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 11: Motivation, job satisfaction and retention/turnover in the public sector

Wouter Vandenabeele


Within the framework of human resources management in the public sector, it is essential to reflect upon motivation, job satisfaction and retention as related concepts. Most public sector organizations employ large cohorts of people, without which these organizations would not be able to operate at all. For all organizations – public, private or non-profit – employees are crucial to the daily operations (Kojasteh, 1993). Moreover, contrasted to the private sector organizations, where the competitive advantage often lies in physical or financial capital that is owned by a company, this is not the case in the public sector. Next to a set of legal resources – granted by political processes – the competitive advantage (if any) of public sector organizations is often situated with its human resources. The difference between a poor-performing and a well-performing police force can often be found in its officers and similarly the difference between an effective ministry and an ineffective one is often reflected in its civil servants.

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