The Unbundling of Corporate Functions: the Evolution of Shared Services and Outsourcing in Human Resource Management

Gospel, Howard and Sako, Mari (2010) The Unbundling of Corporate Functions: the Evolution of Shared Services and Outsourcing in Human Resource Management. Industrial and Corporate Change, 19 (5). pp. 1367-1396.

Abstract

This article analyses the demand side of business services outsourcing. Using insights from a number of bodies of literature, the article interprets business services outsourcing as corporate restructuring involving the administrative functions of the firm. Propositions are developed around the following. First, the existing corporate structure and the nature of supplier markets affect the paths chosen to create shared business services and to move to outsourcing. Second, the trajectory of the move to shared services and outsourcing affects the distribution of capabilities between users and suppliers. The study examines these propositions through a comparison of human resource outsourcing in two leading consumer products companies, Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever. We find that a relatively high degree of centralization at P&G led it to create an internal shared services center before outsourcing, whilst a more decentralized Unilever utilized outsourcing as an occasion for globally standardizing its systems and processes. The article draws implications of these different paths for core capabilities.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Corporate structure; Corporate Functions; HR; Human Resource Management
Subject(s): Professional services
Project management
Strategy; Entrepreneurship & Global business
Centre: Centre for Professional Firms
BT Centre for Major Programme Management
Faculty of Strategy, Entrepreneurship and International Business
Date Deposited: 17 Jul 2012 09:15
Last Modified: 23 Oct 2015 14:07
URI: http://eureka.sbs.ox.ac.uk/id/eprint/3753

Actions (login required)

Edit View Edit View