Doing Better with Less? The Future of the Government Workforce

Politics of Public HRM Reforms in 32 Countries

by Christoph Demmke (Author)
©2016 Others 270 Pages


This publication contributes to a discussion about the future of public employment and HR policies in the context of a changing statehood and new financial pressures. It presents comparative quantitative and qualitative data in the field of public employment and human resources management. These data were collected through the OECD «2015 Survey on Managing Budgeting Constraints: Implications for HRM and Employment in Central Public Administration».
This book provides an improved understanding of the broad reform trends that have affected public employment and human resources management across OECD member countries since the 2008 financial crisis. It challenges many popular assumptions, increasingly puts into question traditional characteristics of public administration systems and provides answers as to many outcomes of HR reforms.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of contents
  • Figures
  • Tables
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Theoretical Part
  • 2.1 Public Management and the reform of HRM
  • 2.2 HRM reforms in a new governance context
  • 2.3 Linking organisational- and HR reforms with reform effects
  • 2.3.1 Reform effects: The search for empirical evidence
  • 2.3.2 Reconciling conflicting objectives
  • 3. Methodology
  • 3.1 Linking HR bundles and (un-) intentional reform outcomes
  • 3.2 HR bundles and categorization of countries
  • 3.3 Shortcomings and further suggestions
  • 3.4 Budgetary constraints and reform trajectories
  • 3.5 Human Resource Management reforms – towards best practices or best fit?
  • 3.6 Empirical analysis and survey methodology
  • 3.6.1 Main steps in survey implementation
  • 3.6.2 Data collection and challenges
  • 4. Empirical Part
  • 4.1 Introduction
  • 4.2 Discussion and descriptive evidence
  • 4.3 The reform of HR bundles and HR policies – comparative observations
  • 4.4 Reforming HRM and HR policies
  • 4.4.1 Restructuring public employment
  • Reducing public employment – the use of instruments
  • Recruitment freeze
  • Employee turnover and voluntary termination
  • Early retirement policies
  • Dismissal and termination
  • Downsizing and cutting employment
  • 4.4.2 Downsizing consequences
  • 4.4.3 Is downsizing inevitable?
  • 4.5 Reform of other HR bundles and policies
  • 4.5.1 The reform of job security
  • 4.5.2 Reform paths in the field of compensation and salary systems
  • 4.5.3 What happens to performance related pay in times of budgetary constraints?
  • 4.5.4 Skill development and training – investments instead of saving resources?
  • 4.5.5 Managing sickness levels
  • 4.6 Empirical evidence as to reform effects and outcomes of reforms
  • 4.6.1 HR Reforms and the workforce – intentional and unintentional results
  • 4.6.2 The changing composition of the workforce – the relationship between fixed-term employment and civil service employment
  • 4.6.2 Impact on Workplace behaviour
  • 4.6.3 Development of stress, job intensity and job quality
  • 4.6.4 Two steps back, one step forward – positive and critical developments
  • 4.6.5 The positive side of it
  • 5. Conclusions: Reform Trends in the Field of HRM
  • 5.1 Is public HR still different to private sector HR – should it be?
  • 5.2 How to evaluate future HR reform trends? Successes, failures, grey zones and context
  • Bibliography
  • Annex OECD Questionaire

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ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2016 (October)
Frankfurt am Main, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, Warszawa, 2016. 270 pp., 57 b/w graphs, 29 tables

Biographical notes

Christoph Demmke (Author)

Christoph Demmke is Interim Professor of Public Management and Public Policy at the Zeppelin University in Friedrichshafen, Germany. Beforehand, he was Head of Unit in the OECD, Paris, Professor of Comparative Public Administration at the European Institute of Public Administration in Maastricht and Guest Professor at the College of Europe in Brugge, Belgium. He holds a PhD in Administrative Sciences and was Fellow at the Harvard Law School and the German Ministry of the Interior. He has regularly advised the European Union Presidency, EU-Institutions and national Governments on public management reforms.


Title: Doing Better with Less? The Future of the Government Workforce