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Are public sector personnel managers the profession's poor relations?

Lupton, Benjamin and Shaw, Susan R. (2001) Are public sector personnel managers the profession's poor relations? Human resource management journal, 11 (3). pp. 23-38. ISSN 0954-5395

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Abstract

This article is concerned with differences between personnel practitioners in the private and public sectors. Drawing on survey and interview data from practitioners in both sectors, the authors report that public sector practitioners are less well-qualified and are paid less than their private sector counterparts. Very few practitioners move between the sectors, suggesting the existence of separate and self-contained career structures. It is argued that this is not a separation of equals, and is maintained partly by the existence of a system of myths and stereotypes which have the effect of discouraging able professionals from entering the public sector. The article considers the reasons for the continuing differences and the separation, particularly in the light of public sector reforms which might have been expected to have diminished them. The implications for personnel management in the public sector and for the personnel profession in general are then discussed.

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