Research consistently demonstrates that the human resource (HR) function is a key driver of business performance and HR professionals play an important role as a strategic business partner. This view often contrasts with our daily experiences of HR where professionals engage in administrative, technical and control based activities and the HR function is perceived as a support service department. In this paper, we argue that a large body of research focuses on the role HR should play in a context where the function is valued, without sufficient studies examining whether this occurs in practice. Using the case of a large Asia Pacific organization in the communications sector, we applied conceptual models to ascertain whether HR added value to this firm. We then investigated the barriers for HR operating as a strategic business partner. Qualitative data was collected across three studies. In study one all 18 divisional HR managers were interviewed. Study two comprised of an on-line qualitative survey and focus groups with a total of 258 HR customers, including the Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, all Divisional General Managers and a sample of Line Managers. Study three included interviews with both National General Managers of HR. In total 278 managers participated in the study and more than 225.5 hours of interview and focus group data were collected.