Based on role theory we investigate the impact of (1) HR devolution characteristics (the number of devolved HR tasks); (2) characteristics of the HR devolution context (the level of support from the HR department, and the presence of institutionalized incentives to perform the allotted HR tasks well); and (3) personal characteristics of the front line managers (HR competency) on front line managers’ perceptions of two HR role stressors, i.e. HR role ambiguity and HR role overload. We use a sample of 169 front line managers from 47 different organizations. The results are based on two moderation regression analyses, taking into account the clustered nature of the observations. The results suggest that the execution of a high number of HR tasks as such does not lead to the occurrence of HR role stressors among front line managers. However, for the HR department it is important to create an appropriate environment in terms of giving HR support and advice to line managers, and training line managers regarding their HR competencies. This research opens up different and interesting lines of inquiry regarding the conditions under which the partnership between the HR department and line management can be successful. The article also provides HR practitioners with insights into the conditions that are needed to avoid perceptions of HR role stressors among front line managers.