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Doing Better with Less? The Future of the Government Workforce

Politics of Public HRM Reforms in 32 Countries

Christoph Demmke

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.

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3. Methodology


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3.  Methodology

3.1  Linking HR bundles and (un-) intentional reform outcomes

In order to avoid making ideological or personal judgments as regards the effects of HR reforms, we start from a general point of view to which the outcomes of public management and HR reforms can be positive and/or negative, effective and/or ineffective. Hesse et al. have presented a useful matrix to assess various effects of public management reforms135. According to this model, reforms may also have an impact not only on the main goal but also on some other goals. In other words, they may have positive or negative side effects, paradoxical effects or they may not have any side effects at all. This suggests that also positively intended policies, such as good government policies, integrity, anti-discrimination and anti-corruption policies are creating side-effects such as reform paradoxes136. From these combinations it is possible to construct a nine-fold table describing nine different effect combinations (see table). Applying this analytic framework to the field of HRM may also help to encourage a more rational discourse.

Table 6: Effects of public sector reforms (Source: Hesse/Hood/Peters, 2003, op cit)

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Therefore, our main (general) hypothesis in this study is that the present reform trends in the field of HRM have a number of positive and negative effects, but they also a number of unintentional positive and/or negative side effects, such as more bureaucracy, higher...

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