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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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4. Empirical Part


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4.  Empirical Part

4.1  Introduction

Central public administrations are undergoing processes of profound reform and transformation in most OECD countries. While some of these changes can be associated to the current economic and financial crisis, overall, pressures for reforms come from various other sources. Consequently, important reforms are also implemented in those countries which were not seriously concerned by the crisis, e.g. in Switzerland, Finland and Sweden. We should also highlight at this point that many drastic reforms also concern HR policies which are not the subject of this survey, such as pension reforms and changes in the national social dialogue.

Thus, when analysing change processes, progress and successes in the field of HR management, one should take into consideration the fact that reform pressures and reform priorities vary considerably. Also, reform objectives are diverse such as the need to further improve the quality of HR services, decentralise responsibilities, enhance organisational performance, but also maintain the application of the rule of law, enhance anti-discrimination, support citizen orientation and increase efficiency and productivity.

Still, budgetary constraints have a very strong impact on HR reforms. The latter does not only concern the (higher) number of implemented reforms but also the quality of the reforms which were implemented. As we will see, almost every reform of each HR bundle and each HR instrument is influenced by budgetary constraints.

In all cases, budgetary constraints have supported views to which the...

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