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HRM / OB Case Study

Case Title:

The Line vs Staff Tussle at Hi-Speed Venture Technologies: Threatening the Company’s Future?

Publication Year : 2009

Authors: Deepti Srikanth under the guidance of Dr. Nagendra V. Chowdary

Industry: Services


Case Code: HRM0056

Teaching Note: Available

Structured Assignment: Not Available

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This case study is meant for discussing the role of HR in an organisation and triggers an interesting debate, on whether functions like recruitment and performance appraisal are meant to be restricted to the HR manager or can they also be discharged by functional managers as well? The case study also deliberates on whether HR managers should only support and facilitate processes in an organisation or should they be regarded as a separate strategic function?

Established in 1997, Hi-Speed Venture Technologies (HSV) was an entrepreneurial venture started by Sumant Kumar (Kumar). To make HSV a one-stop destination for the website development needs of Indian companies, Kumar hired four experienced team members with commendable professional history. Owing to the persistent efforts of Kumar and his team, HSV was catering to the website development needs of nearly 100 Indian companies by 1999. With business prospering, Kumar promoted his four-team members as technical leaders and hired eight new members. He also used this opportunity to hire an HR manager, Amit Sharma (Sharma), for handling employee related issues and implementing company wide HR policies. With the growing integration of the roles and responsibilities of the HR and line managers, how should the roles and responsibilities of the former be redefined? Should Sharma only act as a facilitator at HSV?

Pedagogical Objectives:

  • To understand the distinct roles and responsibilities of an HR manager and an HR department
  • To discuss and debate on the HR skills required for every functional manager
  • To debate on the best way to resolve the often occurring line vs staff conflict.

Keywords : Roles and Responsibilities of HR Managers, Roles and Responsibilities of Functional Managers, Strategic HRM, Line and Staff, Workforce Diversity, Qualities of Functional Managers, Performance Management, Training and Development, Recruitment, Line and Staff Conflict


  • HSV Technologies: Climbing the Ladder of Success
  • Educational and Professional Qualifications of the New Hires
  • Brewing Line vs Staff Issues: Thwarting the Company's Dreams

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