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The HR function in purchaser-provider relationships : insights from the UK voluntary sector

Cunningham, Ian (2010) The HR function in purchaser-provider relationships : insights from the UK voluntary sector. Human Resource Management Journal, 20 (2). pp. 189-205. ISSN 0954-5395

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Abstract

This article explores how inter-organisational relations with the state impact on the status of human resource (HR) professionals in voluntary organisations. It reveals a constrained and under-resourced HR function in voluntary organisations, implementing few strategic interventions. Explanations centre on the dynamics of power relations, institutional forces, the exercise of strategic choice and management of risk between purchasers and providers and their interaction with competencies among individual actors, attitudes of senior managers and the focus by voluntary sector managers on organisational mission. It warns that these external and internal factors will produce similar outcomes in sectors and economies characterised by arm's-length contractual relations.