Table of Contents

Human Resource Management in the Public Sector

Human Resource Management in the Public Sector

New Horizons in Management series

Edited by Ronald J. Burke, Andrew J. Noblet and Cary L. Cooper

This insightful book presents current thinking and research evidence on the role of human resource management policies and practices in increasing service quality, efficiency and organizational effectiveness in the public sector.

Chapter 2: The distinctiveness of human resource management in the public sector

Catherine Truss

Subjects: business and management, human resource management, organisational behaviour, public management, politics and public policy, public administration and management, public policy


The global economic crisis that began in 2008 triggered successive waves of transformational reform within the public services of many nations around the globe. Bach (2011) notes that within the UK, for instance, some government departments are witnessing budget cuts of 25 per cent with the public sector expected to shed 330 000 jobs. UK local authorities are being asked to secure savings of 30 per cent over four years, and it is likely that significant numbers of jobs will be lost in all areas of the public sector, with some activities being drastically cut back, and others completely halted (Bach, 2011; HM Treasury, 2010). The situation in many other economies, including Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain, is even more serious. As governments around the world seek to impose rapid and drastic curbs on public spending, by not only cutting jobs but also introducing substantially less favourable pay and conditions for those remaining, mass union protests have taken place in many countries with more inevitably to follow, signalling an era of increasingly adversarial relations between government and public sector workers (Bach, 2011; OECD, 2008).

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