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Title: Human resource outsourcing and the HR function : opportunity or threat?
Author: Lewis, Alison Jacqueline
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2011
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Outsourcing is a growing phenomenon and the human resource (HR) function is not immune to its tentacle reach. HR outsourcing is driven by a continual push for those working within the HR function to prove their worth and demonstrate their added- value. Proponents of outsourcing HR provision believe it enables the HR function to focus on delivery improvement, enhancing its role within the business and increasing the credibility of the HR function overall. This thesis tests these assumptions. Through a survey of 315 respondents, semi-structured interviews and access to three case study organisations examining responses from multiple constituents, the thesis examines the impact of HR outsourcing on the HR function. In addition, it contrasts HR outsourcers with those working in fully internalised HR teams in order to better understand outsourcing impacts and provide explanation for these effects. The argument of the thesis is that HR outsourcing weakens the HR function through a diminution of its overall core competence. It becomes unable to cope with organisational demands, ceases to develop further HR skill and increasingly relies on the expertise of third party providers. The reasons offered for these detrimental effects include the prior experience and expectations of senior managers and their requirements of an HR function, the inability of those engaged in HRO to manage impressions effectively and showcase HR function successes, and more importantly, a lack of competence within the HR function to assume an enhanced strategic position and thus exert greater influence within the business as a whole. The evidence of increasing skill depletion amongst HR professionals engaged in HRO poses a serious threat to the HR function and perceptions of its organisational importance, and has stark implications for both the future of the HR professionals working within outsourced provision, and those considering its use.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available