Human Resource Management in the Public Sector
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Human Resource Management in the Public Sector

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.
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Chapter 9: Employee turnover in public agencies: examining the extent and correlates

Mark Bradbury, Jessica E. Sowa and J. Edward Kellough


No matter how well designed an organization’s human resource management (HRM) system is, a certain amount of employee turnover is to be expected in even the most effective establishment (Cho and Lewis, 2012; Kellough and Osuna, 1995; Moynihan and Landuyt, 2008; Selden, 2009; Selden and Moynihan, 2000). Turnover, when not excessive, can produce positive changes for organizations, infusing them with new ideas and bringing the latest training and technologies into the work setting (Kellough and Osuna, 1995; US Merit Systems Protection Board, 1989). Because government agencies, as the reform efforts of the past 25 years have argued, are not always the most flexible in terms of their management of people (Battaglio, 2010; Lavigna and Hays, 2004; Park and Joo, 2010; Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2000), the presence of some turnover may prevent them from becoming stagnant over time and could encourage high levels of performance. However, turnover obviously can also impose costs associated with recruiting and training replacement workers, especially when highly skilled employees leave an organization.

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