‘Hard HR’ threatens the employees, says employers’ union

American-inspired HR departments weaken workers’ rights, Norway’s Organisation of Managers and Executives (Lederne) believes.

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Jan Olav Brekke (left) describes the new HR departments as a pure service agency for senior management. Foto: Fredrik Refvem

Personnel departmentsare being replaced with US-inspired pureHuman Resources (HR) departments in an increasing number of Norwegiancompanies.

“Two out of threeexperience the new HR departments as being a pure service agency for seniormanagement,” Lederne shop steward Jan Olav Brekke explains.

Affects corporate democracy

He refers to a management poll conducted by company De Facto on behalf of hisorganisation.

“The personnel departmenthas traditionally been a liaison between company employees and management. Oursurvey shows that the introduction of strategic "hard" HR inNorwegian companies impairs the employee's position regarding the topmanagement,” Mr Brekke said in a statement.

He believes the trend ofuncritically adopting US HR models, those described as "hard, HR,"will strongly affect corporate democracy, which he believes neither serves thecompany or its employees.

“There’s an imminent danger that the Norwegian model of open corporate cultureand cooperation between employers and workers will be gone in a few years ifthe brakes are not applied soon, and will be replaced by the American HR model,”warned Mr Brekke.

Different view of leadership

His organisation’s opinionis that "hard" HR models area different view of leadershipthan has been thetradition in Norwegian companies.

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