Human Resource Management In Public Sectors Cultural Studies Essay

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The Public Sector Organization just like any Private Organization needs to hire, develop and train employees and establish a payment system, set conditions of employment and develop a coherent set of employment policies. The general principles of Human Resource Management remain the same even in the Public Sector, that is, to ensure that the employees are able to meet the organizations goals efficiently and the human potential- individual capabilities and talents are maximally and effectively utilized along with ensuring taking care of employee needs and satisfaction for the work they perform. The fundamental difference lies with the focus on the public interest outcomes rather than private interests. A Human Resource Manager in the Public Sector must recognize the political aspect of the pubic sector management. Public sector Human Resource Management practices effect the selection and experiences of government employees which, in turn, affects public policy. Constitutional, statutory and regulatory requirements often constrain personnel decisions and actions in the public sector as opposed to the private sector, thus, managers must have a working knowledge of these legal guidelines. In a Governmental setup the budget is very inflexible and it is very difficult to relocate resources or obtain additional funding.

In a private setup, anyone can be fired at any time; severance packages are a cost of doing business. Non-producers can be fired; while in the public sector separation for poor performance requires extensive documentation over a long period of time. Job security, stability, and sheer size of organizations tend to foster strong bureaucratic attitudes and resistance to change. These are some of the challenges that a Human Resource Manager needs to address in the public sector.

Traditionally, the concept of Human Resource Management in the public sector was more of "Personal Administration" than "People Management". The administrative system is subjected to a bureaucratization of procedures to ensure that decisions and actions are consistent, formalized and systematically addressed activities through a pre-defined application of rules and processes. In this setting, employment systems are highly centralized and payment variations based on performance is not allowed. It is based on the rank or position one has in the government and not the quality or hours of work one puts into their job. This leads to inefficiency and lack of responsiveness and responsibility in a government employee. This concept has been gradually changing with an emphasis on transferring private sector management techniques into the public sector to achieve efficiency, effectiveness and quality of service. This new model of management involves the application of physical, financial and human resources to realize government objectives. The new model of public management is argued to be a 'flexible, market-based form'. It relies on "Performance Management" for workforce flexibility and productivity. With the major changes and reforms to the public sector Human Resource Management, there has been a dilution of some of the practices and conditions that have traditionally set the public sector apart from other organizations in the private and non-profit sectors. This had led to an increase in faith of the public in their government which has now come out to be more efficient and consistent in its responsibilities with the application of new "people" management strategies.

A major challenge facing a Human Resource Manager in the public sector is to strike a balance between the role of managing government employees such that their talents and abilities are utilized to the maximum and ensuring that they have a comfortable and satisfying working environment all within the limits of the legal and political structure which is an integral part of the public organizations and cannot be changed.


Class notes, class discussions, Journals & presentation of Dr. Chimezie Ozurumba

Textbook- Human Resource Management- The Public Service Perspective by Patton, D; Witt, S; Loverich, N; & Frederickson

Human Resource Management in the Public Sector- Kerry Brown

Q 3: How do federal laws define sexual harassment in the workplace? Is sexual harassment the same as discrimination? Should a "reasonable worker's standard" or a "reasonable woman's standard" be utilized to determine instances of sexual harassment? Discuss the relationship between power, authority, and instances of harassment.


In the United States, charges of sexual harassment are usually handled under title VII of The Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits employment discrimination on the bases of race, color, religion, sex or national origin. Sexual harassment in the workplace is defined as-

" Any unwelcome verbal, written or physical conduct that either denigrates or shows hostility or aversion towards a person on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status, political affiliation, or disability, that:

(1) has the purpose or effect of creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment;

(2) has the purpose or effect of unreasonably interfering with an employee's work performance; or

(3) affects an employee's employment opportunities or compensation.

Discrimination refers to the unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice. Discrimination can take various forms based on race, color, religion, sex and nationality. Sexual harassment is thus synonymous with sex discrimination. While sexual harassment can affect men and women, it principally affects women. Hostile Environment harassment is a form of sexual harassment when a victim is subjected to unwelcome and severe or pervasive repeated sexual comments, innuendoes, touching, or other conduct which creates an intimidating or offensive place for employees to work.

The appropriate legal standard for determining the behaviors that constitute hostile working environment sexual harassment have not been clearly delineated. Confusions arise because behaviors that typically represent examples of hostile environment are subject to individual definitions. For example, females are more likely than males to view letters, telephone calls, materials of sexual nature, touching, leaning over cornering, pinching, sexually suggestive looks or gestures, pressure for dates, sexual teasing, jokes, remarks or questions as sexual harassing. Men consider sexual harassment at work as only natural and believe that women simply over react to that natural behavior. Men, who are rarely victims of sexual assault, may view sexual conduct in a vacuum without a full appreciation of the social setting or the underlying threat of violence that a woman may perceive.

A "reasonable worker standard" may not be appropriate as the "worker standard" essentially correlates with the "male standard" in a workforce which is male dominated where worker standards are decided by men. So giving preference to "reasonable worker standard" is equal to preferring the "reasonable male standard". Hence, a "reasonable woman's standard" should be considered in evaluating whether sexual harassment is sufficiently severe or pervasive to be actionable.

By definition, Power is simply the ability to act. The greater one's ability to act, the greater is his or her power, while Authority implies power over "someone". The use of Authority by men over women in a workplace is a way to keep women in their place; through harassment men devalue a woman's role in the work place by calling attention to her sexuality. No matter how many men they encounter in the course of their work, women who hold jobs traditionally held by men are far more likely to be harassed than women who do "women's work." With more power and authority in a man's hand, he becomes the harasser in most instances of sexual harassment over women, while in contrast to women in positions of power and authority were more likely to be the victim of every type of sexual harassment. More power in some organizations led to women being taunted, but it also opened the door for sexual solicitation, threats, and forced sexual contact.

The awareness about Sexual Harassment is remarkable because it records the process of individual women rejecting the worst of male behaviors. Those women who once lacked an understanding of why they were violated, who received no sympathy or support from their "protectors," have refused to remain silent and accept sexual harassment as an inevitable part of life.


Class notes, class discussions, Journals & presentation of Dr. Chimezie Ozurumba

Textbook- Human Resource Management- The Public Service Perspective by Patton, D; Witt, S; Loverich, N; & Frederickson

Reason Foundation 1994; Gale group 2004- A Reasonable Woman

Q 4. As more women enter the workforce, how has their position in the organization changed and how has it remained the same? How much power and authority have women gained through the years? Have women achieved equality with men in the workplace?


Women were traditionally regarded as home makers. The major roles that a woman had to play in the colonial period were that of a wife and mother. For many years, women continued to play these roles efficiently and so the word "woman" became synonymous with the word "home maker". The industrial revolution brought with it this shifting of roles for women. They began to digress from their roles as wives and mothers by participating in the labor force. Gradually women began to receive higher education, which helped raise their status from unskilled laborer to skilled laborer. With the turn of the century, women have acquired positions in both the private and the public sectors as managers and leaders traditionally regarded as a man's work.

With increasing education, women are now more career focused than their 19th century counterparts and there is a rise in the number of women climbing the corporate ladder. Over the years, the focus has shifted more on an individual's unique skills and talents to perform a task, rather than focusing on whether the task is a woman's task or a man's. This has helped women to enter areas of workforce that are male dominated. Women today constitute half of the work force in many developed and developing nations worldwide. There are personal skills and attributes, where generally, women are usually very strong, that have been identified as particularly desirable in the modern workplace. Some attributes women tend to excel in are Multi tasking, Stress management, managing conflicts effectively and communicating supportively to name a few. Women seem to have an edge over men in these aspects.

Women are better communicators - even across international barriers. They use their verbal skills to deal with emotions and act upon their emotions more consistently. Being an excellent communicator today is more important than ever before because of the shape of modern work and the modern workplace. Advanced communication skills gives women more of an edge over men in middle and senior management where the emphasis on communication is so strong. It's no surprise then, that if forced to choose between equally qualified male and female candidates for a top-level job, executives say they often pick the woman--not because of affirmative action or any particular desire to give the female a chance but because they believe she will do a better job. For an instance,

Brent Clark, CEO of Grand Rapids-based Pell Inc., the nation's largest foot-care chain, says he would choose a woman over a man, too. Women are more stable, he says, less turf-conscious, and better at ''all sorts of intangibles that can help an organization.'' Women have without a doubt earned power and authority both in terms of finance and power over the years gone by. They have come a long way in standing at par with their male counterparts in a male dominated society. According to the Institute of Management Studies in England, today's average female manager is aged 37 and has a salary of £31,550 while her average male colleague is 44 and earns £35,761. The number of women executives has doubled since 1990 and more than 15% of all managers are now female, compared with 7.9% in 1990. Some of the women are head honchos of major companies with global markets. Others are Chief Financial Officers and operations chieftains.  Women power is on the rise globally, not only at the top but also in senior and middle ranks of organisations, governments and politics.

In spite of this very encouraging and optimistic over view of the rise of women in the corporate world, there remains a glass ceiling that prevents women from rising too high. Female managers' strengths have long been undervalued, and their contributions in the workplace have gone largely unnoticed and unrewarded. Companies are now saying they want the skills women typically bring to the job, but such rhetoric doesn't always translate into reality. Some businesses view women only as workhorses, well-suited for demanding careers in middle management but not for prime jobs. Work-family balance issues often force women to interrupt their careers. As primary care-providers at home, women often find themselves sacrificing their career aspirations. Another major problem faced by women at the work place is harassment. As women yield less hierarchal power in an organization and men have more, sexual harassment serves as one method of powerful asserting control over the powerless. Hence although women seem to have advanced in many fronts, their stand remains the same as always in many issues due to the age old custom of being regarded as the weaker sex.

Women have made strong inroads into some careers and vocations, such as the professions and the church, which were at one time, wholly dominated by men. Now, cracks are appearing in the glass ceiling of other vocations and occupations. Gradually, women are entering middle and senior management. There may not be a flood, but the movement is so far advanced that even the most conservative bastions are being forced to open their minds. The competency and relevance of women in the 21st century workplace cannot be denied. Those who are hesitating about a particular appointment should ask themselves, "Why not a woman for this role?" Equal opportunity employers should seriously disregard gender considerations except where actual physical male attributes and qualities like physical strength are absolutely necessary to do the job.

With changing attitudes and proactive action by women, women power is on the rise.