Personnel Formalization and the Enhancement Of Teamwork: A public–private comparison
Rainey, Hal G.
Date of Issue2013
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
Formalization has long been regarded as one of the most distinctive features of the public sector. Personnel systems in the public sector are particularly formalized due to merit system protections and strong due process requirements. In much of the contemporary public management literature, personnel formalization implies red tape, referring to excessive rules that bring negative outcomes such as employee frustration. The present study offers an alternative view, suggesting that personnel formalization results in high-performance work practices, particularly teamwork, by ensuring that organizations attract the right employees and provide employees with various protections such as worker safety, procedural justice and conflict resolution. Given that public organizations are structured more formally, public sector employees are more likely to work in teams than their peers in the private sector. The authors test this view by using variables from the National Organization Survey (NOS) data set and find strong statistical support. Therefore, personnel formalization is not necessarily equivalent to red tape and not always detrimental to the public sector. It enhances teamwork, a central element of high-performance work practices.
Public Management Review
© 2013 Taylor & Francis. This is the author created version of a work that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication by Public Management Review, Taylor & Francis. It incorporates referee’s comments but changes resulting from the publishing process, such as copyediting, structural formatting, may not be reflected in this document. The published version is available at: [http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14719037.2013.770057].