AuthorAbrudan, Maria-Madela
  1. Introduction

    In both Romania and Hungary there are still problems in the functioning of public institutions, both countries still adapting to the principles of New Public Management (NPM). The challenges of NPM are reflected in the need for the human resources, at both individual and institutional levels, to be better prepared to answer to the demands of clients as well as to find best solutions for the underlying practices within each institution (Androniceanu and Sandor, 2006). Efficiency, efficacy, flexibility, transparency and other NPM principles (OECD, 1995) must be put into practice by the employees of public institutions, thus all policies and regulations in this direction must take into account the way these employees are prepared and motivated to act upon these principles. In our study we start from the new coordinates of public management, the new model actually surpassing the traditional model of public administration. It's certainly a results orientation and not a process oriented approach, as in traditional administration. As the scientific literature shows:

    'an efficient administration can't be built only through the development of laws and decrees, but with the support and considering of the people working in this field, supporting directly the civil servants who are facing increased responsibilities, with fewer resources, and which are confronted daily with the rising expectations of the client-citizen' (Minica, 2004).

    At present, the Human Resources (HR) function in the public services is focused on relations between employees that can be characterized as being impersonal. The recruitment and selection process is made through a formal competition; promotion is closely related with age and political affiliation. Organizational structure is developed at central level and imposed to decentralized units. In all these institutions the strict compliance with the procedures and norms is emphasized and, thus, the place and duties of each civil servant are set by different rules. This approach has a major drawback--it is not stimulating for public managers, in terms of motivating the employees they lead, because they focus more on the rules and traditions. Regarding motivation, in terms of new public management, the actions of human resource managers must take into account each employee as a distinct individuality and create a performance evaluation system in close correlation with an incentive system in order to reward the results of employees (Androniceanu, 2007; Bacanu 2008; Parlagi, 1999).

    Marius Profiroiu (2011) considers that in order to combine the modern creative management with the classical administrative hierarchy changes must be implemented in several directions such as: the labor contracts in the public sector, the decisional system, performance measurement systems, the system of objective setting, responsibility, and control. To these we add the selection process and motivational aspects, as these are directly linked with performance measurement and job satisfaction (Abrudan, 2005). This is why, in this phase of our research, we focused on several key directions: motivation, selection and evaluation, professional development, decisional process and trust.

    Starting from these general assumptions this paper presents the strengths and weakness of public human resources management from Romania and Hungary. The data presented are derived from a broader study on the implementation of New Public Management principles in local public administration institutions in Bihor County (Romania) and Hajdu-Bihar County (Hungary). In this study 60 Mayor's Offices were investigated, 30 in each country. Out of the twelve research topics within the NPM paradigm, three were specifically devoted to different aspects of public human resources management (Abrudan et al., 2011).

    The article first presents the particularities of Human Resources Management (HRM) in public institutions as concluded from an in-depth literature review. Cultural specificities of Romania and Hungary from the organizational culture point of view are presented in order to frame the comparative analysis conducted within the empirical section. The research results provide relevant insight in the processes regarding personnel in the public institutions in this region and propose solutions for improvement of the observed weaknesses. The employees, both managers and their subordinates, included in this research consider themselves participants in the decisional process, yet the evaluation process needs to be reshaped in order to provide better balance between performances and the rewards system. The concluding section synthesizes the main findings and emphasizes concrete proposed solutions.

  2. Trends in public HRM research

    Results of work undertaken in an institution or public authority is subject to a greater extent to how public managers manage, train and develop competence, professionalism, intelligence and creativity of human resources (Androniceanu, 2008).

    Public managers and human resource professionals in public institutions have general and specific powers and responsibilities regarding grounding strategies and HR policies. The process involves special attention to each activity, namely: recruitment and selection, performance evaluation, motivation, professional training, participation in decision-making process and establishing trust and mutual respect between managers and subordinates.

    2.1. Particularities of specific activities in public HRM

    When studying public administration, one of the fundamental questions is how to motivate employees to work in public services and towards achieving public purposes (Steen, 2006). Public service motivation occupies a central place in research and writing in the field of public management. Public service motivation refers to the kind of motivation (such as altruism or public interest) that determines an individual to carry out activities related typically to the public sector (Vandenabeele, Scheepers and Hondeghem, 2006).

    The scientific literature underlines that work motivation among public employees and managers is different from that of private sector employees (Wright apud Islam and Ismail, 2008, p. 346). Differences in hierarchical level are stronger determinants of work motivation than differences in sector, which is not surprising considering the fact that, regardless of the sector in which they work, employees have the same human needs, possess similar social characteristics, and work in organizations that rely mainly on the same control methods (Matheson, 2012).

    Most of the differences between public and private sector employees can be fully or partially explained by differences in work content rather than by differences in work sector (Nawab, Ahmad and Shafi, 2011, p. 110). About the perceived importance of intrinsic incentives, there are no significant differences between public and private sector employees according to Nawab, Ahmad and Shafi. They argue that the level of work motivation is influenced by factors such as: gender, age, hierarchical level, work characteristics. Yet, another study validates a series of hypotheses, such as (Buelens and Van der Broeck, 2007, p. 70):

    --Public sector employees are less motivated by wage.

    --Employees on higher hierarchical levels are more motivated by wage.

    --Employees with a high level of education are less motivated by wage.

    --Younger employees are more motivated by wage.

    --Male employees are more motivated by wage.

    However, several researchers argue that private sector employees value financial incentives more than public sector employees. Direct economic benefits are less important for public sector employees (Houston apud Buelens and Van der Broeck, 2007, p. 65). Leete (Leete apud Buelens and Van der Broeck, 2007, p. 67) argues that just like in the case of nonprofit organizations, public sector organizations tend to rely mostly on intrinsic motivated employees. Most studies have concluded that public sector employees are more intrinsically motivated and, thus, extrinsic rewards have a diminished effect. Public sector employees are more likely motivated by job characteristics, personal development, recognition, autonomy, interesting work and the opportunity to learn new things (Houston apud Buelens and Van der Broeck, 2007, p. 65). On this basis, there is also evidence that clerks with higher hierarchical positions are more satisfied with their jobs than the Romanian average (Saveanu and Saveanu, 2011).

    Regarding motivation, in terms of new public management, human resources managers' actions need to set aside: 'the traditional concept of employee administration that is technically one that treats the data, do analysis and draw notes, consisting of operational decisions in proceedings, but must be aware of promoting personalized dimensions in relations with its employees.' More, managers must consider each person as a distinct individuality and create a performance evaluation system, closely correlated with an incentive system to reward employees (Minica, 2004).

    The involvement in decision making and establishing communication channels based on manager-subordinate trust and mutual respect can certainly contribute to increased intrinsic motivation of employees in public institutions as well as on increased performance (Roman, 2004).

    Regarding recruitment and selection in public administration, the real challenge is to find the answer to the question from where and how it is possible to attract a larger number of competitive and motivated candidates from which to select those required. Hence, the need is to establish and identify ways of attracting potential candidates to prove actual skills and motivation for a career as a civil servant. Also, effective tools for selecting suitable candidates who best meet the requirements of vacancies have to be identified.

    In the new public management approach, the professional development...

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