Reorganization or Political Smokescreen: The Incremental and Temporary Use of At-Will Employment in Mississippi State Government

Source: Doug Goodman and Stacey Mann, Public Personnel Management, Volume 39 No. 3, Fall 2010
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In recent years, Mississippi has temporarily suspended civil service protections for employees in some departments, reorganized those departments, and then reinstated civil service protection in those departments. State HR directors are surveyed to seek their opinions about at-will employment. Five survey items focus on the respondents’ opinions concerning at-will employment as a managerial instrument; the responses are discussed and analyzed. We find that HR directors from smaller agencies and HR directors who trust political officials find utility in at-will employment as a managerial tool. We also find that female HR directors and HR directors with private sector experience disagree with the at-will employment in the public sector as a managerial tool.

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