Human Resource Problems and State Management Performance Across Two Decades: The Implications for Civil Service Reform

Source: Richard C. Elling and T. Lyke Thompson, Review of Public Personnel Administration, December 2006, Vol. 26 no. 4

Based on the views of hundreds of managers in 10 states surveyed in 1982 and 2000, this article explores the severity of a range of human resource-related barriers to effective state management. Adequately rewarding outstanding employees, difficulty filling key staff vacancies, retaining experienced staff, disciplining low-performing employees, and—in 2000—uncompetitive pay were among the most serious impediments. Little change in the severity of various human resource-related problems occurred between 1982 and 2000, however. Despite the criticism often leveled at them, variation in civil service coverage and variation in public sector collective bargaining were typically only weakly related to the severity of particular personnel-related problems. In fact, certain problems were less serious in those states with more extensive civil service coverage or more widespread collective bargaining. There was little evidence that deregulating aspects of state human resource systems reduced the severity of personnel-related impediments.

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