Category Archives: Management

The Supreme Court and the Continuing Deconstitutionalization of Public Personnel Management

Source: Robert Roberts, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Vol. 29 no. 1, March 2009
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From the abstract:
In Engquist v. Oregon Department of Agriculture, the Supreme Court held that public employees may not use the so-called equal protection clause of class-of-one doctrine to challenge the constitutionality of arguably arbitrary adverse personnel actions. In the 2000 case of Village of Willowbrook v. Olech, the high court had authorized citizens to bring class-of-one equal protection lawsuits to challenge arguably arbitrary discretionary decisions by government officials. The decision provides further evidence of the ongoing effort by a majority of the Roberts Court to limit the constitutional rights of public employees. The article argues that the ongoing deconstitutionalization of public personnel management has significant implications for the management of public organizations. If the trend continues, public employees, much like their private sector counterparts, will become much more dependent on statutory protections and collective bargaining agreements to protect them from arbitrary personnel decisions.

Achieving Breakthrough Performance

Source: Mark Gottfredson, Steve Schaubert, & Elisabeth Babcock, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Vol. 6 no. 3, Summer 2008

From the Girl Scouts, to Partners In Health, to the city of Providence, R.I., great organizations have one thing in common: great managers. These managers, in turn, share four simple management principles that they use to guide organizations from mere mediocrity to stand-out stardom.

Job Evaluation Revisited: The Point Factor Method

Source: John G. Kilgour, Compensation & Benefits Review, Vol. 40 no. 4, 2008
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The point factor method of job evaluation consists of a large number of discretionary decisions that result in something that appears to be entirely objective and, even, scientific.

This article examines the oldest and most commonly used formal approach to job evaluation, the point factor method. It focuses on how and why things are done, with particular attention to the extent to which discretionary decisions are inherent in the process. Other approaches to formal job evaluation (the Hay guide-chart profile method, factor comparison, ranking and classification) are not addressed. However, much of the following discussion pertains to them as well.

The Perfect Compromise: Bridging the Gap between At-Will Employment and Just Cause

Source: Nicole B. Porter, Nebraska Law Review, (Forthcoming)

From the abstract:
Many scholars have criticized the harshness of the employment at-will presumption, which allows an employer to terminate an employee for good reason, bad reason, or no reason at all. Other scholars defend at-will employment and criticize the just cause standard. This Article does not take sides in this debate; but instead, attempts to bridge the gap between the two by proposing a compromise statute, which I call the Employment Termination Equity Act (ETEA). Under ETEA, employers would remain free to terminate without having the difficult burden of proving just cause. However, certain enumerated reasons for termination would be unlawful. In determining which termination decisions should warrant protection, my goal was two-fold: (1) to make unlawful egregious termination decisions that have previously been unremedied despite the many exceptions to at-will employment and (2) to provide some overlap protection with current employment statutes by using a procedural process that will be more easily accessible by employees. Yet, in the spirit of true compromise, ETEA will provide fewer types of remedies than other employment statutes or common law claims, and will force plaintiffs to choose between suit under this proposed termination statute and other statutory remedies. As with any compromise, lines had to be drawn and line-drawing never satisfies everyone. My goal in this article is to convince the reader to view my line drawing optimistically – as a necessary means of bridging the gap between at-will employment and just cause.

Transforming Government Through Collaborative Innovation

Source: Satish Nambisan, IBM Center for the Business of Government, Innovation Series, 2008

This report offers a network-based, collaborative innovation framework to explain how government agencies (federal, state, and local) can partner with varied external networks and communities — including citizen networks, nonprofit organizations, and private corporations — and play different types of problem-solving roles to find innovative solutions that drive transformational change in the business of government” (p. 6). This report contains the following sections: executive summary; introduction; network-based collaborative approaches in government; government as innovation integrator; government as innovation seeker; government as innovation champion; government as innovation catalyst; four success factors in collaborative innovation; and implementing collaborative innovation and problem solving.

Grading the States 2008: A Management Report Card

Source: Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene, Governing Magazine, March 2008

Information is king. No single idea emerges more clearly from year-long research done for the 2008 Government Performance Project. As always, this report focuses on four fundamental areas of government management: Information, People, Money and Infrastructure. But this year, the elements that make up the information category — planning, goal-setting, measuring performance, disseminating data and evaluating progress — overlap with the other three fields to a greater degree than ever before. Information elements, in short, are key to how a state takes care of its infrastructure, plans for its financial future and deals with the dramatic changes affecting the state workforce.

Get individual state report cards via dropdown menu.

See also:
Pew Center on the States

Navigating Pennsylvania’s Dynamic Workforce: Succession Planning in a Complex Environment

Source: Kimberly A. Helton and Robert D. Jackson, Public Personnel Management, Vol. 36 no. 4, Winter, 2007
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Through its workforce and succession planning efforts, Pennsylvania is committed to proactively indentifying, preparing for and maintaining pools of well-trained and motivated state government employees to assume critical positions of leadership. But the concept of leadership extends beyond senior-level positions within agencies. The goal in Pennsylvania is to improve leadership capabilities in every work unit and to encourage all employees to use their skills to build stronger teams. Leadership at all levels means equipping employees with the tools, skills and expectations to communicate effectively and foster leadership at every organizational level. Leadership at all levels ensures that no lack of business continuity results from staff departures such as retirements, resignations, promotions or reassignments or other situations in which an individual is unable to or unwilling to continue his or her role within an organization.

State Government Employee Health Benefits in the United States

Source: Christopher G. Reddick and Jerrell D. Coggburn, Review of Public Personnel Administration, Vol. 27 no. 1, March 2007
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Employer-sponsored health benefits are an important but relatively understudied area in public sector human resource management. This study examines the choices that state governments make in the United States and the views of state human resource directors (HRD) on health benefits. Survey data, gathered from state HRDs in fall 2005, reveal several important findings: In terms of choices, the most common plan offered is the preferred provider organization (PPO); less than one third of states offer health benefits to nontraditional partners; health benefits improve employee satisfaction and the performance of the state government; and cost to the state government is the most important factor that affects choice of plan. There is not a high level of agreement on what strategies state government should pursue to reduce costs of health benefits; however, there is some agreement that premiums will be increasing in the near future.