In the practice of managing public sector organizations, human resources management (HRM) and employees in general are often considered to be a cost that should be minimized. In particular in the present times of budgetary constraints and austerity, cries for reducing employees grow stronger and personnel cuts are still considered to be an easy way out of budget deficits. However, research outcomes point to evidence that instead of a cost, public personnel and its management should be considered to be an asset, rather than a cost (Rainey and Steinbauer 1999).
The aim of this panel would be to further investigate the various elements of such a system of human resources management, as well as their respective relationships, within a public sector environment.
Focus with regard to the scientific methods
Next to some considerations with regard to the substance of the research presented in the panel, considerations with regard scientific perspective and methods that shape the research and its ensuing results. The panel aims to host both theoretical and empirical research efforts that contribute to the knowledge on the topics that have been addressed above. However, in order to further develop knowledge on the application of HRM as a strategic tool and the mechanisms that go behind it, research should live up to the requirements of the analytic approach (Boxall et al 2007; Boselie 2010). This approach will ensure that that the knowledge derived from research adds up to a consistent body of knowledge and proves to be robust in its application. First, the research should be providing evidence-based management knowledge (Rousseau 2006). This does not only mean research based upon empirical findings (direct in the case of empirical pieces, indirect in the case of theoretical work), but also addressing it in such a way that it can be in some way applied by practitioners. Second, the knowledge should be obtained by means of rigorous research methods (Wright and Boswell 2002).