human resource management that transformational leadership comes under the universality approach and it can be applied in contemporary organizations as a best practice (Asrar-ul-Haq and Kuchinke, 2016). The transformational leader has the ability to connect self-identity of workforce with collective identity of organization, which is the way of motivating employees with the aim of enhancing their self-worth. The line mangers of Coca Cola can motivate employees for carrying out their routine tasks and they can also enhance their morale for indulging in extra role behaviours. Being in closer interaction with employees, the line managers have the responsibility of enhancing employee’s level of engagement at work. The transformational line managers can arouse the interest of human resources to participate in a given activity by becoming the role model. They also have the characteristic of challenging followers to take ownership of their work, so the engagement level of workforce can enhance. The Coca cola

The structure and culture of Coca Cola is also in line with the requirement of transformational leadership. The transformational leader empowers employees in order to stimulate them and the Coca Cola Company is also characterized by its flat structured where employees are offered discretion to participate in decision making process. The structure of Coca Cola is notified by team based management where line managers are only responsible for offering them performance related feedback and their involvement in directing employees vigorously is limited. Therefore, the transformational leadership is well aligned with structural aspects of the Coca cola. Along with this, the innovative culture of company demands for leadership style which can support the innovation in best possible manner (Mandell and Pherwani, 2003). Given this requirement, the transformational line managers can encourage them for pursuing new opportunities and they can also motivate them for creative thinking. The transformational leader can foster mutual stimulation and it the transformational line mangers could become moral agents for their workforce with an aim of raising them to the highest level of motivation required for bringing innovation (Leban and Zulauf, 2004).

Along with this, by incorporating transformational leadership style, the line managers can become successful in enhancing the enthusiasm level of work force and can increase emotional involvement and commitment of workforce (Malik, Khan, Shah and Gul, 2010). Mainly, the focus of line managers is on delivering human resource management practices in the way that can help them in enhancing the commitment of work force. The human resources of Coca Cola are serving as the main pillar behind excellence of company and the transformational line managers can further enhance the level of their commitment and enthusiasm. Similarly, the transformational line managers are intellectual stimulators who can help the human resources in challenging the old assumptions with an aim of accepting the new development in appropriate manner. 

Finally, it is note able that transformational leadership is highly beneficial in uncertain environmental conditions and there are some situations which could require adjustment in leadership style (Javed, Jaffari and Rahim, 2014). Therefore, according to view of contingency leadership theory, the line mangers could modify their leadership style. However, the higher reliance is needed to be maintained on transformational style of leadership and it is significantly applicable in Coca Cola as well.


The line manager are considered as significant player in management of human resources within organization and they are in immediate interaction with human resources which makes them most relevant personnel for detecting performance related problems and offering feedback for improvement. The human resource triad has suggested that line managers need to get in partnership with human resource department and employees such that they need to perform human resource functions in integration with each other. The line managers of Coca Cola are well trained about execution of human resource management practices and many improvements are suggested to Coca Cola in terms of implementation of human resources. Along with this, the democratic and transformational style of leadership are found to be aligned with culture of contemporary organization. The existing leadership style of line managers of coca Cola is democratic leadership style. However, the transformational leadership style is recommended to the line managers of Coca Cola as it is most suitable for them to enhance motivation and inspiration of employees. Along with this, in order to fulfil innovative vision of Coca Cola Company through human resources, the charismatic leadership style is considered as effective.




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