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Changing the roles of the HR function in commercialising public sector organisations : from civil service to "dynamic" partner? : evidence from two longitudinal case studies in the United Kingdom

Changing the roles of the HR function in commercialising public sector organisations : from civil service to "dynamic" partner? : evidence from two longitudinal case studies in the United Kingdom
Changing the roles of the HR function in commercialising public sector organisations : from civil service to "dynamic" partner? : evidence from two longitudinal case studies in the United Kingdom

The introduction of market mechanisms within the remit of public organisations in the United Kingdom has provided these organisations with the opportunity to operate and compete commercially, whilst the Government retained ownership. However, the commercialisation of public sector agencies has also given rise to a new set of dualities and antagonisms within which these organisations have to operate: existing neither in the strictly public realm of state action nor in the strictly private realm of commercial relationships; being expected to function like businesses -efficient, customer driven, and client oriented - yet having to perform tasks that are inherently public; fulfilling their strategic role as government agencies, yet providing high- quality services to their customers, citizens and users in a dynamic marketplace; capitalising on their commercial and operating freedoms, whilst safeguarding the shareholders interests and ensuring the continuous provision of quality services. Current models of HRM suggest that expectations about the roles HR departments should play are changing as organisations are striving to make their HR functions leaner and more 'strategic'. However, the unique characteristics and the specific context within which commercialising public sector organisations operate may add different constraints to developing such a strategic HR agenda. There is thus a need to develop a more tailored approach to the analysis of strategic HRM in the public sector by taking into consideration what is distinctive about public sector transformation in terms of the strategic priorities and demands it creates, and the kind of responses it elicits firom HR functions. Drawing on qualitative, longitudinal case-study research carried out between 2001 and 2005, this thesis explores the changing role of the HR function within two contrasting British public sector organisations responding to the 'commercialisation' agenda. The study also addresses the contextual factors that influence the role played by the HR function and reveals the way in which critical differences in organisational and HR micro-processes can serve to facilitate or constrain the contribution of the HR function. Longitudinal data were collected & om four main sources: interview data; documentary and archival data; notes taken from informal conversations; and observational data gathered at management meetings. the The contribution of this research is both and present study is a comparative case analysis of the role of the HR function in strategic change in two commercialising public sector organisations informed by the perspectives of role theory and the concept of negotiated order. The study presents an alternate conceptual famework that a /eveZ, At ii

University of Southampton
Andreescu, Francesca
e5ce64b1-3a89-4d45-901f-2e421f593483
Andreescu, Francesca
e5ce64b1-3a89-4d45-901f-2e421f593483

Andreescu, Francesca (2008) Changing the roles of the HR function in commercialising public sector organisations : from civil service to "dynamic" partner? : evidence from two longitudinal case studies in the United Kingdom. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

The introduction of market mechanisms within the remit of public organisations in the United Kingdom has provided these organisations with the opportunity to operate and compete commercially, whilst the Government retained ownership. However, the commercialisation of public sector agencies has also given rise to a new set of dualities and antagonisms within which these organisations have to operate: existing neither in the strictly public realm of state action nor in the strictly private realm of commercial relationships; being expected to function like businesses -efficient, customer driven, and client oriented - yet having to perform tasks that are inherently public; fulfilling their strategic role as government agencies, yet providing high- quality services to their customers, citizens and users in a dynamic marketplace; capitalising on their commercial and operating freedoms, whilst safeguarding the shareholders interests and ensuring the continuous provision of quality services. Current models of HRM suggest that expectations about the roles HR departments should play are changing as organisations are striving to make their HR functions leaner and more 'strategic'. However, the unique characteristics and the specific context within which commercialising public sector organisations operate may add different constraints to developing such a strategic HR agenda. There is thus a need to develop a more tailored approach to the analysis of strategic HRM in the public sector by taking into consideration what is distinctive about public sector transformation in terms of the strategic priorities and demands it creates, and the kind of responses it elicits firom HR functions. Drawing on qualitative, longitudinal case-study research carried out between 2001 and 2005, this thesis explores the changing role of the HR function within two contrasting British public sector organisations responding to the 'commercialisation' agenda. The study also addresses the contextual factors that influence the role played by the HR function and reveals the way in which critical differences in organisational and HR micro-processes can serve to facilitate or constrain the contribution of the HR function. Longitudinal data were collected & om four main sources: interview data; documentary and archival data; notes taken from informal conversations; and observational data gathered at management meetings. the The contribution of this research is both and present study is a comparative case analysis of the role of the HR function in strategic change in two commercialising public sector organisations informed by the perspectives of role theory and the concept of negotiated order. The study presents an alternate conceptual famework that a /eveZ, At ii

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Published date: 2008

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 466406
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/466406
PURE UUID: fea3382e-badf-4298-9d35-b01faeda1ecc

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Date deposited: 05 Jul 2022 05:14
Last modified: 05 Jul 2022 07:31

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Contributors

Author: Francesca Andreescu

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