Outsourcing the human resource development function in the Australian Public Service

  • Romuald Ostrowski

    Student thesis: Master's Thesis


    The Howard Government has made public its agenda to significantly reform the Australian Public Service (APS). It has presented its vision for a highly efficient APS which is globally competitive by being customer focused, and by benchmarking best practice in organisation management. Outsourcing of a range of internal functions is but one of the strategies Commonwealth agency Chief Executive Officers are applying or considering to apply in achieving the Government's vision for a reformed APS. When examining functions to be outsourced within Commonwealth agencies it seems that many senior managers see benefits in outsourcing a range of corporate support functions. Such support functions, which are considered as potentially being undertaken by private sector vendors, generally include property management, financial management, payroll services, records management, human resource management (HRM) and human resource development (HRD). In view of the varying impacts different functions have on an organisation it would be rational to consider the implications of outsourcing each function separately. All functions are complex and have their own specific impacts on the organisation. In its own right HRD has a significant impact on an organisation in that it develops and trains employees, initiates and delivers a range of interventions to improve performance and brings about a desired corporate culture. The idea of outsourcing the HRD function presents an interesting topic for study. Recent APS reforms, which include outsourcing strategies, provide an opportunity to examine the practice of outsourcing the HRD function within selected Commonwealth agencies. Outsourcing the HRD function, within the Commonwealth context, raises two basic questions: What factors need to be considered before deciding to outsource (or not outsource) the HRD function? What factors do managers within selected Commonwealth agencies consider before arriving at a decision to outsource the HRD function? In essence this study seeks to review how HRD and outsourcing generally apply to the APS. It also critically examines the outsourcing of the HRD function in certain Commonwealth agencies, and the implication this could have for ongoing people and organisation development.
    Date of Award1999
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorFrancesco Sofo (Supervisor) & Mike Gaffney (Supervisor)

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