The Elements of Bureaucratic Personnel Management
James Q. Wilson (1989, pp. 139–142) relates the tale of the rise and fall of PACE (the Professional and Administrative Career Examination) in the federal bureaucracy. This examination, developed over a five-year period by 24 research psychologists, was designed to identify those with the ability to become managers, so that civil service job ladders could stretch from the bottom of the hierarchy to near the top, and so mobility chains would be consistent and predictable. Federal agencies could either promote to managerial positions directly from within the agency or else choose new managers from the PACE list. In either case, the mobility chain was clear and consistent. In 1979, following a lawsuit brought on behalf of black and Hispanic workers (who tended to have subqualifying scores on PACE more often than white workers), the Carter administration entered into a consent decree that abolished PACE. After that, movement into the managerial ranks happened in several different ways. A few occupations had new tests developed, and mobility continued in the old way. But in most cases, either mobility was internal and based on agency head preference without test data, or it was a “Schedule B” appointment from outside, with no particular standards applied. About 10 years later, new clusters of tests were developed, but a college degree allowed exemption from them. There are now many avenues of movement to the managerial level, and the type of avenue varies considerably.
KeywordsEmployment Relationship Governance Model Rule Violation Internal Labor Market Personnel Department
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