I'm glad this article was written, as it brings up some important issues. I'd like to focus on the outsourcing in particular.
"...the attitudes of more forward-looking (and indeed profitable) organisations, we found some very interesting correlations – not least, that these were more likely to outsource their IT to third parties"
Outsourcing (and offshoring) various functions has been heralded as the way to move forward, and to maximize profit. Consider unit of work W, which costs $X inhouse and $Y out sourced. A CEO looking at the numbers may determine that $Y is the best deal, and start outsourcing functions with full support of shareholders. Indeed, his choice has saved the company money and in doing so made it more competitive. The CEO's actions were logically justified in terms of corporate profit.
However I believe there are hidden macro-economic costs that are not being factored in. For one, the lost of internal expertise has long term implications. Also, there are only so many jobs which can be out sourced/off shored before the job losses cause an economic meltdown.
Economists keep pushing us to outsource more and more. We no longer have the expertise, capability, or infrastructures in place to manufacture textiles, electronics, components. For those in the US, take a look around your home/office and try to find a single component from the US. At best, it was "assembled in the USA".
We've been coping with this strategy by becoming better educated and commuting further for work. But today, even the higher education jobs, such as in IT, are undergoing large scale off shoring initiatives. Those with higher education degrees are being laid off in droves. There are no higher jobs to migrate to.
In conclusion, much like the tragedy of the commons, outsourcing and off shoring in particular do appealing to the CEOs who want to maximize their personal gain, it's a short sighted approach in the long view.
I can only hope that some day corporations will be held to a higher standard of responsibility towards the public/workers who built them up.