Date of Award


Document Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (Research)


School of Business

First Advisor

Dr. Deirdre O'Donovan


Globalisation and an increased demand for competitive advantage have caused the contemporary HR department to face additional pressure to provide strategic value to the organization. To do so, the HR department must integrate with overall business strategy and continually monitor both the internal and external environments in which the organization operates. This thesis focuses on identifying these internal organizational factors and external environmental factors, and exploring how these factors can affect the implementation and management of a new HR department within an already established organization.

Given the unique position of the researcher, who is currently solely responsible for the establishment of a new HR department within Kearys, this long-established firm was chosen as the organization upon which this study would be based. Semi-structured in-depth interviews were conducted on 10 internal mid and senior level managers and two external HR professionals who have previous experience of working within HR in the motor industry.

A number of salient findings emerged through the analysis of the in-depth interview results. First, the significant lack of information and practical guidance available in relation to setting up a HR department within an established organization became abundantly apparent through the analysis of current literature as well as the in-depth interview results.

Through the identification of internal organizational factors and external environmental factors it became evident that many of these factors can be interlinked and that the internal and external environments in which the organization operates should therefore, be analysed as a whole as opposed to identifying individual factors. Furthermore, employee, line management and top management buy-in and support were identified as the factors most likely to determine the success or failure of a new HR department.

A fourth key finding highlighted the importance of effective, consistent internal communication across the organization during all stages of the HR department’s implementation. Finally, the inconsistent expectations of management in relation to the purpose of the HR department was also highlighted as one of the biggest challenges facing the new HR department within Kearys and indeed, HR departments across a wider context.

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