Management Theory and Studies for Rural Business and Infrastructure Development, Volume 20

The impact of public sector reform on human resources management

Palmira Papšienė


Evolution of public administration has undergone significant changes but its studies were
initiated in the XIX century, when the book by W. Wilson „The Study of Administration“ was
published. Early public administration researchers were generally the reformers who believed in
the idea of the decentralized government. The most significant influence on the public administration
theories development had the works of W. Wilson, F. W. Taylor and M. Weber. On the
basis of those scientists’ work the traditional public administration paradigm was formed. Traditional
model non-compliance with the raised requirements and its bureaucracy had an impact on
public administration scholars to search for new, more efficient models. Both public and business
sector organizations faced new challenges and priorities. In the field of agrarian sector national,
regional and corporate economic interests had to be coordinated, where the need to provide
all activities with the appropriate number of appropriately qualified employees has manifested
itself. The need to increase organizational efficiency has emerged due to the new motivation
to seek change and knowledge. Successfully functioning public institutions reject the bureaucratic
management due to its rigidity, strict hierarchy, inexpedient use of public resources,
avoiding of innovations and other reasons. Weber believed that the pervasion of bureaucratic
system to all spheres of human activity is the only important development of the new world. It is
obvious that many other scholars and practitioners contributed to the development of the field of
public administration. However, there is not a single set of ideas agreed to by all those who contributed over the decades to the creation of the traditional public administration concept. As the
human resources management gained popularity the traditional concept of public sector as a
„model employer“ began to change gradually. Fundamental changes linked to the public management reform which requires a substantial change in human resources management have been indicated by many scientists. The ongoing reforms in the public sector usually involve changes in the civil servants‘ recruitment, training, evaluation, promotion and dismissal system. Public management reform is a conscious change in the structures and processes of public sector organizations in order to make them function better (in a certain sense). In many Western European and North American countries, in New Zealand and Australia the last two decades of the
twentieth century stood out for public sector reforms. Human resources management techniques
developed in the private sector gave the opportunity to adapt them in many areas of the public
management. These structural reforms have amended the context fundamentally and challenged
the traditional role of the personnel function. The conducted analysis of various countries in order
to summarize the role of personnel made it possible to establish the key reform objectives.
After the reviewing of general public sector personnel reform features it may be said that every
country has its own peculiarities. However, the reform development indicates some common features: job cuts, wage issues, personnel training and evaluation, efficiency.

Keyword(s): human resources management, new public management, traditional public administration

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Management Theory and Studies for Rural Business and Infrastructure Development eISSN 2345-0355

This journal is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. Responsible editor: Dr Audrius Gargasas.