The Australian Experience of Contract Employment (under AWAS) as a Tool to Manage Public Sector Performance: Implications for HRM

Valentine Siemionow

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This paper considers the perceptions of Senior Executive Service officers of the Australian Public Service on the extent to which their move to contract employment under Australian Workplace Agreements impacted on their performance and performance management. It summarises a brief selection of literature dealing with performance management and assesses the efficacy of contract employment (under AWAs) as an HR tool for managing performance in the public sector. The majority of Senior Executive Service respondents surveyed reported no perceived improvement in performance management and provided some evidence of negative impacts following their move to individual contracts under Australian Workplace Agreements. Most had little credibility in the performance appraisal process as assessments were moderated to reduce significant differentials. The majority perceived that the sanctions for poor performance were limited and that there was little reward for superior performance. The paper finds the use of AWAs as drivers of performance resulted in a weak and/or flawed system of performance appraisal from the perspective of the employees participating in it. The move to contract employment under Australian Workplace Agreements was not therefore an effective way of advancing public sector performance management in Australia. It concludes with a brief discussion of the implications of these findings for HRM.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)108-119
    Number of pages12
    JournalNew Zealand Journal of Human Resources Management
    Volume9
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 2009

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