Reinventing the Third World State
New Horizons in Public Policy series
Edited by Willy McCourt and Martin Minogue
Chapter 9: Human resource management and new public management: two sides of a coin that has a low value in developing countries?
Harry Taylor INTRODUCTION Changes in the ways that both public and private sector organizations have been managed, and in particular in the ways that their employees have been managed, have accelerated in the last 15 to 20 years. Regardless of whether we are considering the private or public sectors, employees are given the message that there are no longer ‘jobs for life’, that performance and results are allimportant and that in terms of career, employees should ‘pack their own parachute’. In the face of globalization, an increasingly international division of labour, increased competitive pressures, and the worldwide desire to reduce public expenditure and improve public services, employees (if they retain that status) are facing intensifying pressures to abandon old attitudes and work practices in favour of flexibility, pay for performance, reduced job security and an increasing individualization of the employment relationship at the expense of collective bargaining and consensus. Of course these changes have not proceeded evenly across sectors and regions, and in some circumstances the changes are more visible and advanced than in others. However, my argument in this chapter is that the ways of managing employees have changed in a way that broadly reflects the intentions of the ‘New Right’ agenda. In order to operationalize these tenets it has been necessary to construct a politically neutral justification for detailed reform of the employment relationship. I further argue that ‘new public management’ (NPM) and ‘human resource management’ (HRM), whilst operating separately with different academic and practitioner audiences, both serve...
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