The merit system is the process of promoting and hiring government employees based on their ability to perform a job, rather than on their political connections.It is the opposite of the spoils system.
The United States civil service began to run on the spoils system in 1829 when Andrew Jackson became president. The assassination of United States President James A. Garfield by a disappointed office seeker in 1881 proved its dangers. President Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau who believed that the president owed him a civil service position and in not giving him the position, threatened the very being of the Republican Party. Two years later, the system of appointments to the United States federal bureaucracy was revamped by the Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act, which made the merit system common practice. The merit system determines the fitness of the candidate by the ability to pass a written competitive examination, given by a commission of examiners. The answers submitted by candidates must be unsigned, so as to obviate the possibility of favoritism on the part of the examiners. A list is made of the successful candidates, arranged in the order of their merit as shown by the results of the examination. Appointments must be made from this eligible list in the order of rank unless good cause can be shown why one of higher rank should be set aside for one standing lower on the list.
Proponents of the system admit that the system does not always lead to the choice of most competent candidate but is effective in eliminating those most incompetent. In addition the possible exclusion of most competent candidate is outweighed by the system's benefits such as limiting the ability of nepotism and political favoritism. The power of appointment being vested in the president of the United States by the United States Constitution, it is not within the power of the United States Congress to fetter the president's action by the enactment of laws restricting the exercise of the power of appointments. Thus, in the United States, the merit system has been extensively applied by the voluntary action of the president following self-imposed rules. It has been judicially determined that the civil-service rules promulgated by the president of the United States do not have the force of general law, and confer upon members of the civil service no right to invoke the aid of the courts to protect them against violation thereof. They are the president's laws, and the president alone can enforce them. Working under the supervision of the president is the Merit Systems Protection Board. The MSPB follows nine core principles when governing the executive branch workforce.
Forced Ranking is a system in which performing employees are ranked into groups a company has established. The term 'Rank and Yank' was created by the former CEO of General Electric, Jack Welch. The 'Rank and Yank' encouraged terminating the employment of poor performers and replacing them with new personnel. Many like Welch and Former Chief Executive of Microsoft believe in replacing poor performers while others, such as Tom Barry, former Managing Director at BlessingWhite, believe in 're-engaging underperforming employees.'
As the United States has become Anti-Bureaucratic, it has moved away from the outdated depiction of Merit System. Twenty-eight states have established an ‘At Will’ environment where civil service employees can be fired at any time without cause. In 2014 the Department of Veteran Affairs became overwhelmed with problems with scheduling appointments. Congress called for immediate action and ordered the Department of Veteran Affairs to lay off ‘miscreant’ employees. Donald F. Kettl, a Professor in the School of Public Policy at the University of Maryland, explores in his work, The Merit Principle in Crisis, ‘At will’ practices and whether they’re beneficial to the bureaucratic practices of the government. Kettl states that due to an increase in government programs, firing ‘miscreant’ bureaucratic employees would only ‘weaken the governments ability to steer’. Such repercussions such as Kettl’s are not the only measures taken by employers.
Susan J. Wells, a writer for HR Magazine, expresses her take on Merit Pay and its meaning in No Results, No Raise.Wells believes that the concept of ‘Tough Love’ makes a more profound impact on the balance of protecting and rewarding those whose performance excels and those whose performance could be improved. Wells elaborates that not rewarding low performers with a merit increase at the end of the year is an ideal way of showing ‘Tough Love.' The idea gives low performing employees a year to improve their performance and receive constant feedback from managerial staff.
The importance of the merit system in a work place is to provide good quality work to the public. When merit is truly assessed in the process of hiring or promoting personnel, an honest, effective, and productive workplace is created.Employees build organizations and the service they provide to customers allows the organization to be successful. Without its employees or customers, an organization would be doomed. Motivated and happy employees are the key principle of the merit system. Employees who are satisfied with their jobs are likely to provide a higher level of productivity (more work in less time, costing organizations less money), less likely to quit (low or lower employee turnover rates), great communication for voicing workplace concerns (trust and comfort between supervisor and employees), little to no abuse of company benefits/incentives, i.e.: lunch breaks, sick leave, bonuses, etc. Bottom line, administration is responsible for providing and setting the atmosphere and standards of a workplace that result in success.
The merit system has been criticized that it leads to uncooperative behaviors among employees, creating conflict that can negatively affect productivity. It is based on performance compensation that encourages competition among employees, creating a competitive environment that puts employees at odds with one another. This can lead to unwanted behavior that can affect productivity. Disrupting team unity to look better on reviews and personal goals becomes more important than team goals.
Meritocracy is a political system in which economic goods and/or political power are vested in individual people on the basis of talent, effort, and achievement, rather than wealth or social class. Advancement in such a system is based on performance, as measured through examination or demonstrated achievement. Although the concept of meritocracy has existed for centuries, the term itself was coined in 1958 by the sociologist Michael Dunlop Young in his dystopian political and satirical book The Rise of the Meritocracy.
The Pendleton Civil Service Reform Act is a United States federal law passed by the 47th United States Congress and signed into law by President Chester A. Arthur on January 16, 1883. The act mandates that most positions within the federal government should be awarded on the basis of merit instead of political patronage.
In politics and government, a spoils system is a practice in which a political party, after winning an election, gives government civil service jobs to its supporters, friends (cronyism), and relatives (nepotism) as a reward for working toward victory, and as an incentive to keep working for the party—as opposed to a merit system, where offices are awarded on the basis of some measure of merit, independent of political activity.
The civil service is a collective term for a sector of government composed mainly of career civil servants hired on professional merit rather than appointed or elected, whose institutional tenure typically survives transitions of political leadership. A civil servant is a person employed in the public sector by a government department or agency or public sector undertakings. Civil servants work for central government and state governments, and answer to the government, not a political party. The extent of civil servants of a state as part of the "civil service" varies from country to country. In the United Kingdom, for instance, only Crown employees are referred to as civil servants whereas employees of Local Authorities are generally referred to as "local government civil service officers" who are public servants but not civil servants. A civil servant is a public servant but a public servant is not necessarily a civil servant.
A bureaucrat is a member of a bureaucracy and can compose the administration of any organization of any size, although the term usually connotes someone within an institution of government or corporate.
The United States Foreign Service is the primary personnel system used by the diplomatic service of the United States federal government, under the aegis of the United States Department of State. It consists of over 13,000 professionals carrying out the foreign policy of the United States and aiding U.S. citizens abroad. The current Director General is Carol Z. Perez.
The United States Civil Service Commission was a government agency of the federal government of the United States and was created to select employees of federal government on merit rather than relationships. In 1979, it was dissolved as part of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978; the Office of Personnel Management and the Merit Systems Protection Board are the successor agencies.
A vitality curve is a performance management practice that calls for individuals to be ranked or rated against their coworkers. It is also called stack ranking, forced ranking, and rank and yank. Pioneered by GE's Jack Welch in the 1980s, it has long been a controversial practice due to its negative effects on employee morale and potential for bias and discrimination. Many companies have abandoned the system in recent years, including GE and Microsoft. As organizational behavior expert David A. Thomas put it, "companies are playing their version of 'Survivor'".
The excepted service is the part of the United States federal civil service that is not part of either the competitive service or the Senior Executive Service. It provides streamlined hiring processes to be used under certain circumstances.
The Senior Executive Service (SES) is a position classification in the civil service of the United States federal government, equivalent to general officer or flag officer ranks in the U.S. Armed Forces. It was created in 1979 when the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 went into effect under President Jimmy Carter.
The Japanese civil service employs over three million employees, with the Japan Self-Defense Forces, with 247,000 personnel, being the biggest branch. In the post-war period, this figure has been even higher, but the privatization of a large number of public corporations since the 1980s, including NTT, Japanese National Railways, and Japan Post, already reduced the number.
The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, (CSRA), reformed the civil service of the United States federal government, partly in response to the Watergate scandal. The Act abolished the U.S. Civil Service Commission and distributed its functions primarily among three new agencies: the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB), and the Federal Labor Relations Authority (FLRA).
The National Partnership for Reinventing Government (NPR), originally the National Performance Review, was an interagency task force to reform the way the United States federal government works in the Clinton Administration. The NPR was created on March 3, 1993. It was the eleventh federal reform effort in the 20th century. In early 1998, the National Performance Review was renamed to the National Partnership for Reinventing Government.
The Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) is an independent quasi-judicial agency established in 1979 to protect federal merit systems against partisan political and other prohibited personnel practices and to ensure adequate protection for federal employees against abuses by agency management.
The United States federal civil service is the civilian workforce of the United States federal government's departments and agencies. The federal civil service was established in 1871. U.S. state and local government entities often have comparable civil service systems that are modeled on the national system, in varying degrees.
The "Half-Breeds" were a political faction of the United States Republican Party in the late 19th century.
U.S. civil service reform was a major issue in the late 19th century at the national level, and in the early 20th century at the state level. Proponents denounced the distribution of government offices—the "spoils"—by the winners of elections to their supporters as corrupt and inefficient. They demanded nonpartisan scientific methods and credential be used to select civil servants. The five important civil service reforms were the two Tenure of Office Acts of 1820 and 1867, Pendleton Act of 1883, the Hatch Acts and the CSRA of 1978.
The Public Service Commission of Canada is an independent government agency that safeguards merit-based hiring, non-partisanship, representativeness of Canada's diversity, and the use of both official languages in the Canadian public service. The PSC aims to protect the integrity of hiring and promotion within the public service. As well, the Commission works to protect the political impartiality and non-partisanship of public servants. The Commission develops staffing policies and provides guidance to public service managers and recruits Canadians into the public service. To ensure the staffing system in the government is properly maintained, the PSC has the authority to audit and investigate to ensure departments and managers make improvements. While typical government departments are headed by Ministers, the PSC is an independent agency that is headed by a President who reports to the Canadian Parliament.
The Civil Services refer to the career civil servants who are the permanent executive branch of the Republic of India. The civil service system is the backbone of the administrative machinery of the country.
According to the United States Office of Government Ethics, a political appointee is "any employee who is appointed by the President, the Vice President, or agency head". As of 2016, there were around 4,000 political appointment positions which an incoming administration needs to review, and fill or confirm, of which about 1,200 require Senate confirmation. The White House Presidential Personnel Office (PPO) is one of the offices most responsible for political appointees and for assessing candidates to work at or for the White House.