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Private equity and HRM in the British business system


Ian Clark, International Management and Organization Research Group, The University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, UK. Email:


Who owns the firm? Do changes in owner matter? Will change affect the operational and strategic role of the HR function? For some, the answer will be no precisely because mergers and acquisitions, takeovers, buyouts and privatisations are central activities for a British-based business where short-term value for shareholders and financial engineering are key management objectives that structure and inform the work of HR professionals. For other readers, the answer may well be yes; ownership and owner strategies do matter, particularly if a firm is acquired by a relatively new actor in the market for corporate control – the private equity firm.