Human resource and change management functions

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In the field of public administration, the way managers motivate their employees is of vital importance. Managers create rewards systems that acknowledge employees' accomplishments. Regardless of sector, employees are all motivated by different means. Some employees are motivated by monetary rewards, while others seek internal gratification through their work. Frey and Osterloh (2002) explain that employees are either motivated through intrinsic (i.e. satisfaction and gratification) rewards or through extrinsic (i.e. monetary gain) rewards and that these two modes of motivation must be balanced accordingly by managers.

Proper motivation is crucial to a person's levels of organizational commitment and job satisfaction. According to scholarly theorist Moon (2000), there is a positive association between proper motivational techniques and an employee's levels of job satisfaction and organizational commitment. Managers who are not skillful at identifying their intrinsically motivated employees from their extrinsically motivated employees may suffer the detrimental effects of poor work performance, high turnover, absenteeism, low levels of organizational commitment, and low levels of job satisfaction (Tietjen and Myers 1998).

There have been many theories of motivation published in the scholarly literature base. For example, motivation is a fundamental aspect of Abraham Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Maslow (1962) explained that a person has a certain number of needs and that these needs serve as motivators for the individual. One must have these needs met before they can move forward to the next level. Maslow (1962) stated that there were five levels of needs:

Psychological needs

Safety needs

Love and belongingness



In workplace environments, if an employee does not have their psychological and safety needs accommodated (i.e. food, water, home) then they are unlikely to be able to move on to the higher levels of self-esteem and self-actualization.

Motivation is distinctively different in the public sector when compared to the private sector. This distinctive difference spawns from the fact that the public sector has a different mission and a different goal than those in private sector industries (Buelens and Broeck 2007). The public sector's primary mission and goal is to provide services to the public for the least amount of money possible. The mission and goal of the private sector is to make money. Those working in private sector industries are often more inclined towards extrinsic motivation versus intrinsic motivation; however, the different types of motivation exist in both sectors and managers must pay close attention to the ways their employees prefer to be motivated.


Rice (2005) explains that "diversity is creating unparalleled workplace challenges" (p. 45). The reason for these challenges evolves from the fact that public administrators must administer services to everyone equally with equitable representation. Scholars, such as Leonard and Hilgert (2007), define the concept of diversity by stating that it is the difference between an individual's race, gender, age, culture, and education, combined with many other characteristics. Equal representation has not always been successfully carried out in the public sector. There has been a historical male dominance within the public sector and women have been unequally represented, in particular (Stivers 2002). The white male has been the gender that has been most represented in government and public administration.

In today's societies, diversity is increasing rather rapidly. As a result, we are living in a globalized nation that is based on innovative technological trends. Pitt (2007) explains that the economy in the United States is affected by globalization through communication and international business affairs. Pitt (2007) also explains that innovative technological advances enable those with disabilities to become productive participants in the workforce. Through technology, globalization has broken down geographical barriers and people are faced with increased interaction with other cultures more and more. Public administrators have had to respond to this phenomenon and continue to deliver services efficiently.

Due to differences in accountability, mission, and goals, meeting the needs of a diverse population is not the same within the public and private sectors. For example, affirmative action policies have been designed and implemented in order to ensure equity in employment practices. For example, Pitt (2007) explains that affirmative action policies put pressure on those in the public sector to promote qualified people to appropriate positions and often have to abide by quotas. Both sectors deal with the obstacles associated with discriminatory practices within the workplace. Stivers (2002) explains that women have been suppressed in the workplace throughout history, particularly in the bureaucracy, and still do not earn as much as men or hold the positions that men do in organizations and businesses alike.


Performance measures are frequently used in the field of public administration in order to gauge levels of productivity. Productivity is defined in the scholarly literature as the relationship that exist between inputs and outputs that are strongly interconnected with creation and value (Tangen 2003). The reason for this strong interconnectivity is that when resources and activities increase the value of a program, productivity reaches its optimal levels of performance (Tangen 2003). Tangen (2002) explains that the entire concept of productivity is the result of four different elements:





Public administrative theories have been designed in an attempt to explain ways to increase productivity. For example, Fredrick Taylor's time and motion studies were conducted in order to find out if a division of labor approach to accomplishing tasks would increase productivity (Whitaker 1981). Taylor focused on "one best way" to accomplish tasks productively. Other theorists, such as Douglas McGregor, formulated theories to explain the connection between productivity and human behavior. McGregor's Theory X and Theory Y theory explains how humans behave differently in regards to work and motivation. Neuliep (1996) explains McGregor's work by stating that McGregor assumed Theory X people to be lazy and micromanagement was necessary to keep them working at productive levels. Theory Y individuals, however, are the opposite and often seek internal gratification through their work (Neuliep 1996).

Productivity within the public and private sectors is inherently different. This difference comes from the fact that the mission and goals of the public and private sector are not the same. Private sector industries generally place a primary emphasis on profit and profit only. Their levels of productivity are often measured through analyzing their profit to loss margins or through a cost-benefit analysis. Public sector organizations may measure productivity differently because their main goal is to provide the best services to the public for the least amount of cost possible. Things like "free riders" can decrease levels of productivity for the public sector. Efficiency can also be hindered because of exhaustive rules and regulations within public bureaucracies.

Organizational Design and Structure

Faulkner (2002) describes organizational design and structure as "the formal allocation of work that integrates and controls an organization's activities" (p. 116). The concepts and ideals of organizational design and structure have changed dramatically since the early days of public administrative research. For example, Argyriades (2010) explains that Max Weber's Ideal Bureaucracy was based on ways to deliver the most efficient services possible through a tall hierarchical structure that was designed to enforce exhaustive rules. Weber's Ideal Bureaucracy focused on top-down commands and specific expertise. Throughout the years, New Public Management theories have changed the way the traditional bureaucracy is operated (Moon 2000). Currently, it is commonplace for public administrative offices to be designed as flat organizations that take outside environmental factors into consideration. Flat organizational designs and structures promote things like participatory decision making and team work environments.

In both sectors, public and private, there are formal and informal structures. Due to accountability constraints and pressures within the public sector, structures are often different. Public sector organizations are accountable to their elected officials and must implement the policies that are designed and signed into law. Private sector industries do not have to abide by accountability measures of this nature; therefore, their structures are most likely different than those in the public sector. Both sectors, however, have their own distinctive cultures in every business or agency and these cultures can be seen with the human eye.

Collaboration and Coordination

Sometimes it can be difficult for an organization to achieve certain goals and tasks on their own; therefore, collaboration with other entities is often necessary (Horne and Paris 2009). A collaboration is an arrangement that is coordinated between several agencies that has been formed in an attempt to accomplish a difficult task, goal, or vision (Horne and Paris 2009). In regards to the concept of collaboration, Leonard and Hilgert (2007) explain that this process is beneficial in helping to realize the needs of societies and then address those needs through improvements and changes in the implementation stages of policy. In collaborative agencies, one would most likely observe a sharing of authority between managers and subordinates within the realm of decision making (Leonard and Hilgert 2007). There are two types of collaboration: Internal and External. Ayers (2009) explains that internal collaboration occurs within an agency. An internal collaborative effort may consist of a multitude of departments within one agency that have come together to accomplish a certain goal. An external collaboration consists of outside participants. For example, a nonprofit agency may garner strategic partnerships in an attempt to strengthen their relationship within their community for the purpose of obtaining grant funding or carrying out initiatives. External collaborations entail joining together forces and resources.

Collaboration and coordination were developed relatively early on in the field of public administration and can be seen in classical theories of public management. Taylor's theories were indicative of collaborative efforts with his division of labor theory (Whitaker 1981). Other early theorists, such as Chester Barnard, addressed the relationship between organizations in general and the theory of coordination. Barnard wrote in the The Functions of the Executive (1938) that an organization is "a system of consciously coordinated activities of forces of two or more persons" (p. 73). This is a sharp contrast to classical theories because Barnard's research was focused on how individuals could coordinate efforts and cooperative activities to advance an organization and make its capabilities stronger.

Collaborative and coordination efforts are prevalent and utilized in both the public and private sector; however, the efforts are often distinctively different. For example, nonprofit or public entities may team together like stakeholders in order to obtain public funding for the purpose of carrying out goods and services to the public. The private sector does not seek out grant funding as aggressively as those in the public and nonprofit sectors. Furthermore, private sector industries are not under the accountability constraints that those of the public sector are. Politics play a larger role in collaboration and coordination efforts within the public sector in comparison to the private sector. Those in the private sector are not held accountable to elected officials or the public.

Decision Making

The process of decision making and the way that decisions are ultimately made is a fundamental aspect of all organizations and often determines an agency's culture (Yarwood and Nimmo 1976). Furthermore, to reiterate the importance of the approach to decision making in agencies, Leonard and Hilbert (2007) explain that methods of decision making are central to managerial functions. Change is inevitable in organizations and must be dealt with through decision making in order to create and/or change certain situations (Milakovich and Gordon 2008). Contingent upon the organization's structure and culture, the method of decision making can vary greatly between agencies and businesses alike.

Tall organizations that have adopted a top-down approach to management are least likely to permit or promote a participatory style to decision making. In tall organizational structures, decisions typically come straight from those in management positions without input from subordinates. Flat organizations have been designed in a way that is more conducive to participatory decision making because they encourage open communication and a team work environment. Herbert Simon (1948) coined the term "satisfice" in an attempt to explain how decisions are made in organizations and businesses. When a person engages in satisficing to make a decision, they generally have a limited amount of time and resources and they choose their ultimate decisions with a limited set of available resources. This is one theory of many that have been designed to explain how decisions are made in organizations. Theorists have explained that public administrators make decisions rationally, incrementally, and spontaneously.

Decision making within the public and private sectors occurs differently and for different reasons. Decision making in the public sector is usually made to change and/or improve a public service that has been designed and implemented to address a social issue. The private sector, however, makes decisions that are typically solely based on profit and margin. Moreover, decisions that are made within the public sector are often decentralized because there are many government actors in the decision making process. Government actors do not always play a role within private sector industries when it comes to making decisions.


Graber (2003) explains that communication can occur within organizations through the agency's rules and organizational structure, through written documents, and through face-to-face dialogue between managers and their subordinates. There are different types of communication. Agencies may adopt a horizontal communication style that encourages upward communication (Rainey 2003). Other agencies that prefer for communication to not ignite strictly at the very top may adopt a vertical communication style, which encourages a downward approach to communication. Agencies that strive to communicate with external entities may utilize an outward approach to communication. An organization's culture and structure often determines how managers and employees communicate with each other.

Rogers and Argawala-Rogers (1976) explained that there are certain communication roles within organizations. Rainey (2003) elaborated on Rogers and Argawala-Rogers' findings by explain that there are four distinctive communication roles that people play: gatekeepers, opinion leaders, liaisons, and cosmopolites. Gatekeepers tend to control the flow of information between units, whereas opinion leaders are sought out by others in order to obtain information about making one's own opinion. Liaisons are like information transmitters and cosmopolites act as connectors between the external and internal environment bringing information in from the outside.

As with other elements that have been discussed thus far in this organizational overview, communication processes within the public sector differ from those in the private sector. Gelders, Burkhart, and Ruler (2006) explain that the public sector has four different elements of communication when compared to the private sector. First, because of red tape and societal factors, public sector agencies tend to be more complicated than private sector industries. Complications can also be attributed to the fact that they are held accountable by elected officials. Secondly, due to accountability, the public sector must comply with legalities. Third, red tape causes the bureaucracy to be somewhat inflexible in comparison to private sector businesses. Lastly, the public sector has to acknowledge the diverse needs of the public at large. In private sector industries, communication may occur from the top-down or from the bottom to the top.

Power and Politics

It is undeniable that power and politics are related. Furthermore, it is undeniable that politics has a certain amount of power over public bureaucracies. Theorists, such as Mumby (2001), have stated that communication processes are mediated by power and that power is a "defining, ubiquitous feature of organizational life" (p. 585). In the early days of public administration, bureaucracies were corrupt due to extreme amounts of coercive political power; although, policies have been designed and implemented in an attempt to deter coercive political power, it still exist because of the accountability relationship that is ever-so-prevalent between administrators and politicians. Politicians have a lot of influence over societies and Scott (2001) explains that the concept of power is related to such words as influence, control, and authority. Mumby (2001) explains that politics is power enacted and resisted.

Leonard and Hilgert (2007) explained the different sources of power. According to Leonard and Hilgert (2007), there are five sources from which power can derive from:

Reward power

Coercive power

Legitimate power

Expert power

Charismatic power

In my own words, reward power comes from the knowledge that a subordinate knows who has the power to administer rewards. This knowledge is utilized and the subordinate will behave accordingly in order to receive the reward. Coercive power, as discussed earlier, comes from a negative place where someone in a high position uses their power and prestige to get something accomplished in an underhanded fashion. Legitimate power comes from a positive place where a person is granted power and is respected by others. Expert power transpires from a person being in a powerful position because their expertise is needed. Charismatic power can be seen in transformational leaders. These people have a natural born quality that promotes leading through charismatic powers.

Politics play a much bigger role in the public sector than in the private sector. The reason for this powerful presence can be attributed to the fact that public administrators are held accountable by their elected officials. There is an undeniable connection between power, politics, and the bureaucracy. Politicians write and design policies in order to address social issues. Public administrators are responsible for the most important stage of policy and that is implementation.

Organizational Culture

Trice and Beyer (1993) explain that organizational culture is the pattern of shared meaning in an organization. Schein (1992) explained that an organization's culture can be seen on three levels:


Basic values

Basic assumptions

Elaborating on Schein's theory, it is often possible to observe an organization's culture with the naked eye. For example, an organization's artifacts play a role in the make-up of the culture and artifacts can be seen. Artifacts may include, but are not limited to, certain things such as words, symbols, rituals, and ceremonies. Rainey (2003) explains that the next level, basic values, may not be as observable to the human eye. Employees within an organization share basic values about the way things ought to be and these feelings cannot necessarily be observed by the naked eye. Basic assumptions are the way the people within the organization believe the agency should operate. It is stated in the scholarly literature that culture is often measured through assessing four different traits:




Mission (Nier 2008).

Organizational cultures can be informal or formal, as well. A formal culture may embrace a strict dress code that enforces everyday wear of business attire. This would be an example of an artifact. Informal cultures may be more accepting and encouraging of casual attire. These are just two examples of how cultures can operate and once they are developed they can be very hard to change. For example, it may be difficult for an informal agency to suddenly have to adapt to a formal dress code. In the event this change was not brought about wisely and incrementally, employees may become disgruntled and their levels of organizational commitment and job satisfaction may decrease.

Overall, cultures are basically the same in the public and the private sector because all agencies and businesses alike develop and adopt their own unique cultures. In both sectors, leadership styles, management styles, missions, goals, visions, structure, design, communication processes, decision making processes, internal and external environmental roles, etc., all play an equal role in the make-up of an organization's or business's culture; although, it is often the culture of private sector industries to concentrate on profit versus the common good.