Category Archives: Public Sector

Managerial Practice and Diversity Climate: The Roles of Workplace Voice, Centralization, and Teamwork

Source: Zhongnan Jiang, Leisha DeHart-Davis, Erin L. Borry, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022
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From the abstract:
Diversity climate—shared employee perceptions of the extent to which an organization is inclusive and fair—is of increasing interest to public administration scholars. While research has linked diversity climate to a range of employee and organizational outcomes, less is known about how common managerial practices affect diversity climate. This article addresses this gap by examining three such practices: workplace voice, centralized decision-making, and teamwork. Each is theoretically expected to act upon both the inclusion and fairness dimensions of diversity climate. We test these expectations using regression analysis of departmental-level data collected through surveys of four North Carolina public organizations. The results suggest that workplace voice and teamwork enhance diversity climate, while centralized decision-making diminishes it in workplaces with mostly white employees. Practically speaking, the results imply that common management techniques that benefit public organizations also foster positive diversity climates.

Intersectionality and Social Welfare: Avoidance and Unequal Treatment among Transgender Women of Color

Source: Adam M. Butz, Tia Sherèe Gaynor, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022
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From the abstract:
This research adds to the emergent literature on intersectionality and public administration through examining how transgender women of color (trans WOC) are interacting with U.S. social welfare offices. It is our contention that trans WOC, facing a compounded set of negative stereotypes derived from racial and gender identities, will be more likely than other transgender identifying persons to: (1) avoid seeking out public welfare benefits and (2) be more likely to report experiencing discriminatory treatment in social welfare offices. Using data from the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey we uncover evidence that trans WOC are more likely to avoid social welfare offices and face discrimination in social welfare offices. Scholars and administrators of social welfare programs, including Social Security related benefits, should be aware of the potential for public benefit avoidance and administrative discrimination directed toward historically marginalized groups and prioritize social equity considerations among clients facing compounded intersectional barriers.

Representative Bureaucracy Theory and the Implicit Embrace of Whiteness and Masculinity

Source: Shannon Portillo, Nicole Humphrey, Domonic A. Bearfield, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022

From the abstract:
Throughout much of representative bureaucracy literature, scholars have primarily focused on the representation of people seen as other in the professional workforce—people of color and women. However, whiteness and masculinity have been central to the development of public administration as a field of scholarship and practice. As a field, we have often avoided explicit discussions regarding the impact whiteness and masculinity. We argue that silences around race and gender have significant implications. Using representative bureaucracy as a frame, we seek to highlight how acknowledging whiteness and masculinity in our scholarship can help provide a more comprehensive understanding of race and gender in public administration.

Is There a Glass Cliff in Local Government Management? Examining the Hiring and Departure of Women

Source: Lang Kate Yang, Laura Connolly, Jennifer M. Connolly, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022
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From the abstract:
Women are underrepresented in public sector leadership positions, including municipal management. We examine one explanation that may contribute to gender inequity in the profession—a “glass cliff” phenomenon whereby councils are more likely to hire women as managers during difficult times, increasing the likelihood for women to fail in the position. Using original observational data on municipal managers in Florida, we test whether municipalities are more likely to hire women during times of fiscal stress and whether women are more likely than men to leave the position if municipal finances do not improve. Our results show that increasing budget deficits are associated with municipalities hiring women as managers. Post-appointment, a lack of improvement in the deficit condition is associated with a higher probability of women, but not men, leaving the position. A glass cliff in municipal management could be one factor that hinders women from advancing within the field.

The Role of Gender in Government and Nonprofit Workplaces: An Experimental Analysis of Rule Compliance and Supervisor Trust

Source: Jaclyn Piatak, Jared McDonald, Zachary Mohr, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022
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From the abstract:
The underrepresentation of women in leadership positions persists. Existing research examines barriers women face in climbing organizational hierarchies, but we know less about women who break past the glass ceiling. Once women obtain supervisory positions, do they face additional hurdles in managing employees? Specifically, how does gender, gender congruence, and rule formalization influence employee rule compliance and trust? Using a survey experiment across both government and nonprofit contexts, we find that both men and women are more likely to trust men managers, but this gender gap is mitigated when rules are written. Gender congruence plays a role for rule compliance, where both men and women are more compliant when the supervisor matches their gender, while gender congruence is only a significant factor for enhancing trust for men. The findings advance role incongruence theory and have implications for the challenges women leaders face in terms of trust and rule following.

Beyond a Numbers Game? Impact of Diversity and Inclusion on the Perception of Organizational Justice

Source: Trang Hoang, Jiwon Suh, Meghna Sabharwal, Public Administration Review, Volume 82, Issue 3, May/June 2022
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From the abstract:
Organizational justice, diversity, and inclusion are central tenets of social equity in public organizations. This study explores the effects of diversity management and inclusive leadership practices on employees’ perceptions of organizational justice. Drawing from FedScope and the 2019 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, we find that an increase in the number of women and Black, Indigenous and other People of Color (BIPOC) is not sufficient to improve employees’ perceptions toward organizational justice; rather, as workforce diversity increases, the perception of organizational justice decreases when the relationship is moderated by an active form of diversity management, such as an organization’s policies and programs to promote heterogeneous workgroups. The results suggest that as workplace diversity increases, inclusive leadership practices positively influence organizational justice. The findings also indicate that the impact of diversity and inclusion on employees’ perceptions of organizational justice differs by gender and race.

Police and Fire Pensions in Florida: A Comparison of Conditions After 10 Years

Source: Joseph Vonasek, Robert Lee, Compensation & Benefits Review, OnlineFirst, April 5, 2021
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From the abstract:
This article is an analysis of 31 defined benefit police and fire pension plans of 20 municipalities in Florida. The authors conducted a similar assessment of these same plans ten years earlier to determine the fiscal impact of these plans due to state mandates that accompany state funding for each of these plans. The current study analyzes key measures of fiscal health over the last ten years for these same plans to ascertain whether the fiscal condition of these plans remained constant, that is, whether underfunded plans continued to be questionably managed and whether well-funded plans continued to be fiscally stable considering economic trends and the lessening of state mandates on the use of state funding for these plans. The findings show that the overwhelming majority of the plans neither significantly changed their financial condition nor their general ranking among the plans evaluated.

Diversity in Public Sector Hiring Report, 2021

Source: NEOGOV, 2021

From the beginning of 2018 to the end of 2019, we analyzed millions of recruitments through our applicant tracking system that serves city, county, and state governments across the country. Analyzing 16 million applicants by race and ethnicity and 17.4 million applicants by gender, we sought to identify where the drop-offs took place throughout the recruitment process by race, ethnicity, and gender.
• Diverse candidates are well-represented in government, but Black candidates have to apply at a significantly higher rate to maintain that representation
• White candidates are always hired above their application percentage, while Black candidates are always hired below their application percentage
• Eligible Black female applicants are 39% less likely to be interviewed and, once interviewed, are 31% less likely to be hired than eligible White male applicants
• Black females were 26% more likely to be interviewed and 33% more likely to be hired when PII blinding was used. When interviewers use a scoring rubric, Black females are 21% more likely to be hired.

Public Pension Governance and Opportunistic Accounting Choice: A Politico-Economic Approach

Source: Odd J. Stalebrink, Pierre Donatella, The American Review of Public Administration, Volume: 51 issue: 3, April 2021
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From the abstract:
The selection of actuarial assumptions used to value state and local government pension liabilities is an important culprit of the looming state and local pension crisis in the U.S. Due to the impact these selection choices have on the value of pension liabilities and annual required contributions (ARC), pension plans are often said to make these choices opportunistically for purposes of freeing up budget resources and making pension funding look better. Using empirical data on 114 state-administered pension plans, this research shows that the likelihood of such opportunistic pension accounting choices (OPAC) increases when the plan is underfunded, organized as a cost-sharing plan, governed by a politically embedded fiduciary body, and when the sponsoring government is surrounded by a high degree of unionization, and is divided in terms of partisan control. The results also show that the likelihood of OPAC decreases when a pension plan is subjected to an audit by a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), suggesting that professional gatekeepers can play an important role in limiting the adverse effects of OPAC behavior, including insufficient ARC payments and reduced transparency of governmental financial reports.

Public Corruption and Pension Underfunding in the American States

Source: Cheol Liu, John Mikesell, Tima T. Moldogaziev, American Review of Public Administration, OnlineFirst, Published February 16, 2021
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From the abstract:
Unfunded public pension obligations represent a great challenge for policy makers in the American states. We posit that a part of pension underfunding relates to the level of public corruption. Empirical findings in the article show that funding ratios in public pension funds are inversely related to the incidence levels of corruption in the state, with other fiscal, political, and institutional covariates held constant. We show that this can happen through higher pension benefits, lower actuarially required contributions (ARCs), lower percentage of actual ARC contributions, and poorer investment outcomes. Based on empirical estimates, we find that a reduction of corruption by one standard deviation around the mean would permit the states to save on pension benefits by 10.24% annually (or US$1,894.64 per recipient), increase required ARC by 4.40%, increase actual ARC contributions by 8.46%, and improve investment returns by 4.72%. Therefore, policies to reduce public-sector corruption, or to improve the insulation of pension funds in relatively more corrupt environments, can make a significant contribution toward tackling the public pension underfunding crisis in the American states.