Queen's University IRC

Outsourcing and the ‘New’ Human Resource Management


Suzanne Harrison

September 1, 1996

Once believed to be strictly an administrative function low on management’s priority list, the human resource function is increasingly involved in strategic management decisions. Intense competitive pressures are forcing it to reexamine its structure, the services it provides, and the competencies it requires. As a result, HR is looking at outsourcing as a way to reduce its workload and concentrate on strategic core functions. Interviews with nine HR executives reported in this study provide a snapshot of how Canadian organizations and their HR functions are changing to cope with the new economic environment. They reveal that outsourcing is increasingly seen in some organizations as a way for HR to shed parts of its administrative burden. But others are reluctant to transfer functions outside the HR department.

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