Political Science

PS Final Exam

  1. Discus the ways in which position classification and job evaluation contribute to equity in compensation systems. Which method of evaluating jobs is best? Why?

Within compensation systems or more specifically performance for pay systems. In give-and-take for job performance employers will offers rewards to their employees. In able to attract a quality workforce, incentives and awards that are adequate, also help to maintain existing employee satisfaction, which helps to keep quality employees from leaving. To implement a comprehensive compensation system requires knowledge of the current labor market, analysis of job position and classifications, and a review of pay structures. Although there are several advantages within the business for these systems, there are several that disagree with the implementation and the analogy. “Performance information systems often fail to generate legitimate, and functional performance information.”(Monyihan, Landuyt, 2009)

According to Dresang, different businesses have their own scheme of position classification. The advantages of having position classifications usually involves similar jobs being grouped together into a class or grade for pay purpose.(Dresang, pg. 147)  Based on seniority rules, employees are able to move up through promotion in conjunction with pay incentive, which increases which each higher grade.  “The major concern when classification systems were first initiated was paying similar wages to employees who did essentially the same work.”(Dresang, pg.147) A way that many companies combat this that mainly affects the compensation systems is that state and local governments have allowed collective bargaining for position classifications. In part of the negotiation process is determining how much each classification should be paid. According to Dresang, “where the major or sole operational purpose of the classification system is for the compensation administration, issues in the scope of bargaining.”(Dresang, pg.153)

In reviewing job evaluation, is an applied method, intended to allow trained and experienced staff to critic the size of one job comparative to others. It does not directly determine pay levels, but will establish the basis for an internal ranking of jobs. Job evaluation is retained and modified by many organizations in order to ensure equity and equal values among all the employees. Job evaluation is aided by market job comparison and helps to allocate roles. Furthermore to analyses and classify the hierarchy of jobs, job evaluation process is necessary. The process of job evaluation is a lengthy process taken in a systematic manner.  It helps to obtain employee information through the descriptions of their jobs, and access their qualification and experiences. Methods to measure the differences in positions include employee questionnaires and discussions held with senior employees and HR department heads.  Within job evaluation, further analysis takes place through the aid of job manuals and software. In addition, methods and techniques.

Job evaluation methods are used to help decide the comparative worth of every job position within the business.  It is a mechanism that helps business to allocate work functions and responsibilities for each job, and how it relates to other jobs in the business. When placing the jobs into categories, businesses are able to base the pays scales on the comparison of the employee’s worth to the business. In an organization this aids in helping to construct pay scales that help to create fairness to employees based on specific jobs, responsibilities, skills, duties, and the required knowledge. The best method in job evaluation is the classification method. This method involves defining particular jobs based on the common factors mentioned like education, skill sets, comparison of other jobs, and types of responsibilities. Once defined they are the place within categories that are based on hierarchy level of importance within a business. When business use this method, they must consider each job’s difficulties well as standards in performance before placement into categories.  The essential key factor in using the classification method is when defining placing into job categories to specifically fit each on specific criteria to describe the jobs, such as the need for a college degree, certification, amount of lack of supervision, conditions while working, decision making process, and overall responsibilities.

“Comparable worth or pay equity, refers to the policy and practice of setting compensation in accordance with the value of a job to an employer absent any consideration for whether the job is typically filled by men or women.”  The compensation system must include correct procedures, rules, and policies that provide a clear understanding of how employees will be compensated based on key factors. Without this guarantee it can create confusion, employee turnover do dissatisfaction, and litigation among disgruntled employees. When structuring a balanced and fair system it is vital that motivating the existing employees, obtainment of potential high quality employees, is important.  When trying to achieve equity within the organization the pay must be proportional to match employees and job qualifications and their contributions to the organization. In addition the compensation system must also remain equitable and fair compared to the job market if this rule of thumb is not followed the risk of losing qualified employees to competition is pertinent.

  1. Describe the performance evaluation processes most appropriate for use in large government and nonprofit organizations and demonstrate how they contribute to the accomplishment of other human resources management responsibilities.

“Performance evaluation is integral to day to day administrative decisions and to long range plans for reorganization and change.” (Dresang, pg.165) There are several types of performance evaluation processes that include. Within the  performance evaluation process, the leading mechanisms to measuring employees skills within the organization include, subjective instruments, interpersonal comparisons, and objective instruments.(Hays, pg. 109) Each focuses on various factors of the evaluation process, but all draw the same conclusion to evaluating job performance. Performance management is the process that managers and other leading staff structure in comparing employee’s performance with the outlined employees goals. An operative performance process defines exceptional job performances using measurements established, monitors performance, and gives job performance feedback to employees.  Performance evaluation is a vital part in an organization management and productivity. According to Hays, “performance appraisal does not occur in isolation, it is an integral part of an organization’s performance management system.”(Hays, pg. 157) Performance appraisal is the acquiring, examining and detailing of information about an employee relative worth to the organization. The goals are to constantly measure to improve on performance in hopes of obtaining and retaining quality employees.

According to Bourdeaux and Chikoto, “Performance management is defined as a reform that focuses on the use of performance measures in policy making, management, and budget decisions, as well as a philosophical shift to focus on results rather than inputs or process.”(Bourdeaux, Chikoto, 2008) According to Dresang there are four performance evaluations, Trait Rating, Forced-Choice Rating, Essay, Goal Achievement, and Ranking. In efforts of answering the question, a description of each will be giving in better understanding the conclusive answer. In Trait Rating performance evaluation, organizations evaluate the employees based on their traits and characteristics. The types of traits include honesty, initiative, grooming, friendly disposition, and other key traits employees are judged on. Dresang points out that they are two main problems with this type of performance evaluation, first, “the terms used lend themselves to different interpretations.” (Dresang, pg.170) In the aspects of grooming could mean different styles for both men and women. Friendly disposition could be judged on days when employees are particularly having a miserable day, and unfair way to evaluate. The second problem is that trait based evaluations have rarely nothing to do with job performance as they are just based on the characteristics and not if the traits somehow will impact performances.

In Force-Choice Rating, the supervisors and executive are tasked with a list of descriptive phrases or terms much like a job questionnaire, like “gets to work on time.., gets to work late…etc.” Supervisors will then choose which phrases best matches the employee. “The major purpose of constraining supervisors to a set list of descriptors is to encourage consistency and objectivity.”(Dresang, pg.170) This type of evaluation serves two purposes as it helps employees know what they will be evaluated on, and the type of performance that they should be doing in order to be rewarded. With supervisors, it helps to identify the type of behaviors that they should look for in employees.  How this evaluation comes short is that it cannot put all the descriptive behaviors on the list. Some behaviors cannot be described therefore they are hard to evaluate. The way that supervisors can deal with this is through the involvement of employees. Dresang points out that Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, said that the employee can participate in performance evaluations in order to achieve the right objectives. This can help with evaluating the performances of employees without the perspective of judging or stereotyping. Essay is the third performance evaluation is Essay. In this straightforward performance evaluation, employees are asked to write essays about their work. With the essay evaluation, it is an unstructured, open ended format that lends for the writer to be creative and spontaneous, yet with no direct aim is pointless and a waste of time.

Goal Achievement is the fourth performance evaluation, it aims act a structural and contractual approach. The managers write to all the employees informing them of what they look for at each period, and the goals agreed upon are not achieved. Management by Objective is the most common technique used with this approach. According to Dresang, “employees and volunteers cannot work to accomplish the goals of their organization if they are not clear about what those objectives are and what the individuals need to do towards the achievement of those goals.”(Dresang, pg. 172) This approach is most appropriate for use in large governments or non-profit organizations. In doing so organizations must first make out the goals that they want each employees and the entire organization to achieve. With the participation of volunteers, department heads, and employees a formidable yet reachable goals are outlined for the upcoming year, and what rewards will be given. However, the reason why this approach is best used in government organizations because, “MBO process is to set goals at the senior management level and limit the involvement of employees.”(Dresang, pg. 172) In these organizations, rewards and compensation systems are usually left to the senior management, in hopes that the incentives for performance will encourage the senior management to direct their departments to achieve the goals that are outlined.

In most organizations, MBO approach takes on a more results-oriented method as the goals will be a measure in attainable ways, however, it does not work for government offices as goals and objectives have to be outline to help in policies such as healthcare, the economy, and other social issues. “Government responsiveness to the public is very important when it comes to processing and resolving consumer complaints regarding government –regulated services.” (Shingler, Van Loon, Alter, Bridger, 2008) Government organizations use this performance evaluation in better serving the public by making use of surveys and public opinions. The performance evaluation measurements used in this organization help in holding the organizations accountable for their actions, policies, public satisfaction, and helps in service improvement. This approach in performance evaluation is useful in HR departments in targeting the performance of objectives, work plans, audits, program evaluations, and measurement tools for management of employees. (Ammones, Rivernbank, 2008)

  1. Do efforts to prevent discrimination in the public and nonprofit workplace compromise efforts to hire the best qualified people? Why?

Diversity in the workplace is extremely beneficial if the organization plans to be successful. Promoting diversity and having programs established by HR departments can either help or harm the progress within the company. Within the private business sector covering both profit and nonprofit organizations, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 covered the employers. Amendments made later on the presidency of Jimmy Carter, extended it’s reached to include state and local governments, and the passage of the 1975 Civil Service Reform Act that involved the legislative branch, where all employers are covered to nondiscriminatory employers, with the exception of small workforces. Within the parts of the government, the terms of passive and active representation are terms of conflict. As most want active representation that helps in identifying problems and issues with those that closely related to the cultural makeup as individuals in needs. Opponents of passive representation take a backwards stance as the organization just mirrors the identity of the whole society. There are problems with both representations as Dresang points out, “Agencies would be shapeless like amoebas if in an extreme case, everyone ran in a different direction.

In a more balanced approach, agencies and governments should have a more balanced workforce were minorities such as women, handicap, African American, and Mexican Americans, represent a more societal background. These balances representation work in favor of representing the members as a role models to other who want a government career. Yet not everyone agrees as Dresang points out, Nathan Glazer in Affirmative Discrimination, “complains that an approach classifying people as members of groups violates some of the basic tenets of the U.S democracy that asserts the importance of individual rights.”(Dresang, pg.58) In the government, gender and race are measurable the most in research studies.

In the case of Norma Riccucci, she research women and minorities within the federal government. Her research along with numerous others draws the conclusion that African Americans lag behind their white counterparts as do women behind men. Although significant strides have been made in being less discriminatory in hiring within the workplace, there is still more work to be done. The importance of the public sector and in the government is outlined that they have played a crucial role in hiring of minorities specifically African Americans and women. Within the highest positions in the government, however, women and African Americans were not equally represented as in much every Senior Executive Service, white males accounted for over 60%. (Riccucci, 2008) “SES employees are one of the keys to the stability and continuity of the Federal government. The diversity of the modern career SES is a valuable asset for successful governance in a modern democratic state.”(Riccucci, 2008) With the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was also the implementation of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), where the standard within workplaces was that the proportion of women, handicaps, minorities employed in specific occupational categories within the organization should mirror those in the general workforce with the necessary requirements. It also put restrictions on geographical areas where organizations could get recruits where most was streamlined in metropolitan and larger cities. EEOC further passed more legislation that implemented the litmus test of measuring diversity within the organization that regulated the number of men, women, and so on could be hired. If the percentage of the for example women over men were less than 80% then there is an indication of discrimination in the workplace. Dresang points out that there are several problems to these regulations as organizations could always discourage different groups of people from applying, hired people with the minimalists qualifications, and cheat the system by hiring a disproportionate amount of one race or gender.

Affirmative Action is another policy that has tried to promote diversity yet has had its opponents that charge the policy with reverse discrimination, and have been abused by employers. Affirmative Action is in place to rectify in situations where there has been a basis of discrimination of hiring qualified individuals due to race. Government has ruled on several cases that have outlined the guidelines for such policies and in 1990 created the Americans with Disabilities Acts in efforts for employers to make accommodations for handicap individuals and not to discriminate in the hiring process due to inability. In areas where there is grayness in discrimination policies and a selective quota system, such sometimes mistakenly discriminates against applicants that might be more qualified than individuals that are pre-empted for spots specifically designated for them. Many of these practices that have been contested in court have been college admissions processes and in jobs such as firefighters, cops, and other service jobs.

In the employment selection process according to Dresang there  are  criteria that every HR department must following such as, identifying the necessary skills for the job, recruitment, applicant screening, examinations, review for veteran preferences, and finally make the selection for hiring. When going through the application process of potential employees there are certain requirements that individuals must follow including residency, education, and experience that shows their qualified for the job. When they hire hey cannot discriminate against such criteria listed earlier. In some instances employers will hire based on preference even with the current regulations in place, and other abuse the process by finding loopholes, which only hurts the organization in the process.

  1. Should public and nonprofit employers provide programs that help employees balance work and family needs? Why?

The family serves as a pivotal staple in American society. The structure of the mother being the homemaker and the father being the breadwinner is not always true in most modern families today, however, each family structure serves its purpose as a balance between work and family needs. Within the private sector of profit and nonprofit businesses, employers should implement programs that help to balance work and home life. “Public employers’ long-standing emphasis on improving employee performance and productivity through traditional compensation incentives (e.g., retirement, health insurance, and life insurance benefits) inevitably evoked criticism from public sector employees, who sought a greater balance between their work and family lives.” (Kim, Wiggins, 2008) Programs such as child care programs, compressed workweeks, and flextime normally generated positive and more productivity within the workplace. Other programs include the Employment Assistance Programs that not only help in drug use, but helping in stressful situations that stem from home life that gets carried over to work.(Dresang pg.248) In these instances nonprofit and profit employers can help not only their employees but also the productivity of their business. As Dresang points out “employers have a common calculation that it costs less to help a valued, experienced worker through some temporary difficulties than it does to hire and train replacements.”(Dresang, pg. 248) Wellness programs are also beneficial to employees work and home life as they promote a healthy lifestyle that includes active exercise through company sponsored sports teams, and weekend exercise programs, healthy eating, and stress reductions. Not only are this program beneficial towards employees, but risk management and insurance companies will sometimes underwrite the costs of wellness programs, saving the business from expensive medical bills later. In private companies employees have the advantages of having a free membership to gyms or other exercise sites that cater to different sports including, swimming, jogging, aerobics, and relaxation.

One of the most prestigious programs for employees that have a family specifically children is child care programs that facilitate childcare either on-site or offsite nearby the business. “Family concerns and obligations can have a major impact on an employee’s ability to get his or her job done.”(Dresang, pg.250) Ways in which employers can help employees meet their family needs is through creative ways such as flextime, which allows employees to rearrange their work schedule to take care of their children and also come to work at a later scheduled time. Also, there are instances that employers allow employees to telecommute or flexiplace, where they can do work from home. Advances in technology have made telecommuting available for employees that choose to spend more time at home with their children, or taken care of an elderly relative. Another way is through a compressed workweek that allows for employees to work some days more than the traditional eight hours in which they are able to have the rest of the week off to tend to their family. These programs are useful in helping to keep a positivity, stress reduced work environment that encourages efficiency and productivity. According to research by Kim and Wiggins, there are three factors that affect family friendly policies, which include renewed interest in family values and home lives, an aging workforce, and global competition. (Kim, Wiggins, 2008) According to the provisions of Public Law 100-202, employers are supposed to provide employees with some economic means to child care. Child care is expensive, and most families struggle to afford care, specifically if there is more than one child. Subsidies given to employees will help to curb employee absences and turnovers, and also help with recruitment for competent employees.  “According to social exchange theory, if employees of an agency are satisfied with a childcare subsidy program, this satisfaction can lead them to think their organization cares about their well-being.”(Lee, Huong, 2011) Many see that a balance between work life and family life is a top priority for employers and employees in changing the work environment and the workforce.

The increased demand for programs that help to balance work and family are due to the increase in women in the workplace.(Lee, Huong, 2011) Employers favorable responses towards family friendly programs can help the business retain qualified employees, and employees will make an extra effort in enhancing work performance. “The U.S. Government Accountability Office (2007) already has pointed out that the following suggestions made in a 2003 report for developing telework programs were not effectively implemented: establishing measurable telework program goals, establishing systems to collect data for telework program evaluation, and identifying problems and making appropriate adjustments.”(Lee, Hong, 2011). Overall a balance between work and home life programs are a beneficial attribute for employers and employees in many essential factors that contribute to a company’s success.


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Bourdeaux, Carolyn, Chikoto, Grace.(2008). Legislative Influences on Performance Management Reform. Public Administration Review; Mar/Apr 2008; 68, 2; ProQuest pg. 253

Dresang, Dennis. (2007­). Personal Management in Government agencies and nonprofit organization. Pearson Education Inc.

Hays, Steven, Kearney Richard, Jerrell. D Coggburn. (2009) Public Human Resource Management; Problems and Prospects. Pearson Education. Inc.

Kim, Junglin, Wiggins, Mary Ellen. (2011). Family-Friendly Human Resource Policy: Is It Still Working in the Public Sector? Public Administration Review. Sep/Oct 2011. Pg. 728

Lee, Soo-Young, Hung, Jeong Hwe. (2011). Does Family-Friendly Policy Matter? Testing Its Impact on Turnover and Performance. Public Administration Review. Nov/Dec 2011. Pg. 870

Moynihan, Donald P, Landuyt, Noel.(2009). How Do Public Organizations Learn? Bridging Cultural and Structural Perspective. Public Administration Review; ProQuest pg. 1097

Riccucci, Norma M.(2009).The Pursuit of Social Equity in the Federal Government: A Road Less Traveled? Public Administration Review; May/Jun 2009; 69, 3; ProQuest pg. 373

Shingler, John, Van Loon, Mollie E, Alter, Theodor R, Bridger, Jeffrey C. (2008). The Importance of Subjective Data for Public Agency Performance Evaluation. Public Administration Review; Nov/Dec 2008; 68, 6; ProQuest pg. 1101