At-will in the Public Sector:Integrating Classified SHANTANU BASU INSTRUCTOR: DR. J. STROBERG-WALKER EAC 785 NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY NOVEMBER 20, 2008
W is At-will? hat Employee serves an employer so long as the employer permits or likes to maintain the employee- employer relationship“With us, the rule is inflexible………a general orindefinite hiring is…….a hiring at will.” (1877, 136) –Horace Wood“Men must be left, without interference to buy andsell where they please, and to discharge or retainemployees at will for good cause or for no cause oreven for bad cause, without thereby being guilty of anunlawful act per se” (Payne v. Western AtlanticRailroad, Tennessee, 1884) – Tennessee Supreme Court
Central Problems Does at-will employment lead tomanagerial flexibility? What are the main effects of the at-willsystem, employees and managersperceive?
Sources RC Kearney G. Wilson Paul Battaglio Stephen Condrey LD Terry JS Bowman JS Gertz DB Stephens RL Williams JP West JP Kohl Richard Elling TL Thompson GC Sinnott S. Cohen W. Eimicke PJ Taylor R.Maranto CW Gossett JL Pierce Lee Haksoo JN Cayer PEW Trust J Walters SW Hays SC Selden Jessica Sowa JE Kellough L Hunter LC Nigro SC Coleman A Sproull Approx. 35 empirical articles related to at-will employmentand civil service reform – qualitative and quantitative andmultiple Internet based government and private databases
The Reality Of At-Will Vanishing Dollar Federal public debt $5.035 bn Federal deficit $7.2 tr 51.8% of feds retire by 2012 Similar for 4.2 m state employeesGraying Baby Boomers
Potential Significance Mixed work forces do not necessarily have lowgovernance ratings (Pew) Recent economic developments drive down wages –opportune moment for govts. to recruit qualified staff atlower cost Intrinsic and professional motivation of personnelNew Model of Government for the 21st century?
The FrameworkCONTIN- ADAPTIVE AT-WILL HYBRIDGENCY STRUCTURE SERVICE CLASSIFED FIT CIVIL STRUCTURE SERVICE Post-positivist structural contingency theory Fit structure Contingency Adapt contingency
Limitations Surveys key relationships in specific areas – current research is apprehension-centric – notbased upon age, sex, ethnicity, etc.
The Critics Argue………. Job Security Motivation Innovation Accountability Political Interference Unfettered managerialdiscretion Organizational Effectiveness
Managerial Flexibility No administrative devolution No pay hikes No due process No collective bargaining Studies voice apprehensions If no empowerment of managers thenwhy speculate? Limited empirical evidence, other thanperceptions
Job Security Perception related to grievable issueexpansion No real managerial flexibility High involuntary turnover Discharge for good cause not considered Judicial intervention not considered At-will manager to fire at-will employees? Locus standi of at-will established?
MotivationNo talent attractedNo dissenting opinionNo innovationUnfair evaluationsUnfair incentivesNo concrete evidenceOnly conjectureIs position far different from civil service system?
W is established…. hat At-will a reality Political nature of at-will Employee perceptions of loss of job security unfairness Managerial perception of easy-to-fire
…….and what is not Evidence contradictory No major increase in firings Judicial protections and damages Unionization of at-will employees Professional intrinsic motivation No comparison of performance withclassified civil service Good civil service or poor at-will?
Defining the Phenomenon Lived by several thousand people across vast geographical regions Not necessarily homogenous in functions or any ethnicconsiderations across states and federal governments As the structure attempts to adapt to the at-will contingency, itsincomplete transition causes the at-will personnel involved in it todevelop complexes of fear, distrust and unfairness that affectsmotivation, job satisfaction, and securityExternal factors now may force the final adaptation of the at-willcontingency as an economic necessity as also the means to achieving afit performance level
W Phenomenology? hy Describes universal essence Job insecurity and lack of motivation byat-will common concern Experiences not identical in all agenciesand areas Perceptions based on age, sex, ethnicity,etc.
Research Design *RQ: Research Question Macro LevelPhenomenology *RQ 1 *RQ 2 Identify themes at macro level Age, sex, ethnicity, skills and Micro Level geographical area Lack of managerial Phenomenology flexibility, unfairness in promotions, rewards/incentives, *RQ 1 arbitrary firings, legal *RQ 2 protections, low motivation Phenomenological Case Studies
Unit Levels of AnalysesTransportation Security Administration (TSA) Airport Managers At-will Transportation Security Officers (TSOs) 25% at-will employees Lowest ratings for governance Diversity of employees Unionized at-will employees High rate of attrition Low pay benefits
Subject Selection Selection Criteria List for ManagersName Dept. Classified/ Sex Age (years) Edu Qual. Prof Qual Ethnicity Service Unclassified M= 1 25-50 =1 HS = 0 Tech = 1 Majority = 1 (years) HR = 1 C=1 F=2 50 = 2 HS = 1 Non-tech =2 Minority = 2 20≤ = 1 Non HR = 2 UC =2 ≥ UG = 2 21 = 2 (Wt*: 0.10) (Wt. 0.20) (Wt. 0.10) (Wt. 0.10) (Wt. 0.10) (Wt. 0.10) (Wt. 0.20) (Wt. 0.10) Selection Criteria List for TSOs Name Dept. Age (years) Sex Edu Qual. Ethnicity Service (years) Centrality of position HR = 1 20-40 = 1 M=1 HS = 1 Majority = 1 5-15 = 1 Specialist= 1 Non-HR = 2 40 = 2 F=2 HS = 2 Minority = 2 15 =2 Generalist = 2 UG = 2 (Wt*: 0.05) (Wt. 0.20) (Wt. 0.20) (Wt. 0.15) (Wt. 0.20) (Wt. 0.10) (Wt. 0.10) *Wt. = Weight
Interviewing Phenomeno- Logical Study Job Motivation Security Managerial Flexibility Level – I Level – II (Macro) (Micro) At-will At-will Managers Managers employees Employees Supple-Division Division Age mentary Supple- Supple- First First Ethnicity Age mentary mentary Service Sex Length Sex Ethnicity Centrality of Position Qualifi- cations Service Length
Work Flow Trans- Interviews cription Significant Narration Statements SupplementaryValidation Interviews Structural TranscriptionDescription Significant TSA data Statements Textural Themes Description