1st Edition

Working Lives and in-House Outsourcing Chewed-Up by Two Masters

By Jacqueline Zalewski Copyright 2019
    180 Pages
    by Routledge

    180 Pages
    by Routledge

    This book offers a sociological account of the process by which companies instituted and continue to institute outsourcing in their organization. Drawing on qualitative data, it examines the ways in which internal outsourcing in the information technologies and human resources professions negatively affects workers, their work conditions, and working relationships. With attention to the deleterious influence of outsourcing on relationships and the strong tendency of market organisations to produce social conflict in interactions – itself a considerable ‘transaction cost’ – the author challenges both the ideology that markets, rather than hierarchies, produce more efficient and less costly economic outcomes for companies, and the idea that outsourcing generates benefits for professional workers in the form of greater opportunity. A demonstration of the social conflict created between employees working for two separate, proprietary companies, Working Lives and in-House Outsourcing will be of interest to scholars with interests in the sociology of work and organizations and the sociology of professions, as well as those working in the fields of business management and human resources.

    List of Tables


    1. "Trading in Human Beings on Behalf of Cost Reduction:" An Introduction to in-House Outsourcing (inO) and Why Companies Outsource

    2. "Betrayed, Sold, and Rebadged" to Outsourcing Companies

    3. "Chewed Up:" The Adversarial Nature of Work Relationships in Markets

    4. "It All Revolved Around Numbers:" Greater Commodification of the Work and Culture With Outsourcing

    5. "(Only) Better For Some:" Consent, Resistance, and Professional Careers with Outsourcing Companies

    6. Conclusion



    Jacqueline M. Zalewski is Associate Professor of Sociology at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, USA.

    "Dr. Zalewski’s work establishes the foundation for future studies of in-house outsourcing. It opens a new agenda of research for those in the business disciplines, such as human resource management and organizational behavior, to re-examine and extend their models and analyses. It is a stimulating and thought-provoking body of work destined to stand the test of time."

    Susan Brudvig, Associate Professor of Business Administration, Indiana University East, USA.

    "Zalewski deals with a major yet unexamined aspect of the ‘gig economy’—the ‘in-house outsourcing’ of professional jobs, in which work continues at the same location with a different employer, work regime, and badge. Based on intelligence gathered from affected IT and HR professionals, the study also benefits from the frank testimony of insiders who decide on and manage the change, and calculate the ‘cost reductions.’

    Working Lives combines scientific rigor with a sense of the emotional presence of its subjects, conveyed through stories of betrayal, loss of meaning, and shrinking material rewards. It effectively counters the claims that outsourcing benefits professional workers with greater career opportunities and more personal freedom. This is a crucial study for anyone concerned about the future of middle class jobs."

    George Gonos, Professor Emeritus, State University of New York at Potsdam, USA.

    "Zalewski adds IT and HR professionals to the list of employees facing job loss, de-skilling, and contingency in their fields. The key contributions from this study highlight the ways in-house outsourcing forces professionals to do more emotional and political work as they navigate new relationships with former colleagues and employers."

    Naomi R. Williams, Perspectives on Work, Labor and Employment Relations Association.

    "This book will be useful to anyone interested in the intersection of work, occupations, and organizations, and should inform debates around the use of nonstandard work arrangements in organization and outsourcing more generally [...]. [It] provides an interesting and thought-provoking perspective on how professional workers experience the upheaval of organizational and industrial change due to outsourcing [...]. [It is] carefully done and provides important practical and theoretical insights about a phenomenon that is relative pervasive but vastly understudied".

    Joseph P. Broschak, Contemporary Sociology