Modernizing human resource management : the importance of values-based leadership in the Canadian federal public service /
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Over the past several decades, many theories have been advanced as to why efforts to reform the public service have met with only limited success. Clearly, the role of leadership with respect to reform must be examined, since successful organizational leaders should be extremely accomplished in the promotion and protection of the values that underlie decision-making. The issue of effective leadership is particularly significant for the future of the public service of Canada. Large numbers of public servants in the executive ranks are due to retire within the next five years. Given their central role, it is vital that there be enough dedicated and committed public servants to staff future vacancies. It is also essential that future public service leaders possess the competencies and values associated with a world-class public service and, a new type of public organization. Related to this point is the importance of people-management skills. People management in the public service is an issue that has historically faced - and will continue to face - major challenges with respect to recruiting and retaining the leaders it requires for its continued success. It is imperative that the public service not only be revitalized and be seen as an employer of choice, but also that the process by which it accomplishes this goal - the practice of human resource management - be modernized. To achieve the flexibility needed to remain effective, the public service requires the kind ofleadership that supports new public service values such as innovation and which emphasizes a "people- first" approach. This thesis examines the kind of public service leadership needed to modernize the human resource management regime in the federal public service. A historical examination of public service values is presented to help determine the values that are important for public service leaders with respect to modernizing human resource management. Since replenishing the 2 ranks of public service leaders is crucial to ensure the quality of service to Canadians, leadership that supports career planning will be a major focus of this paper. In addition, this thesis demonstrates that while traditional public service values continue to endure, innovative leaders must effectively reconcile new public service values with traditional values in order to increase the possibilities for successful reform as well as achieve business objectives. Much of the thesis is devoted to explaining the crucial role of post-bureaucratic leadership to successful reform. One of the major findings of the thesis is that leaders who demonstrate a blending of new public service values and traditional values are critical to creating effective employment relationships, which are key to modernizing human resource management in the federal public service. It will be apparent that public service leaders must ensure that an appropriate accountability framework is in place before embarking on reform. However, leaders who support new public service values such as innovation and empowerment and who emphasize the importance of people are essential to successful reform.