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Border Checkpoint: Crossing the Different Human Resources Frontiers of Global Public Service

By Horace Blake

Global public service continues to take on new meaning as well as creating a variety of challenges for human resources managers.  Although borders seem to be muted in the age of advanced air travel, there are a variety of issues that will not change as fast, due to the state of affairs in many nations such as forms of governments. Whether the country is democratic such as the United States that set the standard for the rest of the world; or many of the Middle East countries which are totalitarian regimes and finally a variety of the eastern bloc countries which primarily subscribe to a socialistic form of government.

In examining these governments one might ask what could be that different in recruiting, training and developing employees for public service that would render the outcome so differently? The answer is that in a democratic form of government the people are able to influence the outcome of any policy through their vote and able to let their voice be heard in the public sphere.

On the other hand a totalitarian along with a socialistic government could care less what the people want or desire. These governments are rife with cronyism where limited and selected minorities called bureaucrats are able to make decisions for the masses along with subscribing to a myriad of corruption schemes as well as laws that only benefit a limited few in public sector.

Global human resources organization, certification and conferencing are making it mandatory to have some form of standardized practices in how human resources management is conducted. With that said it is not as simply as it sounds, considering in many of the regimes outside the well-known list of democratic states, these organizations tend to have a difficult time doing away with old habits. For example, here in the United States a municipality embarking on any new policies and laws that effects the hiring of potential workforce employees, would have to go through a group of citizens working collaboratively in examining any new policies and verify if they are in any way discriminatory. Also any form of an issue that may appear overreaching and unfair has to be re-examined. This is conducted under the watchful eyes of the city’s attorney, city secretary and the human resource manager.  Keeping in mind that in our democratic system we have the constant parade of lobbyist in the halls of government who are very influential; ethical issue does arise from time to time however the penalty makes it discouraging to be involved in any such misgivings or lapse in good judgment.

The other governments with totalitarian and socialistic regimes will openly accept bribes to get laws implemented; solely to benefit them in one form or the other. Rules and protocol may just be a formality and the ordinary man on the street would think secondly before criticizing any action by the state as the penalty could be disastrous for the brave.

Building solidarity among governments and international agencies that conduct a variety of business on a global scale must examine and create policies that are not hard to follow or implement and would be mindful and respectful of the laws of all the countries in which there is the choice to conduct business. Many decades of global and international business has in some instances paved the way for future activities that cross train, orient and interchange employees from one country to the other thus making it possible for public service employees to be comfortable in how they act in their adopted countries. This could be accomplished through creating an easily accessible text that fully outlines human resource procedures, governing laws if any, when there are dispute issues that prevent the implementation of any policy and the best practices on how to resolve those conflicts through alternative dispute resolution and mediation.

In today’s globalized worlds many countries are concerned about maintaining good governance in how business is conducted in the public sector. Therefore, each country or regime needs to be very conscious of its public and corporate image as that affects the opportunity to be considered as a serious and ethical contender not just in the private sector but the public sector as well.

This means for example that when American consulate economic development and opportunities solicit business partners in foreign countries they are very conscious of issues relating to human rights and child labor infractions in the host country. It is always imperative to keep in mind that the public sector is the door through which the people and the state come together. This is enhanced by how efficient the public sector conducts business.

According to Global HR Business (2013), the Special Interest Group (SIG) is created to promote and support public sector HR transformation by establishing a community of interest among people who are leading, aiding or abetting the transformation of human resources in the public sector and the many global partners who makes up the list of international human resources professional. Further the SIG strives to provide networking opportunities and encourage dialog among those directing and guiding the transformation from local to global human resources management. International Personnel Management Association (2002) makes the case that public organizations in the global sphere can take any two of these approaches to workforce planning:

  • Workforce approach examines the current workforce and occupations, projects, the number and characteristics of public sector jobs and the number of employees needed to fill them at a specific point in the future.
  • Workload approach which focuses on the amount and type of work the organization anticipates handling at a specific point in the future and uses this to match people with these skills globally.
  • Competency approach in examining the global context and its competitive nature to pull from a larger pool of talent that is aligned with the mission, vision and strategic goals of that public organization will be most attractive.

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The American Society for Public Administration is the largest and most prominent professional association for public administration. It is dedicated to advancing the art, science, teaching and practice of public and non-profit administration.

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