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'Employee champion’ or ‘business partner’? The views of aspirant HR professionals

Nickson, Dennis and Hurrell, Scott Alexander and Warhurst, Chris and Newsome, Kirsty and Scholarios, Dora and Commander, Johanna and Preston, Anne (2008) 'Employee champion’ or ‘business partner’? The views of aspirant HR professionals. In: CIPD Centres’ Conference, 2008-06-26 - 2008-06-27.

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This paper focuses on the perceptions, expectations and experiences of full-time students studying a CIPD-accredited Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in Human Resource Management. Drawing on survey, focus group and interview data the paper considers students perceptions of the role of HR, how their views changed during the course of the academic year, their initial thoughts on pursuing an HR career and early experiences as HR practitioners. The results suggest that at the point of exiting the course students tended to view the HR function in a more strategic manner, as opposed to the employee champion role, and this strategic orientation was also apparent in the views of the nascent HR professionals. In considering pedagogy and practice the paper seeks to engage with debates emerging about the nature of CIPD‟s „professional project‟, whilst also signalling the need for further longitudinal research to assess continuity and change in the HR profession.