Reading summaries - Strategic Human Resources Management - weeks thirteen and fourteen, Fall 2017
Class themes were __. This is the last reading of the semester!
Table of contents
Strategic Human Resources Management
Recruitment and Selection of Public Workers, Lavigna and Hays (2004)
- At the time when governments need to be most adept at luring talent to public service, their ability to do so has rarely been so constrained and complicated by economic, social and organizational pressures
- we describe a series of recruitment and selection “best practices.”
- Good government requires good people
- In the developed world, common problems are:
- The aging of the indigenous civil service
- A growing vacuum among “the leadership bench
- The changing definition of career
- Rapid change that requires a highly fluid skill mix
- Strong competition from the private sector
- Budget limitations that reduce compensation and financial incentives
- A negative public image
- Compounding these problems are such recent developments as privatization and the outsourcing of many government jobs and an erosion of the benefit packages and job security that once were the most effective recruitment tools for government.
- Simply stated, today’s pressures for greater efficiency in government often make government service less appealing to the very workers whose contributions are needed most.
- This article provides an overview of the types of recruitment and selection initiatives already in place in many nations
- it is essential to consider HRM as part of the broader cultural and political environments
- recruitment and selection can’t and won’t generally be successful unless certain preconditions exist
- here are a few of the most critical precursors:
- Reversing the Erosion of the Public Service Ethic
- Reversing the Erosion of the Public Service Ethic (SHRM)
- Civic Culture and Tradition - Our preoccupation with Western models also leads us to assume that secularism, rationality, competition, an achievement orientation, and individualism also predominate elsewhere. Nothing could be further from the truth. These concepts largely stem from Western culture, and many simply do not apply outside that context
- Managerial System - In the absence of solid HR planning, openings occur as “surprises” rather than as predicted events for which the organization is prepared.
- Simply filling positions is one issue, but to optimize recruitment results — to attract “the best and the brightest” — requires a more coordinated and proactive approach
- There is no specific model. Every public agency can benefit from incremental changes, and choose from among a rich list of recruitment techniques
- These techniques are described under three broad (and overlapping) categories:
- Procedural changes
- Most procedural “innovations” are intended to simplify and demystify the application process
- Eliminating arbitrary rules and regulations
- Adopting flexible and appealing hiring procedures
- Screening applicants quickly
- Validating entry requirements and examinations
- Another trend is to de-emphasize experience and/or education as job requirements.
- Instituting worker-friendly personnel policies
- Creating more flexible job descriptions.
- Improvements to the Recruitment and Selection Process
- Process changes are fundamental improvements in the way HRM services are delivered
- most significant component of this trend is the decentralization of HR services
- Additionally, many less dramatic changes have surfaced in the ways that public organizations marshal their human resources
- imply stated, public agencies are casting a wider net for job applicants, and then cultivating them as they move through the selection process.
- Current employees as recruiters
- Use of Technology
- Virtually all recruitment strategies can be enriched by different types of information technology
- There is essentially a movement from traditional HRM to virtual HRM
- Even if the entire world is not ready for a fully automated approach to HR, the technology is already available
- Procedural changes
- Exciting changes are taking place, and traditional ways to deliver personnel services are clearly on the decline.
- Despite the real and potential advantages of new strategies and technologies, a few words of caution are necessary:
- Flexibility can be costly, literally and figuratively
- Systems that are decentralized and deregulated can fall victim to manipulation and exploitation
- Government and the private sector are not the same, and rushing to adopt private sector approaches without recognizing fundamental differences is a high-risk strategy.
- As governments strive for increased responsiveness and flexibility, safeguarding the public service from inappropriate influences may become more difficult.
- administrators need to be alert to the risks associated with reform
- maintaining the neutrality of the public service should be a non-negotiable value
- Another potential threat is posed by the enormous impact of IT - technology adds efficiency, but also depersonalizes functions that were built on human interaction and individual judgment. Whether or not this is good or bad is debatable
- Ultimately, public organizations must adopt at least some of the recruitment and selection strategies described simply because to do otherwise would be self-defeating.
- The primary challenge for HR professionals is to select the reforms most suitable to their own settings, and to adapt them to local needs
Public Administrative Theory and the Separation of Powers, Rosenbloom (1983)
- the central problem of contemporary public administrative theory is that it is derived from three disparate approaches to the basic question of what public administration is: “managerial,” “political,” and “legal.”
- their primary influence on public administration has been to pull it in three separate directions
- Managerial approach
- grew largely out of the civil service reform movement of the late 19th century
- three core values of the managerial approach to public administration
- geared toward maximization of effectiveness, efficiency, and economy
- managerial approach was strengthened by Frederick Taylor and the scientific management movement
- The ‘goodness’ or ‘badness’ of a particular organizational pattern was a mathematical relationship of ‘inputs’ to ‘outputs.’
- The managerial approach to public administration promotes an impersonal view of individuals.
- impersonal view of individuals is deeply ingrained and considered essential to the maximization of efficiency, economy, and effectiveness.
- Political approach
- unlike the origin of the managerial approach, which stressed what public administration ought to be, the political approach developed from an analysis of apparent empirical reality.
- emphasis is inevitably placed on a different set of values than those promoted by the managerial approach
- the political approach to public administration stresses the values of representativeness, political responsiveness, and accountability
- values sought by the political approach to public administration are frequently in tension with those of the managerial approach
- A socially representative public service may not be the most efficient one
- The political approach to public administration tends to view the individual as part of an aggregate group, does not depersonalize the individual
- Legal approach
- The legal approach to public administration embodies three central values: procedural due process, individual substantive rights, and equity (the value of fairness in the result of conflicts between private parties and the government)
- One of the major features of the values of the legal approach to public administration is the downgrading of the cost/benefit reasoning associated with the managerial approach
- central focus tends to be on the nature of the individual’s rights, rather than on the costs to society of securing those rights
- To a considerable extent, this model is at odds with all the values embodied in the other two approaches: It militates against efficiency, economy, managerial effectiveness, representativeness, responsiveness, and political accountability. It is intended, rather, to afford maximum protection of the rights of private parties against illegal, unconstitutional, or invidious administrative action.
- each of these approaches is associated with the values embodied in a different branch of government:
- managerial = executive
- political = legislative
- judicial = judiciary
Written on December 6, 2017