A Solution in Search of a Problem? Discrimination, Affirmative Action, and the New Public Service

Source: Sally Coleman Selden, Public Administration Review, November/December 2006, Vol. 66 no. 6

Since the arrival of equal opportunity and affirmative action in the 1960s, government employment has become a major force for social mobility among disadvantaged groups and had made the public workforce more broadly representative of the population at large. Is a representative workforce still necessary to ensure equitable outcomes? Alternatively, have societal attitudes changed sufficiently that a competent workforce – assembled on the basis of merit alone, irrespective of race, ethnicity, or gender – is capable of ensuring desired policy outcomes?

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