Attracting and Retaining the Best People in Public Service
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Attracting and Retaining

the Best People in Public Service



Author. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dr. sc. Ivan Koprić, Full-time Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Zagreb

Coordinator .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Damir Ahmetović, UNDP BiH

Editing .. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Peter Serenyi (UNDP BRC)

Acknowledgements (HRM CoP members)

The following Community members played an important role in making the necessary arrangements for the successful execution of the Reserach

project (titles have been left out to indicate traditional non-hierarchical approach to membership nurtured by CoPs):

Albania - Blerta Selenica, Fatmir Demneri

Bosnia and Herzegovina - Hazim Kazic, Enver Iseric, Dragomir Kutlija, Aleksandar Karisik

Croatia - Dubravka Prelec, Natasa Djak

Kosovo (UN 1244) - Shefqet Berisha, Rrahman Zahiti

Macedonia (fYR) - Aleksandar Gestakovski, Biljana Nikolovska-Zagar, Gordana Dimitrovska

Montenegro - Svetlana Vukovic, Jadranka Djurkovic, Djuro Nikac

Serbia - Jasmina Damjanovic, Petar Spadijer, Sanja Leverda, Dragana Jankovic

Acknowledgements (UNDP)

Amna Muharemović, Elzemina Bojičić (Bosnia and Herzegovina);

Dan Dionisie, Zhanna Pilving (Bratislava Regional Centre);

Panos Liverakos (RC PAR project)

The opinions stated in this publication do not necessarily reflect opinions and position of the UNDP BiH.



Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

2. About the project . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5

3. Theoretical issues with practical consequences . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

4. Survey results . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9

5. Analysis . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28

6. Recommendations for improvement . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33

7. Conclusions and proposals . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39

“I mpoverished by war, an erratic transition to market

economy, and an offensive of foreign capital aimed at the

most lucrative profit sources, the country... was unable to

pay its civil servants adequately. At the same time, these

civil servants were constantly faced with rapid and excessive

acquisition of wealth by a small number of individuals who

had no other qualities to recommend them but their ability to

acquire money in an incredibly short period of time.”

Eugen Pusić, Foreword to the book The Croatian State and

Administration, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts,

Zagreb, 2008, p. 8

“What happened is that quality people - the people who have

knowledge and skills - have withdrawn, which is perfectly

suitable to the critical mass of fakes and frauds - this is

exactly what they want. They want every talented person, all

knowledge, and each criterion to be eradicated. Even though it

would be normal that those who achieve success also support

progress... Why? So that the majority of fakes and frauds

could take power.”

Arijana Čulina, Interview in Jutarnji list

of 29 December 2008, p. 24 Preface



The overall importance of quality civil service for good governance

can hardly be overstated. For the Western Balkans

human resource management in public sector is, perhaps,

the central question of the entire public administration reform.

With this in mind, we are pleased to present the report

of the study “Attracting and Retaining the Best People in

Public Service” aimed at practitioners and policy makers in

the Western Balkans, which was developed by the Western

Balkans Human Resource Management Community of Practice

and coordinated by the United Nations Development

Programme in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The initiative was

supported by the Regional Centre for Public Administration

Reform, a project implemented by the UNDP Bratislava Regional

Centre with funding from the Hellenic Government.

The Western Balkans Human Resource Management Community

of Practice (HRM CoP), launched in 2006, pursues

the shared interests of civil servants working in the Western

Balkans civil service structures, and has as main objectives

to advance civil service reforms in the countries of the region

and strengthen the local capacities in the area of human resource

management within the public administration. The

crucial issue of attracting and retaining the best people in

public service was identified as a priority at the very outset

of HRM CoP operation and became the main topic of the 3rd

Regional Workshop on Civil Service Reform in the Western

Balkans held on 4-5 November 2008 in Zagreb, Croatia.

In preparation for the workshop, the HRM CoP launched

an extensive regional study involving more than 150 civil

servants from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro,

Croatia, the UN Administered Province of Kosovo (UN

1244), FYR of Macedonia and Serbia, led by Professor Ivan

Koprić, a prominent academic from the Law Faculty of the

University of Zagreb. This study is a first attempt of its kind to

gather reliable comparative data that could shed some light

on specific aspects of human resource management in the

Western Balkans and uncover the main issues underlying

the ability of civil service structures to attract and retain the

best people. The report combines and consolidates the most

important recommendations for further strengthening human

resource capacities as viewed by the Western Balkans

civil servants.

Properly functioning civil service is a precondition for

socio-economic development of any country. We hope that

recommendations and measures outlined in the report’s

findings will serve as inspiration and guidance to decision

makers helping them to realize the full potential of the

Western Balkan countries.

October 2009

Annie Demirjian

Democratic Governance Practice Leader



1. Introduction

This report covers the countries of the Western Balkans - made

up of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia,

Kosovo (UN 1244), (FYRO) Macedonia, and Serbia. Like

other transition states, the countries of the Western Balkans

must reform their public administrations. Many of them, if

not all, desire to join the European Union, which requires

administrative changes aimed at building state capacities

along European norms. Citizens and domestic business

communities support such changes. Citizens expect their

public administration to work in the public interest, to be polite

and efficient in providing public services, to be less bureaucratic

and follow legal standards, to employ reliable and professional

civil servants who do not expect special rewards for their work.

Businesses demand that states be cost effective as well as

reliable, predictable, fast, and efficient. Firms want the state

to support and stimulate entrepreneurship. Those who devise

reforms must take into account the capacity of public servants.

The people who work for bureaucratic organizations have

significant influence on the quality of administrative services.

Their knowledge, skills, values and ethical standards, as well as

their attitude towards work and service to the public interest,

are vital to the success of any reform effort. Similar to any other

sector, public administration needs the most qualified people

available. Only the best administrative servants can perform

the most difficult, most complex, and most creative tasks. This

is the only way for public administration to become a reliable

support to democratically elected government – capable of

cooperation with supportive politicians.

An enormous effort is required to attract young, educated,

and ethical people to public service. Nevertheless,

sometimes it seems more difficult to retain those servants

whose diligence and continuous in-service training has

helped them to become key administrative personnel,

regardless whether they are in managerial positions or work

on other complex assignments.

The reform efforts in the region are strongly marked by

national context on the one hand, and international technical

assistance on the other. While domestic circumstances

tend to vary, international technical assistance to each

of the countries in the region is implemented in a similar

way. Political actors can strongly influence domestic

reform efforts, while international technical assistance is

characterized by a certain degree of standardization and

insistence on European, administrative standards.

There is a lack of cooperation among the public

administrations of the countries in the region, despite that

most are facing similar problems. An important building

block for such cooperation is a comparative analysis of the

problems facing public administrations in the region, and

the conditions in which they must function. Such an analysis

can be conducted based on reliable information and data.

It should rely on civil servants’ personal perceptions and

professional assessments. Only with such a study can public

administrations in the region cooperate to learn from best

practices and devise solutions to their own challenges.

2. About the project

With this in mind, the Community of Practice of the

United Nations Development Programme in Bosnia and

Herzegovina embarked on the project, Attracting and

Retaining the Best People in the Civil Service. The aim was

to gather and analyse the different practices employed by

public administrations in the region. The basic hypothesis is

that the countries of the region are experiencing difficulties

attracting and retaining the best people, particularly

due to competition from the private sector, international

organizations, and the civil sector. Structured interviews

and questionnaires were employed as the basic methods

for gathering information. The first exchange of ideas

and experiences took place in the course of information

gathering, and continued during and after the 3rd Regional

Workshop on Civil Service Reform in the Western Balkans,

held in Zagreb on 4-5 November 2008. A chief purpose

of the Research Report is to offer recommendations for

attracting and retaining the best people in public service,

based on the research results.

Structured interviews were held with political appointees

and high-ranking administrative personnel responsible for

human resources management and development in each

country of the region. The purpose of these interviews

was to gather quality evaluations and information. A

considerable number of senior officials took part in

interviews, sometimes in the presence of their associates,


who at times also participated actively. The number of

people participating in the interviews was between 2 and

20, depending on the structure of the human resources

management departments and the other specifics of

the country in question. The total number of interview

participants reached 50. The interview encompassed almost

30 possible interview topics, but not all were discussed

during a given interview, particularly in cases when the

interview was conducted with a larger group of political

appointees and administrative officials. The topics discussed

depended on the circumstances of a given country. In

addition, a workshop for middle-level administrative

officials responsible for human resources management was

held in each country. Within the workshops, we presented

the project and its expected impact. We asked each

workshop participant to fill out a questionnaire. As shown in

Table 1, 142 questionnaires were completed. The workshops

were conducted by the main researcher and the coordinator

of the Community of Practitioners.

The questionnaire enabled the research team to gather

quantitative and qualitative data on the respondents

and the organizations they work for, as well as on the

state of administrative education and the activities performed

prior to recruiting people in the civil service. It

enables the collection of data on recruiting procedures,

performance incentives. It also helped the research team

to see how competitive the civil service is compared to

the private and NGO sector and international organizations.

It offered a glimpse into national human resources

management practices, as well as into how the skills

of the highest-ranking administrative personnel are

developed. The respondents were asked to make suggestions

and comments. The questionnaire consisted of

79 questions, not including those on the respondents

and their administrative organizations. In addition,

most questions consisted of a Likert scale of agreement

questions (‘strongly agree’, ‘agree’, ‘neutral’, ‘disagree’,

‘strongly disagree’). (In the ranking questions, respondents

could add their own answers). The questionnaires

were anonymous. Each respondent was informed that

he or she could withhold personal information if he or

she believed it could compromise the anonymity of the

survey. In any case, only the main researcher had access

to the questionnaires.

Structured interviews, workshops, and the filling out of

questionnaires took place in the Western Balkans region

during 6 -21 October 2008.

Table 1: The number of questionnaires




Number %



Albania 17 12.0 16/10/2008

BiH 16 11.3 06/10/2008

Montenegro 29 20.4 08/10/2008

Croatia 29 20.4 21/10/2008

Kosovo (UN 1244) 18 12.7 14/10/2008

FYROM 11 7.7 13/10/2008

Serbia 22 15.5 09/10/2008

TOTAL 142 100 -

3. Theoretical issues

with practical consequences

The information gathered during the project has underscored

several basic issues that have both practical and theoretical

implications. These are:

1. Is professional mobility between different sectors (public

and private) negative for society? What kind of mobility

is positive, and what kind is negative? How long should

we retain the best people in public administration? What

kind of policy should be applied to those who might no

longer be achieving the best performance results?

Mobility between the various sectors of the economy

can be both positive and negative. Greater mobility can

ensure wider learning and the more successful transfer of

knowledge and skills. However, to be positive, such mobility

needs to happen in equal magnitude in all directions. If

people move only from one sector to another, it depletes

the personnel from the originating sector and leads to

the domination of work methods characteristic of the


more successful sector in the less successful one. Such a

fluctuation may result in negative consequences, which

are rather difficult to stop except through a strong shock.

For example, an economic crisis may serve as a trigger that

stops or alters trends. A crisis lowers people’s expectations,

increases their aversion to risk and pushes them towards

finding employment in those sectors offering job security,

such as public administration.

It is often claimed that the period during which people

perform well in a job is relatively limited. In one interview,

someone suggested that the period is only about five

years. Some believe that a quality individual possesses

sufficient motivation and is capable of producing the

best results in the first five-years of a job. After that,

people may become fed up, their motivation level may

decrease, their knowledge may become obsolete, their

creativity decreases, and their work attitude changes from

professional-proactive to office-reactive.

However, a problem in the countries of the region is the

larger number of middle-aged or older civil servants with

only secondary education. The challenge is to retrain them,

or to bolster their skills, or to provide them with early

retirement, or even to dismiss them from service.

2. Who are the best people, i.e. civil servants, whom we

want to attract and retain in public administration?

Which educational profiles or professions are we talking

about? What methods should be employed to determine

who are the best people?

There is no simple answer to these very important

questions. Self appraisal should not determine people’s view

of their self-worth and importance. Appraisals by politicians

leading the administrative organizations (ministers and

others) are equally important. While the first option leads

to self-promotion, the second can result in dangerous

politicization, favouritism and obedience to one or the other

person. Politizisation discourages creativity, leads to lower

professional standards, encourages a reactive attitude , and

creates a bad organizational climate.

It is important to make performance reviews more objective

by giving them greater importance: introducing more

objective evaluation methods, peer reviews, or reviews by

bodies of public servants and external, independent experts.

It would also be important to give precise performance

indicators, offer more explanation for appraisal marks, and

tie a part of civil servants’ salaries and career advancement

to performance reviews.

Public administration needs people from different

professions. However, the administrative profession has

traditionally been separated from other professions,

particularly from the law, but also from political science

and economics, although it has occasionally maintained a

special relationship with some of them. This has resulted in

the establishment of degrees of administrative education at

university and college institutions. Such developments have

made it possible to employ administrative professionals

who carry out assignments of varying levels of complexity

on a range of issues in public administration. Of course,

this does not mean that there is no need for lawyers,

economists, IT experts and engineers, psychologists and

social workers, political scientists and human resource

management specialists, as well as for other professions and


3. Why is it difficult to attract and retain the best people in

public administration? Is low salary the primary reason,

or are there other causes? To what extent do external circumstances

influence the problem?

The challenge of attracting and retaining the best

people is complex and goes to the root of the public

administration system that was established during

the transitional period, sometimes even earlier.

The challenges are both external and internal. The

unfavourable economic situation in society can be one

important external factor that is difficult to overcome. It

hinders the growth of public-sector salaries and leads to

subsidies for the private sector, so that it can grow faster

and thus pull the country out of its economic difficulties.

The situation in other sectors can also be an important

external factor affecting the ability of the public sphere

to attract talent. If those sectors are doing better

than the public sector, an outflow of the best people

from public administration to the other sectors can


e expected. Young educated people also would be

attracted to those non-state sectors.

Poor legal norms regulating working conditions for civil

servants and sub-par human resources management

may be considered additional negative external factors.

If the administration is not consulted in the course of

the legislative process, and regulations are adopted on

political grounds, the risk of adopting poor legislation

is even greater. The risk usually occurs when there the

public administration is held in low public esteem,

which is a rather common occurrence in many transition

countries (not to mention in some developed countries

as well). Furthermore, the social importance and power

the political system has acquired due to the transition

from undemocratic to democratic multiparty systems

has led to substantial politicization of society and the

public administration in particular. Some of the countries

in the region have struggled with another negative

circumstance, i.e. a poor demographic situation caused by

war and emigration, or by the related brain drain. Thus,

the supply of qualified labour has shrunk.

Some of the internal factors causing problems are

inadequate education and conditions of employment that

lead to discrimination along political, national or other

lines. Civil service is a profession that requires a specific

administrative education. Special regional university

and college programmes for public administration are in

the initial stages -- with some notable exceptions. Job

requirements are sometimes lowered to fit the candidate

someone wants to employ. Their poor performance and

lesser expertise are believed to be less visible than in

the private sector. The cost of such practices is borne by

the whole community. Both circumstances hinder the

recruitment of well-educated people, convincing them to

pursue careers in other sectors.

The lack of a strategic vision is another internal problem

that gives the public the impression that public

administration is a lethargic, hopeless area, perhaps even

unnecessary to society. These perceptions do not stimulate

better performance and do not give civil servants

professional affirmation. Low ethical standards combined

with the view that public service is a spoil also make the

public sector unattractive.

4. What motivates people to work in public administration?

Is service to the community a necessary evil chosen by

those who are unable to find employment in other

sectors, or is working for the public good actually their

attempt at self-realization? What are the advantages

and disadvantages of public service? Is the motivational

approach sufficient to solve the problems of insufficient

attraction of the civil service and insufficient capacity for

retaining the best civil servants? What other approaches

are possible?

People’s motivation is influenced by individual,

organizational, and social factors. A typical individual

motive could be the need for any employment available.

Such individuals are often poorly motivated with weak

expertise. They consider public service merely as a way

of securing a monthly salary. They often have a reactive

work attitude, or try to leave public administration as

soon as possible. Moreover, some individuals take jobs in

public administration because they are motivated by the

desire for power and privileges.

Some more favourable motivational factors are:

understanding public administration as an area that

offers good chances for professional development,

opportunities for self-affirmation and self-realization,

as well as job satisfaction. Educational programmes that

prepare people for the public sector are usually a source

of better-motivated civil servants because during their

education they learn the rules of the profession and

its particular ethos. This is one of the important longterm

advantages of administrative education and the

recruitment of individuals possessing such education.

Organizational factors include attractive salaries and other

bonuses, as well as career advancement possibilities,

other benefits (such as health insurance, pension, paid

maternity leave), interesting work, favourable conditions

in individual organizations, organizational loyalty and

cohesive organizational culture.

Societal factors motivating individuals consist of the

situation on the labour market, possibilities for securing

job security, the chance to work in the public interest, etc.

Taking a ‘Motivational approach’ reduced to mere


individual motivational factors cannot ensure sufficient

incentives to work in the public service. It is necessary

to launch wider changes, ranging from sharpening the

mission and objectives of public administration to reexamining

the way things are organized, managed and

actually done in practice, so that public administration

could become an area that attracts people through the

set of (external) benefits and a number of (internal)


Public administration offers numerous advantages when

compared to other professions. These include job security,

a dependable salary, health insurance, pension, paid

maternity leave, adequate sick leave, ample vacation and

paid leave, humane work conditions, etc. Furthermore,

public servants enjoy dignity and prestige ; satisfaction

promoting the public interest; influence shaping the social

environment; a say on public policies and laws; freedom

from pressure for instant results; the possibility of lex artis;,

autonomy; and other intrinsic motivational factors.

5. What are the best ways to attract and retain the most

qualified staff in state administration? Can we expect

swift and efficient results? What are the areas where the

solutions can be found? What are the short-term and

long-term measures?

Systemic solutions offer the best chances for success: such

solutions take into consideration the complexity and depth

of the problem, the context in which things occur and

the advantages and disadvantages of employment in the

public service. By contrast, one-sided, isolated solutions are

doomed to fail. One has to differentiate between short-term

and long-term measures.

Short-term measures include preventing discrimination,

eliminating political and other patronage during the

recruitment stage, improving legal regulation, providing better

remuneration, strengthening public relations, and learning

about the good practices of human resources management..

Long-term measures include creating a positive public view

of state administration, strengthening those factors that

motivate employees, encouraging a proactive work attitude

and cohesive organizational culture, strengthening ties with

the academic community and creating special educational

programmes for public administration, and emphasizing the

advantages of jobs in public administration.

The basic areas that warrant new solutions include

restructuring of the civil service system, improving HRM

practices, fighting employee dissatisfaction in public

administration, strengthening the merit system, and enabling

professional and union organization among employees.

4. Survey results

a) Some characteristics of the respondents. There were

43 (30.3 percent) men and 96 (67.6 percent) women

among the respondents, while three respondents did

not give their gender (Table 2). Regarding education,

most of the respondents have university degrees - 125

of them (88 percent), some of whom have MSc degrees

- 7 (4.9 percent) (Table 3).

Many of the respondents with university degrees are

lawyers – 82 or 65.6 percent of this category. Another

important group are economists – 17 or 13.6 percent.

Other degrees appeared less frequently, at least in the

current phase of human resources development in the

region. 1 Some 26 respondents or 20.8 percent had

other degrees. Among them were psychologists (4),

agronomists (3), different types of engineers (3), public

administration experts (2), management experts (2),

work organization experts (2), social workers (2), political

scientists (2), etc. (Table 4). Most of the MSc degrees are

law degrees (3).


Some professions are present in the sample because in Montenegro, for

example, there are no specialized personnel for human resources management,

but those tasks are performed by ‘contact persons’, i.e. civil servants

who perform their regular tasks as well as some other field tasks related to

personnel service in cooperation with the Personnel Administration. Moreover,

in certain exceptional cases, the sample was not rigorous enough, so the

survey encompassed several civil servants who did not perform HRM tasks. .


Table 2: Gender structure


























Albania BiH Montenegro Croatia Kosovo (UN 1244) (FYRO) Macedonia Serbia

Table 3: Educational structure

























Albania BiH Montenegro Croatia Kosovo (UN 1244) (FYRO) Macedonia Serbia






Table 4: Respondent structure according to university education

Profession Albania BiH Montenegro Croatia


(UN 1244)




Lawyer 3 9 23 19 9 5 14 82

Economist 7 1 3 - 5 - 1 17

Psychologist - - - - - 2 2 4

Agronomist - - - 2 - 1 3

Management - - - - 1 - 1 2



2 - - - - - 2

Work organization - 1 - - - - 1 2

Political scientists - 1 - 1 - - - 2

Social workers - - - 1 - 1 - 2

Engineers 1 - - - - 2 3

Others - 1 - 1 - 1 - 3

Unknown - - 2 1 - - - 3

Total 13 13 26 25 15 10 21 125


b) Pre-recruitment HRM Activities and administrative

education. In this part of the survey, respondents were asked

about possible scholarships for students prior to recruitment

into the civil service. Scholarship practices are rather

underdeveloped. Few respondents gave information about the

percentage of scholarship students in the category of newly

recruited civil servants, emphasizing that their number is very

small. The number of such scholarship students recruited in

the past two years was very small in the organizations whose

employees took part in the survey, varying from two to ten.

The largest number of scholarship students was listed in

Kosovo (UN 1244) – over 30. According to the survey, there

were no scholarship students in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

There were a number of questions about the educational

system (3-10). The first group consisted of the respondents’

evaluation of their respective educational systems. They

evaluated the adjustment of the faculty, college, and university

programmes to the requirements of the civil and public

services (question 3). Next, they evaluated the cooperation

and participation of administrative experts – practitioners

in the lectures at such institutions (question 4); knowledge,

skills and competences of the individuals who graduated

from such public administration institutions (question 5); and

the degree of special and additional (co)financing of public

service educational programmes by the civil and public service

(question 6). The answers to those questions are shown in

Table 5. The dominant mark in all four cases is good (C), and

it is most frequently given in the answers concerning the

question about the adjustment of educational programmes

to the requirements of public administration. In 27.4 percent

of the answers to the same question, the respondents have

graded the adjustment as very good (B). The marks are

somewhat better with regard to grading students’ skills and


competences, where the grade ‘very good’ (B) appears in

38.1 percent of the answers. The practice of co-financing

educational programmes by public administration is graded

as satisfactory (D) in 27.6 percent of the answers, as well as

the participation of practitioners in lectures and teaching

(in 24.8 percent of the answers). Generally, the adjustment

of educational programmes to practical needs is graded as

good (C) or very good (D). A similar though somewhat less

favourable grade is given to students’ practical skills. Grades for

co-financing university programmes and the participation of

practitioners in lectures at university and college institutions

vary from good (C) to satisfactory (D).

Table 5: Evaluations of the educational system

Question nr. 1 % 2 % 3 % 4 % 5 % Total

3. 3 2.2 23 17.0 67 49.6 37 27.4 5 3.7 135

4. 9 7.4 30 24.8 45 37.2 22 18.2 15 12.4 121

5. 4 3.2 15 11.9 55 43.7 48 38.1 4 3.2 126

6. 7 5.5 35 27.6 49 38.6 27 21.3 9 7.1 127

Regarding education, respondents still prefer public sector

educational institutions (question 8). They are preferred by

86.9 percent of the respondents (93 out of 107 people).

Only 14 respondents reported that private institutions

provide better education. Nevertheless, the fact that 35

respondents (approx. 25 percent) did not answer this

question must be taken into account.

The quality of teaching at public sector educational

institutions is perceived as their greatest advantage - it

is mentioned 56 times. 2 The quality of teachers is also

frequently mentioned as a positive attribute when

compared to private educational institutions (mentioned

50 times). Better programmes and more appropriate

exam criteria are mentioned 36 and 30 times, respectively.

Better teaching conditions are mentioned 12 times and

international cooperation six times.

On the other side, the respondents have outlined factors

like better programmes (6), better lectures and teaching

(6), better teaching conditions (6), and better international

cooperation (6) as the ones that provide main advantage to

the private education institutions. Several respondents used

the opportunity to add to the list of characteristics offered

in the questionnaire (both in case of public and private

education). Thus, some additional advantages of public

education are thought to be freedom from profit-driven work


Each respondent could choose one or more characteristics.

and a quest for better-quality knowledge. Some additional

advantages of private education include a quicker adjustment

to labour market demands, flexibility of curricula, and better

international cooperation. One of the interviewees stated that

the students who graduate from private institutions have

better knowledge of foreign languages.

When asked about the best and the worst educational

institutions, the respondents gave rather different answers,

or refrained from answering the question, citing their

insufficient knowledge of their respective educational

systems. Those who did respond usually ranked public

sector institutions as the best, followed by faculties of law,

or the faculties they attended (e.g. faculties of economics,

etc.). Nevertheless, even those who chose the faculties

they attended usually named other college and university

institutions as well. Similar patterns are noted in the

responses to the question: Which college and university

institutions have programmes for public administration? Law

studies were mentioned very often, economics more rarely,

as well as some other studies. It can be observed that some

respondents were familiar with special public administration

studies, although such programmes are relatively new. 3 .


For example, BA public administration study at Social Sciences Polytechnics in

Zagreb; specialist postgraduate study Public Administration at the University of Zagreb;

PhD study of public law and public administration at the Faculty of Law, University

of Zagreb; Faculty of Public Administration in Sarajevo; Faculty for State and

European Studies in Podgorica; several private faculties and universities in (FYRO)

Macedonia; state administration study at Megatrend University in Belgrade; etc.


c) Recruitment procedure. Respondents had to answer

14 questions about the recruitment procedure. The results

are shown in Table 6. The respondents had to indicate the

level of their agreement with certain statements, so that

number 1 meant the lowest agreement level and number

5 the highest. For better insight into results, it is useful to

add up values 1 and 2 (disagreement) and values 4 and 5

(agreement), as in Table 7.

Table 6: Recruitment procedure



1 % 2 % 3 % 4 % 5 % Total

1. 2 1.4 5 3.6 30 21.4 49 35.0 54 38.6 140

2. 7 5.1 19 13.8 47 34.1 35 25.4 30 21.7 138

3. 13 9.7 26 19.4 38 28.4 31 23.1 26 19.4 134

4. 7 5.3 2 1.5 15 11.5 38 29.0 69 52.7 131

5. 1 0.7 1 0.7 11 7.9 33 23.7 93 66.9 139

6. 17 12.8 29 21.8 46 34.6 22 16.5 19 14.3 133

7. 12 8.6 10 7.1 22 15.7 52 37.1 44 31.4 140

8. 37 27.0 42 30.7 20 14.6 25 18.2 13 9.5 137

9. 27 19.9 27 19.9 50 36.8 19 14.0 13 9.6 136

10. 11 8.0 17 12.4 42 30.7 44 32.1 23 16.8 137

11. 29 21.5 30 22.2 33 24.4 27 20.0 16 11.9 135

12. 17 12.3 21 15.2 26 18.8 46 33.3 28 20.3 138

13. 7 5.0 25 17.9 63 45.0 34 24.3 11 7.9 140

14. 3 2.1 19 13.7 38 27.3 55 39.6 24 17.3 139

Table 7: Recruitment procedure - grouped results

Question Weak agreement Medium agreement Stronger agreement


1+2 % 3 % 4+5 %


1. 7 5.0 30 21.4 103 73.6 140

2. 26 18.8 47 34.1 65 47.1 138

3. 39 29.1 38 28.4 57 42.5 134

4. 9 6.9 15 11.5 116 88.5 131

5. 2 1.4 11 7.9 126 90.6 139

6. 46 34.6 46 34.6 41 30.8 133

7. 22 15.7 22 15.7 96 68.6 140

8. 79 57.7 20 14.6 38 27.7 137

9. 54 39.7 50 36.8 32 23.5 136

10. 28 20.4 42 30.7 67 48.9 137

11. 59 43.7 33 24.4 43 31.9 135

12. 38 27.5 26 18.8 74 53.6 138

13. 32 22.9 63 45.0 45 32.1 140

14. 22 15.8 38 27.3 79 56.8 139


It is visible from the previous two tables that the strongest

agreement appears to be with the statements concerning legal

regulation or other formal issues. As many as 73.6 percent of

the respondents think that there is adequate legal regulation of

recruitment into state service (statement 1); almost 90 percent

think that all vacancies are filled via public announcements

(statement 4), while over 90 percent think that public

announcements are published in the appropriate media

(statement 5). Some 57.7 percent of respondents disagreed

with the statement (no. 8) that vacancies are frequently not

published because they are filled with the already employed

civil servants. Nevertheless, the percentage (27.7 percent) of

those who agreed with the statement is not to be neglected. It

shows that some vacancies are filled with the people who are

already employed in particular administrative organizations.

30.8 percent of the respondents strongly agree with the

statement (no. 6) that the number of candidates for vacancies

is small because it is more or less clear who is to be employed.

One third of the respondents show medium agreement, and

one third disagreed with the statement.

It is indicative that less than a half respondents (47.1

percent) agree with the statement (no. 2) that a legal and

fair recruitment procedure has been ensured for everybody,

without discrimination. Furthermore, 42.5 percent of the

respondents strongly agree with the statement (no. 3) that

there is a strong political influence on recruitment, while

less than one third considers such influence much weaker. A

relatively large number of respondents strongly agreed with

the statement (no. 11) that educational and other criteria

contained in vacancy ads are adjusted to fit the candidates

about whom it is already known they are to be recruited

(almost one third), although the most frequent answer is

weak agreement with the statement (in 43.7 percent).

More than two thirds of respondents reported that the

recruitment criteria for top positions are more demanding

(statement no. 7). Numerous respondents believe that the

newly recruited civil servants are of average qualifications and

readiness to take over autonomous tasks. Some 45 percent

of the respondents showed moderate agreement and 32.1

percent think than young civil servants are very well qualified.

This is in certain correlation with a similar question in Table 5,

although the result there indicates a slightly better situation.

The protection of legality in recruitment procedures is of

medium priority, according to the respondents. However,

court protection inspires greater confidence than the appeal

(or a similar legal institute, depending on legal regulations

in different legal systems). Specifically, 43.7 percent of the

respondents express weak agreement with the statement

(no. 9) that there are few appeals against recruitment

procedures because it is considered that the chances for

their success are slim. Those respondents obviously believe

the situation to be different. However, 48.8 percent of

the respondents express strong belief in quality court

protection (statement no. 10). It is interesting that every

fifth respondent has no confidence in the courts.

It is positive that 53.6 percent of the respondents agreed

with the statement (no. 12) that newly recruited civil

servants undergo well-structured apprenticeship periods,

which helps to familiarize them with all the postitions in

an organization and other activities. Still, 27.5 percent of

respondents disagreed with this statement.

Finally, 56.8 percent of respondents expressed strong agreement

with the statement (no. 14) that the new recruitment

techniques and methods (interviews, psychological and other

testing, and similar selection methods) have already brought

positive results and contributed significantly to recruiting

better administrative personnel. Less than 23 percent of the

respondents disagreed with this statement.

d) Motivational factors. This group of questions surveyed

which types of incentives the respondents thought to be

more important. It is a dilemma between the extrinsic

incentives (salary, privileges, and other bonuses) and intrinsic

incentives (satisfaction with one’s work, the chance to further

the public interest, and professional achievement). Almost

two thirds of all respondents consider extrinsic incentives to

be more important. Consequently, intrinsic incentives are

important to one third of them. There are differences among

the countries, but it is not possible to verify their statistical

relevance by the hi-square method (χ2) due to relatively low

frequencies. Nevertheless, the countries can be systematized

into two groups – the first consisting of the countries where

the ratio of importance of extrinsic and intrinsic motivation is

balanced (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and, to a certain

extent, Kosovo (UN 1244)), and the second, where extrinsic

motivation is thought to be more important (Albania,

Montenegro, Croatia, (FYRO) Macedonia).


Table 8: Motivation types























Albania BiH Montenegro Croatia Kosovo (UN 1244)(FYRO) Macedonia Serbia

The respondents also answered a series of questions

that survey how they view different aspects of the

social situation and the state of public administration,

which can have positive and negative effects on job

performance (questions 2-8). The results are shown

in Table 9.

Table 9: Respondents views on the social and administrative environment (grouped answers)

Question nr. 1 + 2 % 3 % 4 + 5 % Total

2. 54 38.8 48 34.5 37 26.6 139

3. 41 29.5 33 23.7 65 46.8 139

4. 14 9.9 49 34.8 78 55.3 141

5. 5 3.5 11 7.7 126 88.7 142

6. 74 52.1 57 40.1 11 7.7 142

7. 42 29.8 23 16.3 76 53.9 141

8. 46 33.8 56 41.2 34 25.0 136


The respondents reported that there was moderate

use of contractual forms of labour relations, fixedterm

employment, and other forms of flexible labour

arrangements (question 2). However, almost 39 percent

of them reported that the presence of such arrangements

was not significant, while less than 27 percent report there

was a significant presence. Although such arrangements

diminish the advantages of working in public service, the

respondents (still) viewed their work as very important

for the community, citizens, and the country as a whole

(question 5). Almost 90 percent of them claim that.

There were two questions about job security. Respondents had

to evaluate job security in general (question 4) and specify the

degree of influence political actors can have on civil servants’

continuance in service (question 3). The view that civil

servants’ position is stable is relatively high – over 55 percent

consider public service as very stable, while only 10 percent

of respondents expressed significant fear in that regard.

Nevertheless, 47 percent of them expressed apprehension

over political interference in their career trajectory.

Question no. 8 surveys how civil servants evaluate

performance review processes and to what extent positive

marks during an evaluation reflect real achievements.

Over 41 percent of respondents believe that the correlation

between marks and contribution to work is moderate.

What is disturbing is the estimation of one third of the

respondents that the marks are poorly related to job

performance. The perception of correlation between

professional achievements and salaries (question 6) is

even weaker, since 52.1 percent of respondents do not

see a clear relation between them. Only 7.7 percent of

the respondents think that there is a strong correlation

between salaries and results. The importance of salaries

for work motivation is reflected in answers to the question

no. 7, where 54 percent of respondents view salary as an

important motivational factor.

Respondents were asked to rank a set of factors that attract

people to public service according to the level of their

appeal. They had the opportunity to add other factors, but

few of them did. The analysis includes answers in which

each rank appeared once, as well as the answers where

certain number of initial ranks could be clearly identified.

Table 10 shows the results of the first, second, and third

choice by rank.

The results from Table 10 clearly show that job security is

the strongest factor attracting people to public service. It is

seen as the most important by 74 respondents, and it is the

second choice of 27 respondents (rank 2). Furthermore,

in 107 out of 126 answers job security appears as one of

the first three choices. In other words, 85 percent of the

respondents who gave valid answers chose job security as

their first, second, or third choice.

Table 10: Ranking the factors that attract people into public service


First choice

(rank 1)

Second choice

(rank 2)

Third choice

(rank 3)

Job security 74 27 6 107

Regular salary 33 64 12 109

Professional development 11 12 25 48

Travel abroad 2 4 12 18

Contacts with international

experts and organizations

2 2 6 10

Work in the public interest 4 1 13 18

Favourable hours - 9 43 52

Others 1 1 - 2



Table 12: The most appreciated values in respondents’ administrative organizations

First choice

(rank 1)

Second choice

(rank 2)

Third choice

(rank 3)

Fourth choice

(rank 4)

Fifth choice

(rank 5)

Democratic Legal Social Ecological Economic


There are five value types in contemporary public

administration - political (democratic) 4 , legal 5 , social 6 ,

ecological 7 i and economic. 8 The respondents were asked

to rank the value types from the most appreciated (rank

1) to the least appreciated (rank 5). The respondents could


Among them are legitimacy, political accountability, publicness, availability,

transparency, openness, responsiveness, user-friendly public administration,

and political self-government (territorial and functional).


These are the rule of law, legality, legal security, legal accountability, the

protection of human and citizens’ rights, equality, non-bias, fair procedures,

judicial review of public administration, etc.


Social values are social justice, solidarity, social sensitivity, welfare,

compassion, assistance to citizens, charity, and preservation of socio-cultural



Ecological values belong to the newest set of values. The following belong

to the group the protection of natural environment, saving natural resources,

preservation of biodiversity, quality life in harmony with nature, etc.


These are economy, efficiency, efficaciousness, entrepreneurship, marketability,

competitiveness, the quality of public services, etc.

give only the most appreciated values, enumerate several

best-ranked value types, or rank all five value types. The

results are shown in Tables 12 and 13.

The results from Table 12 show that legality currently

is the most appreciated value in public administrations

in the region. They are mentioned as first or second

choice in most cases (rank 1 and rank 2). The second

place, according to first and second choices, belongs

to democratic values (35 first choices and 34 second

choices). Economic values are the third – they have the

largest number of third choices (38), and come third

as the first choice (11) and fourth as the second choice

(17). Social values follow them closely, and are fourth

as the first choice (8), third as the second choice (19),

second as the third choice (22), and lead as the fourth

choice (38). Ecological values are least appreciated at

the moment, they dominate the fifth choice (58). Some

interviews, however, lead us to believe that in real life the


Table13: Value types most appreciated by the respondents

First choice

(rank 1)

Second choice

(rank 2)

Third choice

(rank 3)

Fourth choice

(rank 4)

Fifth choice

(rank 5)

Democratic Legal Social Ecological Economic


dominant values are political values and obedience, as

an expression of the authoritarian administrative culture.

The value mix most appreciated by the respondents

is similar. The only difference is that the respondents,

seen as a whole, are somewhat indecisive in prioritising

between social and economic values. Legal values are the

most emphasised, by far – they are the first choice of 80

respondents (out of 122 methodologically acceptable

answers), which makes 65.6 percent. Democratic values

are ranked second in the first choice (chosen 26 times),

first in the second choice (chosen 38 times), and third

in the third choice (chosen 26 times). Although social

values got fewer first choices (5) than economic values

(10), they are still ranked third in the second choice

(chosen 24 times, while economic are ranked fourth in

the second choice, being chosen 22 times) and dominate

the third choice (chosen 32 times, while economic

values came second with 29 third choices). Social and

ecological values are equal in the fourth choice (chosen

30 times each), while economic values are ranked third

in the fourth choice (chosen 26 times). Ecological values

dominate the final choice; therefore, the respondents

personally think them to be the least important.

Hi-square test of the first choices grouped in a smaller

number of value groups has shown that there are no

statistically relevant differences between the order

of value types that are appreciated in administrative

organizations and respondents’ personal value systems.

The grouped 9 results of the first choices are shown

in Table 14. Hi-square equals only 2.97 (χ2 = 2.97),

even if we merge social and ecological values into the


Democratic, social, and ecological values were put into the same group,

since they are related.


same group with democratic political values (at two

degrees of freedom, the limit of statistical relevance is

5.99; the calculated number is rather lower than that). 10

The following question required respondents to describe

the atmosphere in their respective organization,

the dominant work attitude, and the factors that influence

that attitude (question 13). Respondents expressed a level

of agreement with eight statements offered in the question.

The grouped results are shown in Table 15. The answers

containing weak agreement (1 and 2) are merged, as well

as the answers containing strong agreement (4 and 5).

Table 14: First choice of value types - grouped results



Democratic, social and






The most appreciated in organizations




The situation is similar with the second choice, where x 2 = 2.65, and

the third choice, where x 2 = 2.79. Further, in the fourth and fifth choices,

hi-square becomes lower, since the expected frequencies in individual

columns fall below five (5).

The most appreciated by the respondents


Table 15: The atmosphere and work attitude - grouped results

Statement Weak agreement Medium agreement Strong agreement


1+2 % 3 % 4+5 %


1. 21 14.9 60 42.6 60 42.6 141

2. 53 38.4 59 42.8 26 18.8 138

3. 36 25.5 36 25.5 69 48.9 141

4. 9 6.4 33 23.4 99 70.2 141

5. 129 91.5 8 5.7 4 2.8 141

6. 13 9.2 48 34.0 80 56.7 141

7. 10 7.3 17 12.4 110 80.3 137

8. 22 15.9 56 40.6 60 43.5 138

The respondents reported average to good interpersonal

relationships in their administrative organizations. The

statement (no. 1) that there is a supportive atmosphere

in administrative organizations received an equal number

of answers with average and strong agreement (60

answers each, i.e. 42.6 percent). Numerous respondents,

59 or 42.8 percent, are not sure about their role in their

respective administrative organizations and the possibilities

to influence the welfare of their countries (statement 2).

Nevertheless, there are fewer of them who are disappointed

in their role (26 or 18.8 percent) than those who have a

different perception, i.e. who are not disappointed in their

role within the organization and the possibility to influence

the welfare of their country (53 or 38.4 percent).

The result obtained for statement no. 8, according to which

the civil servants’ first goal is to work quietly, build their

careers and slowly but surely earn their retirement, reveals

a discrepancy when compared to other answers in this

section. Sixty respondents agreed with this statement (43.5

percent), 22 disagreed (15.9 percent), while the rest were

undecided (56, or 40.6 percent). This might be caused by the

perception of good legal protection in the service (statement

no. 6). The majority of respondents think that civil servants

are well protected legally (80, i.e. 56.7 percent).

The respondents seem quite sure that the civil servants in

their own administrative organizations work in accordance

with professional standards, despite possible political

and other pressures (statement no. 4). As many as 99

respondents (70.2 percent) expressed strong agreement

with this statement. Sixty-nine respondents (48.9 percent)

claimed they would perform even better if they got more

attention and affirmation, even without increased salaries

(statement no. 3). They do not wish to harm the interests of

the social environment - more than 80 percent of them (110

respondents) believe the interests of citizens and businesses

have to come first (statement no. 7).

A vast majority of respondents report on the small number of

disciplinary breaches. Some 129 respondents (91.5 percent)

disagreed with the statement that there are numerous

breaches of discipline in their organization (statement no.

5). Nevertheless, the interviews have shown that this does

not reflect the real situation, since it often happens that

disciplinary action is not taken despite the fact that mistakes

and breaches of discipline have occurred.

e) The position of the public service compared to the private

and civil sectors, and international organizations. Public

administration is competing with other sectors for the best

people. All countries in the region are characterized by similar

trends - strengthening the private and civil sectors. Furthermore,

they are all hosts to numerous international organizations

who also hire local personnel. Respondents’ views regarding

competitiveness on the labour market are shown in Table 16.

Public service has difficulties in attracting and retaining young

educated professionals, and international organizations are

its strongest competitors (statement no. 4). As many as 128

respondents (91.4 percent) agreed with that statement. The

private sector follows (statement no. 1) - 84 respondents (60


Table 16: The position of the public service on the labour market - grouped results

Statement Weak agreement Medium agreement Strong agreement


1+2 % 3 % 4+5 %


1. 22 15.7 34 24.3 84 60.0 141

2. 51 37.2 50 36.5 36 26.3 137

3. 44 31.4 34 24.3 62 44.3 140

4. 2 1.4 10 7.1 128 91.4 140

5. 7 5.0 25 17.7 109 77.3 141

6. 17 12.1 54 38.3 70 49.6 141

7. 17 12.4 66 48.2 54 39.4 137

percent) confirm that it is more competitive. The civil sector

(statement no. 3) is on the third position among the important

competitors - 62 respondents (44.3 percent) think that the

civil sector is more competitive than public administration,

and 44 respondents (31.4 percent) disagreed.

Fifty-one (51) respondents (37.2 percent) believe that the

civil service does not provide good salaries and opportunities

for acquiring wide experience (statement no. 2); while 36

respondents (26.3 percent) think the opposite is true.

Furthermore, 109 respondents (77.3 percent) agree with the

statement that public service cannot retain experienced quality

personnel (statement no. 5). Nevertheless, 70 respondents

agreed with statement no. 6 that the public service retains

experienced personnel primarily because of job security

and work in the public interest. It seems that the mobility

among public administration, the private and civil sectors,

and international organizations (statement no. 7) is moderate.

Although 54 respondents (39.4 percent) agree that mobility

is strong, 66 of them (48.2 percent) think it is only moderate.

It is worth mentioning that some of the interviewed officials

emphasized the competition of certain local and regional

self-government units whose financial capacities are

relatively large - the local public sector is occasionally more

competitive than the state.

f) The practice of managing human potential. The

respondents were asked about the organization of human

resources management in their respective countries

(question 1). Three answers were offered, covering three

basic organizational varieties: a) organization is centralized,

i.e. there is one organization competent for the whole public

administration, b) organization is decentralized, i.e. each

administrative organization is autonomous in the matters

concerning human resources management, and c) organization

is combined, i.e. there is a central organization in charge of

human resources management in the whole administrative

system and there are individual HRM departments in each

administrative organization. The results are shown in Table 17.

The results indicate that the tasks of human resources

management are centralized in Albania and Montenegro,

decentralized in Kosovo (UN 1244), while elsewhere there is a

combination of a centralized HRM service and certain autonomy

of individual state administrative organizations. The combination

of both organic varieties seems to be the dominant model.

The answer to the second question concerning the

number of civil servants working on the human resources

management-related tasks could not ensure complete

information, since the respondents reported only about

some state administrative organizations (sometimes there

were two or more respondents from the same organization).

Nevertheless, the results show that a significant number

of civil servants work on these tasks, varying from country

to country, and from organization to organization within

the same country. In terms of the largerst number of civil

servants in charge of human resources management in

individual administrative organization, the results are as

follows: 10 in an administrative organization in Albania; 3

in BiH; 12 in Montenegro; 60 in Croatia; 226 in Kosovo (UN

1244) (?!); 15 in (FYRO) Macedonia; and 100 in Serbia.


Table 17: The management of human potential






Albania BiH Montenegro Croatia Kosovo (UN 1244) (FYRO) Macedonia Serbia

Table 18: Practicing human potential management - grouped results

Statement Weak agreement Medium agreement Strong agreement


1+2 % 3 % 4+5 %


1. 35 25.0 39 27.9 66 47.1 140

2. 42 30.4 42 30.4 54 39.1 138

3. 18 12.9 54 38.6 68 48.6 140

4. 27 19.1 57 40.4 57 40.4 141

5. 37 27.6 61 45.5 36 26.9 134

6. 83 59.3 40 28.6 17 12.1 140

7. 59 42.4 53 38.1 27 19.4 139

8. 30 21.4 42 30.0 68 48.6 140

9. 23 16.4 52 37.1 65 46.4 140

10. 15 10.9 52 38.0 70 51.1 137

11. 25 18.4 58 42.6 53 39.0 136

12. 30 21.9 40 29.2 67 48.9 137

13. 18 12.9 47 33.6 75 53.6 140

14. 39 28.1 58 41.7 42 30.2 139

15. 54 39.4 37 27.0 46 33.6 137

16. 29 21.0 39 28.3 70 50.7 138


In order to get a better insight into human resources

management practices, respondents were asked to express

their level of agreement with an additional 16 statements.

The grouped results are shown in Table 18.

Respondents think that the human resources management

approach is worth the effort. In accordance with that, almost 60

percent of them (83 of 140) do not think that too much money

is spent on human resources management (statement no. 6).

They also support the statement claiming that the number of

civil servants working on HRM tasks is too small (statement no.

1) - 66 respondents (47.1 percent) believe it to be true.

The interviewed department heads and other officials also

think that there is still some space left for organizational

development of human resources management departments

in the region. It must be emphasized that some of the

countries in the region have autonomous institutions in

charge of human resources management within their state

administrative system (e.g. BiH at several levels of state

administration; Montenegro; (FYRO) Macedonia; and Serbia),

while others have HRM departments within some other

institution (e.g. Albania; Croatia and Kosovo (UN 1244)).

In some countries, the horizontal organization of HRM

departments in other administrative organizations has been

or is being established, and in Montenegro it is about to begin.

Since many civil servants who used to work on personnel

related tasks are now engaged into HRM, the approach is

changing rather slowly. The respondents are not satisfied

with the speed of these changes either. Thus, 54 (39.1

percent) of them think that the practice of human resources

management is still burdened with an old, bureaucratic

approach (statement no. 2), and as many as 48.6 percent (68

respondents) believe that the new proactive and integrative

approach to the management of human potential (statement

no. 3) is not being developed quickly enough. There are

more respondents who think that little has changed with

the handling of administrative personnel (statement no. 4 is

supported by 57 respondents, i.e. 40.4 percent), than those

who disagree (only 27 respondents, i.e. 19.1 percent).

Statement no. 10 surveyed people’s views on the difference

between the old formal-legal approach of personnel service

and the new human resources management approach.

Some 70 respondents (51.1 percent) think that there is

a considerable difference between the previous tasks of

personnel service and the new managerial approach to

human potential. This result is somewhat different from the

relatively pessimistic perception suggested by the responses

to previously mentioned statements. It is clear that civil

servants in charge of human resources management

understand the new concept.

Respondents were not terribly optimistic regarding the

past effectiveness of human resources management. An

equal number of respondents agreed (36) and disagreed

(37) with the statement that since human resources

management was formally introduced (statement no.

5) positive effects have been recorded. The majority of

respondents were undecided (61, i.e. 45.5 percent).

Possible reasons for such responses can be due to

politicization and corruption. Namely, 68 respondents

agree with the statement that there will be no progress in

human resources management until corruption is eradicated

(statement no. 8), and 59 respondents (42.4 percent) think

that political support to the professionalisation of public

administration is merely on the level of words (statement

no. 7.) Most respondents disagreed with another possible

explanation; namely. that the civil servants who work on

human resources management are not sufficiently educated

and motivated (statement no. 9). Only 23 (16.4 percent)

agreed, while 65 (46.4 percent) disagreed. It also seems that

the legal norms guiding the new approach are perceived as

sufficiently developed (statement no. 12) – 67 respondents

(48.9 percent) believe them to be clear and detailed enough.

Statement no. 11 is used to check if there are elements of

strategic human resources management. The respondents

are not completely sure, so most of them (58, i.e. 42.6

percent) report moderate agreement with the statement.

However, the number of those who think that there are

some elements of strategic human resources management

exceeds those who believe the opposite – 53 (39 percent)

in favour and 25 (18.4 percent) against. It ought to be

mentioned that all public administration reform strategies

in the region include the elements of human resources

management, which means that its activities are tied to the

realization of strategic goals by state administration.

We also checked to see whether state administrations employ


Table 19: Orientation on the people on top positions

Orientation Albania BiH Montenegro Croatia


(UN 1244)




Yes 10 10 17 11 5 4 11 68

No 7 5 12 17 11 7 10 69

Total 17 15 29 28 16 11 21 137


Table 20: The strategy of the development of top personnel

Strategy Albania BiH Montenegro Croatia


(UN 1244)




Yes 11 5 11 19 6 1 8 61

No 6 11 15 9 10 10 13 74

Total 17 16 26 28 16 11 22 135


several basic elements of human resources management: task

analysis, the use of human potential, appraisal, appropriate

remuneration and career advancement systems. Some 75

respondents (53.6 percent) think that task analysis in their

organizations is conducted in line with modern techniques

(statement no. 13). 11 The respondents are undecided regarding

the use of human potential (statement no. 14). More think it

has been reduced to formalities (42) than those who don’t (39).

However, most of them could not give a clear answer (58).

The situation with the remuneration system and career

advancement system is not good. As many as 50.7 percent

i.e. 70 respondents think that performance appraisals,

which should be the basis of the civil servants’ system 12 , are

merely formal and that the grades have weak influence on

salaries and career advancement (statement no. 16). The

number of respondents who believe that the remuneration

and career advancement systems are stimulating and

encourage the development of the best civil servants is

smaller than of those who claim the opposite - 46 to 54.

Moderate agreement with the statement is reported by 37

respondents, and five (5) give no opinion.


Some interviewees warn that the results of task analysis are adapted to

the wishes of whoever is in charge and do not always reflect the real situation

because it is not in the interest of some powerful actors.


There are three subsystems of the civil servants’ system: classification

system (of positions or civil servants); career advancement system; and remuneration


The development of institutions for civil servants’ in-service

training must be mentioned within human resources

management practices. Such institutions have already

been established in some of the countries in the region as

autonomous organizations or part of the other administrative

organizations. In Albania, Kosovo (UN 1244), and Croatia, inservice

training is conducted by the institutes or in-service

training centres, while in Montenegro, (FYRO) Macedonia,

and Serbia this is done by central HRM organizations.

Furthermore, in some countries they have begun planning

the activities and measures for attracting and retaining the

best people, or such planning is about to begin. (FYRO)

Macedonia adopted the Policy of Attracting and Retaining

Young Educated Personnel in the Civil Service in 2007, and

Serbia is planning to do the same.

g) The development of high-ranking civil servants. In order

to depoliticize and professionalize state administration, the

skills of top administrative personnel must be developed.

Respondents had to estimate whether high-ranking personnel

receive enough attention (Table 19), and whether there is an

educational or some other formative strategy for top positions

(Table 20). They were offered five additional statements. The

results related to these statements are shown in Table 21.

The answers reveal that the countries in the region

can be divided into four groups. Albania is alone in the


Table 21: Top administrative personnel - grouped results

Statement Weak agreement Medium agreement Strong agreement


1+2 % 3 % 4+5 %


1. 64 46.7 41 29.9 32 23.4 137

2. 61 43.6 41 29.3 38 27.1 140

3. 21 15.0 40 28.6 79 56.4 140

4. 49 35.3 45 32.4 45 32.4 139

5. 46 35.4 54 41.5 30 23.1 130

first group, since most respondents there think that top

administrative personnel receive sufficient attention and

that there is an appropriate strategy for developing the skills

of top administrative professionals.

Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro belong to the

second group, where the majority of respondents believe

that key administrative personnel get enough attention,

but that there is no strategy to help form a group of top

administrative professionals.

Croatia is alone in the third group. Respondents there think

that top administrative professionals do not receive enough

attention, despite the existing development strategy.

Kosovo (UN 1244) and (FYRO) Macedonia are in the fourth

group. Respondents in these two countries think that

top administrative professionals do not receive sufficient

attention, and there is no development strategy for them.

Serbia is somewhere between the second and fourth

categories. According to respondents, there is no appropriate

strategy for developing the skills of top personnel. It is

impossible to establish what respondents think about the

level of attention given to top administrative personnel,

because their answers were divided (11 and 10).

Most respondent believe that top administrative professionals

are in high positions because they are well motivated

individuals (statement no. 3). This is the opinion of 79

respondents, i.e. 56.4 percent. According to 64 respondents

(46.7 percent), top officials are key for the efficient

functioning of administrative organizations (statement

no. 1). Unfortunately, 61 respondents (43.6 percent) think

that three are no objective selection methods for people

to advance to top positions (statement no. 2). Only 38

respondents (27.1 percent) believe that objective selection

procedures exist. Respondents didn’t come down firmly

as to whether politicians (statement no. 4) give sufficient

support and respect to top professionals. Finally, only 30

respondents (23.1 percent) support the statement (no. 5)

that top professional administrative positions are taken by

people outside administrative organizations, i.e. from the

private and civil sectors and international organizations. It

is an indicator that top administrative professionals are to a

significant extent recruited from among civil servants.

Some interviewees emphasized that top officials do not

always possess sufficient expertise and that, simultaneously,

the top level tends to be strongly politicized. Politically

motivated dismissals from top positions are not rare at all.

h) Unionization. Guaranteed by international agreements

and the International Labour Organization, trade unions

seem to be on the whole quite weak. Interview questions

touched on the subject of unionization. Some trade unions

do exist, but their real influence is “minimal or insufficient

for strengthening key rights of civil servants” or “they exist

on pro forma basis only” (quoted from some interviews).

However, trade unions occasionally play an important role

in collective bargaining over work conditions, additional

benefits, or some element of salaries.

i) Suggestions. Finally, respondents were asked to rank

some measures that could more effectively attract and retain

the best people in civil service. We made 13 suggestions and


Table 22: Suggestions for how to effectively attract and retain the best people in civil service


First choice

(rank 1)

Second choice

(rank 2)

Third choice

(rank 3)

Fourth choice

(rank 4)

Fifth choice

(rank 5)

Recruitment 4 9 5 6 7 31

Decentralization 9 5 1 2 3 20

Centralization 10 7 1 2 - 20

Foreign experts 2 3 4 7 5 21

Domestic experts 5 5 12 4 5 31

Education 14 10 13 9 11 57

Other countries 6 8 5 5 7 31

Proactive attitude 11 8 11 13 9 52

Work conditions 2 11 11 11 11 46

Better salaries 27 13 17 16 11 84

Payment by results 13 13 12 17 13 68

Non-discrimination 24 15 12 10 11 72

Ethics 5 9 9 10 10 43

Other - 1 - - 1 2

Total 132 117 113 112 104 578


respondents could add their own. The results of the first five

choices are shown in Table 22.

Most respondents ranked ‘better salaries’ as one of their top

responses. Some 27 respondents ranked it first; 13 ranked it

second; 17 ranked it third, 16 ranked it fourth, and 11 ranked

it fifth. The total number of respondents who chose it as one

of their first five choices (rank 1-5) is 84.

Non-discrimination in recruitment procedures (including

political, national, family, or other relations) is chosen

as the most important solution by 24 respondents. The

following 15 respondents think that non-discrimination

is second most important solution, 12 see it as the third

most important, 10 as the fourth, and 11 as the fifth

most important solution. This solution is among first five

choices (rank 1-5) of 72 respondents.

The next two solutions in order of importance are the

creation of new educational programmes at university

and college institutions that would specialize in human

resources management and the introduction of resultbased

salaries. Educational programmes received only

one more vote (14 to 13), while pay for performance was

better ranked as a second choice (13 to 10). Educational

programmes were more numerous as third choice (13 to

12), while result-based salaries were more often selected as

fourth and fifth choices. (17 to 9 and 13 to 11, respectively).

Pay for performance was more often chosen among first five

choices than education (68 to 57).

Additional three suggestions got a significant number of

votes – the creation of proactive work attitude and cohesive

organizational culture (52 among first five choices), better

working conditions (46), and the strengthening of ethical

standards (43). 13


Additional proposals are, “to convince the managers that it is important to

have satisfied staff” (rank 2), and “to fully acknowledge tasks that have been

completed well” (rank 5).


5. Analysis

The research findings suggest that the state of human

resources management is very complex. The possibilities

for designing and realizing improvements in human

resources management as well as the problems with,

and obstacles to, such improvements have become clear

through the research materials. Special attention should be

paid to those obstacles that reflect deep-seated problems

in public administrations. It is obvious that such problems

cannot be solved easily. Bright spots do exist, but they

can be easily lost given the many serious difficulties and

problems. Furthermore, the situation is unstable. Each crisis

can cause not only interruptions but also regressions in the

development of human resources management.

Only through careful analysis can people arrive at solutions

that have a chance for success. Of course, even a slow

development of human resources management can result in

improvements, but without carefully planned and coherent

measures, the improvements will be suboptimal.

The main problems

Many problems exist, but the following ones should be


a) Politicization. The survey research has concluded that

politicization is still present in state administration. The

following speaks in support of such a conclusion:42.5

percent of respondents agree with the statement that there

exists huge political influence in recruitment; 46.8 percent of

them strongly agree with the statement that political actors

could affect whether public servants retain their posts;

Political values are highly esteemed (second rank); Some

42.4 percent disagreed with the statement that politics is

serving to professionalize public administration not only

formally but also on the practical level; Some 43.6 percent

disagreed with the statement that there are transparent

procedures for advancement to top positions; Respondents

ranked very highly the need to prevent discrimination in

recruitment (It was the second ranked proposal for improving

human resources management); Many answers during the

interviews indicated that there was a lot of politicization.

However, the results also indicate that politicization is

not as widespread as one would expect. Respondents

only indicated weak agreement with statements on

politicization. Therefore one should employ caution when

drawing conclusions. The fact that many ranked very highly

the need to prevent discrimination in recruitment indicates

that respondents have exercised a degree of caution when

answering perhaps due to the comparative nature of the

research .

b) Corruption. Although corruption was not the main theme

of the research, the answers to one question have revealed

that corruption is one of the factors that inhibits progress

on human resources management. This is the opinion of 68

respondents (48.6 percent). At the same time, only 30 (21.4

percent) consider corruption as not so serious a problem,

while further 42 respondents (30 percent) view corruption as

a problem of moderate importance. The reported prevalence

of corruption likely explains why higher ethical standards

were ranked seventh among 13 solutions to the challenges

of implementing human resources management.

c) Weak attraction of public service. The results

confirmed the assumption made prior to the survey that

competiveness in the public service is weak. According to

respondents, international organizations and the private

sector attract the best people (91.4 percent, and 60 percent

of the answers, respectively). Civil sector, non-governmental

organizations and citizens’ associations are in third place

(37.2 percent), but still come before public administration.

Public administration does no attract young people (37.2

percent), and it has much smaller chances of retaining

quality public servants are (77.3 percent). Probable reasons

for such a situation lie in the other sectors’ higher salaries,

better chances for advancement, attractive entry-level

positions for young professionals, opportunities to travel

abroad, and chances to make international contacts. The

poor image of public administration in the media, combined

with the state sector’s inability to present successful projects

and the advantages of public service, add to its weak ability

to attract the best and the brightest. At the same time, those

administrative organizations that are more active in these

areas have better success at attracting the best professionals.

d) One-way movement of the best people. Although the

movement of quality personnel from one sector to another


is not undesirable, it is problematic when this movement

is unidirectional. Many professionals move from public

administration to other sectors, while movement in the

reverse is the exception. This does not mean that all quality

professionals leave public administration. What motivates

them not to leave public administration is uncertainty,

the sometimes short-term nature of jobs in other sectors,

and – conversely – certainty, regular salaries, and the

possibility to retire from public administration. Given that

movement between the sectors contributes to experiential

learning, it seems that public administration is losing

knowledge, skills and experience, and it cannot benefit

from the knowledge, skills |and experience learned in other

sectors. In a way, these processes impoverish the countries

in the region. Movement seems to be medium to high

(48.2 percent of respondents perceive it as medium, 39.4

percent as high, and 12.4 percent as low; statement no. 7,

Table 16). Movement that is more intensive could be more

beneficial, but it must be multi-directional, benefitting the

public sector as well.

e) Inappropriate educational preparation for public

service and weak contacts with the academic

community. In order to be fully professional, public

administration needs to employ people who have not

only the right knowledge and skills, but also possess

the right attitude towards serving the public interest.

Many new educational programmes intended for those

purposes have been designed in the region. Some

survey respondents acknowledged the existence of these

programmes. However, such educational programmes

are not yet recognized as the most important source of

young professionals for public administration. Instead,

respondents reported that law studies or other similar

programmes at public universities are more desirable.

Respondents rated these programmes’ level of adaptation to

the needs of public administration as average or very good.

Although respondents reported that young graduates have

good or even very good knowledge and skills necessary for

public service, a more direct statement (statement no. 13,

Table 7) reveals a more mixed picture. Overall, such answers

show that in the region the administrative profession is not

considered to be different from that of law, economics,

or other classical professions. In other parts of the world

public administration is viewed as a distinct profession.

In the region, professional schools prepare people for their

specific areas, not for public administration. Consequently,

their study programmes are not, and cannot be, adapted to

the needs of young professionals in public administration.

Although efforts have been taken to adapt programmes,

the region has had difficulties in acquiring the best

educational standards found in developed countries.

Assessments of the participation of practitioners in

teaching activities and of the practice of co-financing

public administration studies reveal that there are only

weak ties between human resources management units

and the educational community. The dominant grade

in both cases is good (C) and the second one (only)

sufficient (D). Even the fact that a relatively high number

of respondents refrained from answering the question

about public administration education illustrates that

contact between practice and universities exists, but is not

sufficient. Both sides seem to be responsible for this. As

the survey responses have shown, educational institutions

do not engage a sufficient number of practitioners. At

the same time, public administration does not share its

needs, expectations and financial support with educational


For their part, private educational institutions - which

are more flexible with programming and more oriented

towards the needs of the labour market - are not, generally

speaking, able to compete with the public sector, even

though the public education sector has many serious

weaknesses. (They adapt their study programmes only

slowly to the needs of the labour market, they lack an

interdisciplinary approach, they are self-focused and they

adhere excessively to a basic educational curriculum.)

f) Public interest a low priority for respondents. It was

shocking to find that only 4 respondents (2.8 percent)

reported that work in the public interest was the most

important factor attracting them to public service. One

would expect that higher-level public servants would also

be motivated to work for the public interest. Serving the

public good was listed as the second reason for working in

public administration by only one respondent, and as the

third by 13 respondents. The possibility to travel abroad was

reported to be an equally (low) motivating factor. However,


the fact that some 80.3 percent respondents said that the

interests of citizens and businesses (which are really at the

heart of the public interest) should be a first priority for

public servants, is cause for some optimism.

g) A formal and legal approach to human resources

management. Such a finding should not be a surprise,

given that two thirds of respondents were lawyers.

However, that can be an obstacle to the development of a

new integral and proactive human resources management

approach. Certain answers underscore this. A significant

share of respondents agreed with the statements that

human resources management is still characterized by an

old bureaucratic approach (39.1 percent), and that the old

approach presented in former personnel units has not yet

changed (40.4 percent).

Respondents expressed a faith in the omnipotence of

legal norms. This was reflected in the fact that legal values

were listed in first place more than any other value type.

The belief that relatively well-done human resources

management regulations will somehow, all by themselves,

produce significant positive effects, is extremely

widespread. Although legal norms are not unimportant,

such optimism is not firmly grounded in reality.

Even lawyers that dominate in the research sample are

aware of the limitations of the formal-legal approach,

as well as of the difference between the old approach of

personnel service and the new, managerial approach to

human resources. No less than 51.1 percent of respondents

view such a difference as significant. That difference should

be stressed even more in subsequent human resources

management practices in the region. Ensuring legality

and fair recruitment procedures is a necessary, but not

a sufficient, precondition for active and integral human

resources management and for changes in education,

expertise of public servants, their ethical standards,

organizational culture and motivation.

h) Underdeveloped human resources management

practice. Despite relatively encouraging initial results,

many issues are still missing in current human resources

management practice. There is no firm connection between

human resources management units (and servants) and

the academic community. A proactive policy towards

young people does not exist in any consistent manner. It

seems reasonable to bind young people to public service

through scholarships that require them to work in public

administration for a number of years after their studies.

A similar situation can be observed vis à vis experienced

people - there is no effort to bind them to an administrative

organization after giving them specific training. Other

shortcomings are: media campaigns for attracting the best

people are not carried out; being motivated by service to

the public interest is not stressed enough; efforts to change

the organizational culture are not consistent enough;

more attention is paid to human resources management

procedures than to results; advancement and remuneration

systems do not sufficiently take into account work results,

expertise, and dedication; overall results are moderate

(see the statement no. 5, Table 18). Many public servants

in human resources management units are still engaged

in personnel administration tasks (such as writing

administrative acts and record keeping). That is why it can be

said that the number of public servants engaged in human

resources management positions is still insufficient. Some

interviewees report that the strategic goals of administrative

organizations are still not formally established or known, or

that they are still under development, causing very weak

coherence of human resources management activities with

those goals (underdeveloped strategic human resources

management). Respondents themselves have assessed

strategic human resources management a bit more

positively: 39 percent of them agree with the statement

(no. 11, Table 18) that human resources management is

well balanced with the strategic goals of their respective

administrative organizations, while only 18.4 percent assess

the situation as otherwise.

i) Insufficient and simplified knowledge of human

resources management. The results indicate that a new,

proactive human resources management approach which

includes the development of employee potential, is not yet

well known. What results is an oversimplified interpretation

of some elements of human resources management. This

is an important fact that sheds light on certain responses

collected in the research: Respondents neglect the

importance of intrinsic motivation; it is recognized as

important by only one third of them; the critical importance


of quality professionals in managerial positions to bolster

the work culture of the public administration is sometimes

not seen as important; salary is seen as the most important

motivational factor in public administration; the importance

of receiving an education in public administration and

upgrading one’s skills through study programmes in public

administration is not recognized, etc.

j) Search for the simplest solutions. Resorting to simple

solutions is among the important problems. A typical

example is respondents’ faith in the perceived miraculous

effects of better salaries. Based on survey responses, one

can conclude that higher salaries would erase all other

problems. To prepare a good law on salaries and to pass it

in parliament might seem to be a simple task. However,

associated problems should also be taken into account.

First, the decision to raise salaries is in the hands of

politicians, who are also disposed to simple solutions. Thus,

they might consider cutting the number of public servants

as a way to offset the cost of higher salaries. Alternatively,

they might not see the rationale for raising their salaries,

because they view public servants as not terribly diligent,

interested or capable people.

Another question is, what salary increase would make public

service more attractive, retain the best public servants, and

motivate them to work harder and in the public interest? Is

10 or 20 percent sufficient? Perhaps 50 percent? Is there any

chance that such an increase would be approved? Would

the wider community support such an increase in public

servants’ salaries? Would any salary serve to motivate people

and attract excellent administrative experts? Would it attract

people from various other professions instead of just those

from the administrative sciences?

It seems that such relatively simple solutions are not so

simple after all. It is unlikely they would solve the problem,

if implemented as isolated measures. Rather, they should be

used as one aspect of a larger undertaking to find a coherent

and more complex solution. It should be added that even

public servants, the respondents within the project, see

a weak correlation between salaries and job results (52.1

percent of them; statement no. 7, Table 9). The respondents

favour a remuneration system that links salaries to results.

They see this as the fourth important solution for improving

the current situation (Table 22).

Positive elements

The positive aspects of the current situation are the following:

a) Recognition of the problems and their causes.

The very first step towards solving certain problems is

recognizing them and understanding their causes. The

respondents are generally able to identify the external

and internal problems that influence the ability of public

administration to attract and retain the best people.

They have clearly detected politicization and corruption

within public service, low competitiveness, the need for

appropriate and specialized administrative education

and life-long learning, the relatively weak support of

politicians for human resources management, and their

limited knowledge of it. Such honest responses are

important for finding appropriate solutions.

b) Recognition of importance of administrative

education and professional training of administrative

personnel. Relatively high positioning of administrative

education and professional training (came third in rank),

when examining the human resources management

areas that require further improvement, is a solid ground

for more intense future engagement of human resources

management departments and civil servants. What is

also positive is criticism on the part of interviewees with

regard to the current state of the educational systems

in the region - there is no possibility for improvement

without criticism; it can be the beginning of cooperation

between public administration and educational

institutions. Responsibility is on both sides. One warning

and important limitation of such cooperation has been

reported in the interviews: there is a lack of readiness to

invest sufficient financial resources into the development

of quality study programmes and professional training.

c) Recognition of the advantages of employment in

public administration. The main advantages of public

service are employment security, regular salary, favourable

work hours, and professional development. Job security is

of special importance, especially in the periods of economic


insecurity and crisis. Some 49.6 percent of respondent found

that economic insecurity has served to attract as well as

retain people, at least in the view of some of the experienced

people (statement no. 6, Table 16). The impression is that

such advantages are not sufficiently stressed in the current

human resources management practice or that they are

underestimated when simply comparing public sector salary

levels with those offered by international organizations or

private sector companies.

d) Solid legal regulation. An appropriate legal

regulation is a precondition for change. Respondents

are ready to evaluate legal regulation of recruitment

and human resources management. No fewer than

73.6 percent of them consider legal regulation of

recruitment as appropriate (statement no. 1, Table

7). In addition, 48.9 percent of them consider legal

regulation of human resources management in general

as appropriate (statement no. 12, Table 18). However,

it seems that legal regulation of advancement and

remuneration is not as well developed. In fact, it may

be the main cause of weaknesses in the system of

advancement and remuneration, or at least one cause.

Survey respondents highly regarded the proposal that

salaries should be correlated with work results, not with

formal education or work experience or both (Table 22).

Certain interviewees warned about a lack of coordination

between human resources management institutions and

the institutions and departments that are responsibile

for the preparation of legal regulations. Furthermore,

interviewees indicated that such a lack of coordination

undermines the coherence of legal regulations with

modern human resources management goals and


e) Legal security in public service. Some of the

prerequisites for additional human resources

development and human resources management

measures are connected with solving job security

problems and ensuring the appropriate legal protection

of public servants’ rights. It is a basic prerequisite for

further improvement. It enables the development

of human resources management in spite of certain

unfavourable circumstances (politicization and

corruption). No less than 56.7 percent of respondents

believe that public servants perceive themselves to be

well protected legally, while only 9.2 percent of them are

of the opposite opinion (statement no. 6, Table 15). In

addition, it is impossible to ignore that some respondents

think that legal and fair recruitment procedure do

exist (47.1 percent), that public announcements are

published in well-chosen media (90.6), and that court

protection of legality during recruitment procedures

is solid (48.9 percent) (statements 2, 5, and 10; Table

7). Similarly, no less than 55.3 percent of respondents

view the position of public servants to be very secure

(statement no. 4, Table 9).

f ) Good understanding of the new approach.

Respondents are of opinion that public servants in

human resources management departments understand

new work techniques and are well educated in human

resources management issues. Interviewed managers

agreed with this assessment. They also warn that

politicians are not familiar with the human resources

management concept and are not interested in it.

Respondents could clearly see the difference between

the previous personnel administration approach and the

new, managerial approach (51.1 percent) (statements

9 and 10, Table 18). However, the need for further

education still exists. Thus, the proposals for engaging

foreign and domestic human resources management

experts and taking study trips abroad have been chosen

83 times among the first five choices (i.e. among

the proposals ranked from 1 to 5). After the general

characteristics of the human resources management

approach have become more or less well known,

further attention should be paid to education on certain

elements of human resources management.

g) Good preliminary results from implementation

of human resources management. A wide range of

answers has shown that human resources management

practice is on the right track. Education of public

servants to make them competent in human resources

management has had positive results. Departments of

human resources management have been established

and public servants are being recruited for the new tasks

(exceptions still exist). Respondents report that job

analysis has been relatively well done (53.6 percent).


Appraisal systems have been upgraded in certain cases

by introducing performance indicators. There is an

initial professional training for work by the new public

servants (53.6 percent). Generally, new recruitment

techniques and methods have generated positive results

(56.8 percent). 14

h) Good general work orientation, expertise and

motivation. Respondents see public service as a job

that is critical for the wider social community, for

citizens and for the country as a whole (no less than

88.7 percent; question no. 5, Table 9). Work attitudes

seem relatively favourable (although we might have

certain concerns about the methodology of such a

self-assessment). A large number of respondents

report work attitude as professional and proactive (57.7

percent, Table 11). Also, no less than 70.2 percent of

respondents believe that public servants work according

to professional standards regardless of political or other

pressures and that they would work better without

an increase in salary if only others would pay more

attention to them and recognize their value (48.9

percent). Public servants are not disappointed by their

organizational role and chances to influence the wellbeing

of a country; 42.8 percent of respondents mildly

agreed with the statement that they are disappointed,

but 38.4 percent of them disagree (statements nos. 4,

3, and 2, Table 15).

i) Stress on softer but more productive measures

in the long-term. Three proposals for improving

human resources management gained respondents’

support, along with increased salaries and prevention

of discrimination. They are the development of

administrative education, the creation of a proactive job

attitude and cohesive organizational structure, and the

strengthening of ethical standards (Table 22). Even the

proposal to correlate salaries with results - a measure

that respondents ranked fourth among the proposals

- reflects the desire to strengthen equity (not only

to increase remuneration). By making such a choice,

respondents have demonstrated their understanding

of the real conditions of public administration - a

characteristic that is frequently missing among

the people who decide on questions of public

administration, and among those who have contact

with it, as users of public services.

6. Recommendations

for improvement

Because of the complexity of the situation and the

multifaceted nature of the problem, a systemic solution

will be required that takes into account a sufficient

number of elements of the current situation and ensures

simultaneous improvement in practically all of them.

A list of recommendations and measures, presented

in Table 23, can be proposed, based on best practices,

identified problems, and research findings.

Each country has to find its own solutions that will fit

its national circumstances and be consistent with its

achievements thus far. These general recommendations

may serve as an inspiration as well as a checklist for

possible measures to be taken, as ways of approaching

these issues, and finding good solutions to the

challenges described above.


TAnswers to a similar statement (no. 5 from Table 18) resulted in a

large number of respondents who were indecisive in assessing the positive

effects of new human resources management practices, while the

number of those who did not see, and those who did see, the positive

effects on the quality of new public servants (recruited after the new human

resources management practice had been started), their motivation

level and morale remains similar.


Table 23: Recommendations and measures for attracting and retaining the best people in public service

1. Legal regulation

• To consider a possibility of a uniform regulation of the legal status of all public servants, so as to lessen the differences in

legal regulation within the public sector (state administration, local and regional self-government, public services)

• To establish a strong cooperation between the central institutions involved in human resources management and the institutions

(departments) responsible for preparing the relevant regulations

• To prepare a detailed impact assessment for each new regulation that affects human resources

• To inform people about the need to pass new, or amend existing, regulations that affect human resources management,

based on an impact assessment of existing regulations

2. 2 Collaborate with quality public administration educational, professional,

and research institutions, regardless of who owns them

• To co-finance public administration educational programmes

• To require the development of specialized educational programmes for various specialities, job types, and specific purposes

• To supply practitioners who could teach at educational institutions

• To organize internships for students in public administration

• To ensure the participation of educational, professional and research institutions in the training of public servants

• To support cooperation with research institutions, including co-financing research needed for the development of human

resources management

• To cooperate firmly with professional organizations (co-publishing, co-organizing training and conferences, etc.)

3. Development of civil service systems


• Career systems should adopt certain elements of the position system (at least the job classification system), to strengthen

the results orientation

• To ensure the appropriate ratio between the lowest and highest salaries for professionals in public administration; the ratio

should be as wide as possible

• To ensure equity in remuneration (to avoid equal salaries for unequal work)

• Advancement systems should provide opportunities for rising to higher positions or gaining merit-based bonuses, especially

when there are not enough higher positions available

• Performance evaluation should be entrusted to colleagues of the same or higher level (peer review) or with bodies whose

members are public servants and external independent experts

4. Strengthening the merit system

• To introduce entrance exams, although such exams should not exclude certain subsequent exams after an initial period of

intensive practical preparation of young or new public servants

• To introduce the licensing of public servants for certain types of more complex professional jobs (for example, autonomous

leading of administrative procedures, regulatory impact assessments, job analyses, etc.)

• To introduce or to improve performance measurement and appraisal systems (qualitative and quantitative performance

indicators should be clear, determined in advance, and as precise as possible)

• To introduce appropriate financial rewards for overachievers and financial cuts for less productive public servants

• To shorten the appraisal period to 3-6 months; shorter appraisal periods should be introduced for public servants who serve

less than three years. Public servants who have one year remaining before retirement should be excluded

• To enact the obligation to present arguments for appraisal, particularly by commenting on the performance indicators

determined in advance

• Favourable appraisal should be connected not only with achievement, but also with certain minimal points for professional

training efforts

• To use performance-related pay to a reasonable degree

• Pay grades in public administration should be correlated with pay grades in other sectors; to ensure equal salary for young

public servants with MA degrees in the public and business sectors

• Advancement system should take into account performance results and professional training efforts (to determine minimal

points for advancement to each level)

5. Professional training and life-long learning

• To introduce point-systems encompassing all forms of professional training

• To introduce licensing for all forms of professional training

• To send groups of the most promising public servants abroad, to practice in different public administrations, and oblige

them to write reports about such study tours

• To encourage as many public servants as possible to undergo forms of professional training, always with the obligation to

write reports about the acquired knowledge and skills

• To publish various documents (newsletters, reports about certain professional issues, brochures, professional journals, etc.),

even in co-publishing with institutions outside state administration

• To engage experts from public administration and external experts (think tanks, universities), and foreign experts, to find the

best human resources management practices; to promote and implement such practices in state and public administration


6. HRM improvements

• To educate public servants working in human resources management and human resources development departments

about their respective responsibilities, as well as all other managers and public servants

• To complete the organizational development of the HRM system: it should consist of a central institution or department in

the central institution and departments or public servants in all administrative organizations within the state administration

system, along with sound vertical and horizontal coordination mechanisms

• To improve professional training efficiency in order not to spend too much work time; distance learning should be used, also

• To employ modern information and communication technologies broadly, for better accessibility and democratisation of

all human resources practices

• To establish and carefully manage the central register of public servants, with all necessary data and notices about their

possibilities for personal development, interests, and other characteristics relevant for human resources management

• To make objective and thorough job analysis, having independent experts engaged in such an endeavour or at least to use

their verification of methods and job analysis results

• To use job analysis results for the rationalization of internal organizational structure; such results should be professionally

evaluated by a body consisting of internal as well as independent experts

• To engage independent experts more frequently (for example, to evaluate results, to establish methods and procedures,

to participate in commissions for recruitment of top managers, to participate in exam and licensing commissions, etc.)

• To engage external organizations for certain human resources management activities and procedures (exams and licensing

in professional organizations and universities, etc.)

7. Public service media promotion

• To design a communication strategy that stresses the advantages of public service

• To engage professionals to design the best advertisements

• To advertise and pay media campaigns

• To publish brochures with basic information about the organization, functioning, and competences of public administration

bodies, and to make such brochures accessible in public administration bodies and at frequently visited places outside

public administration bodies

• To supply the media with information about successful reform projects, achievements, current problems, and other

important issues (through mailing lists, etc.)

8. Active policy of attracting highly educated young professionals


• Through scholarships, to support a limited number of top students, especially those who are studying public administration

• To establish close contacts with educational institutions (annual meetings, professional networking, etc.)

• To monitor at least 5-10 percent of the best students, contact them, and find appropriate positions for them, and motivate

them to apply for jobs in public administration (head hunting)

• To participate in job fairs, in order to provide solid information to potential candidates in a more direct manner

• To monitor students during their internships, in order to motivate them to apply for jobs in public administration after graduation

• To cover part of the cost of education in the home country or abroad (for example, to co-finance one semester of studies

abroad via student exchange programmes)

• To cover the costs of additional education (learning foreign languages, computer skills, driving licences, etc.)

• To help employees purchase their own homes (for example, by co-financing part of the interest expense, by providing loan

guarantees, or by co-financing part of the purchasing price of houses or flats. .)

• To design specific training programmes adapted to individual needs and future career advancement

• To retain the best young people by signing contracts with them, especially when the public administration provided them

with scholarships or housing mortgage support

9. Measures for retaining quality and experienced personnel

• To pay additional money for their health and retirement insurance

• To motivate them to act as professional trainers, authors of brochures, etc.

• To extend appraisal periods for the best assessed public servants

• To ensure study stays abroad for three to six months

• To entrust them with the preparation of new regulations and regulatory impact assessments

• To introduce non-monetary forms of remuneration

(for example, annual professional awards for the best public servants, as judged by independent experts)

• To ensure annual financial bonuses for 10 percent, i.e. the best public servants (the thirteenth salary)

• To award loyalty to public service (occasional monetary rewards and recognition for continuous public service after every five years)

10. Building proactive attitude and cohesive organizational culture

• To organize monthly meetings of middle-level managers (for example, department heads) with public servants,

in order to analyse people’s dedication to their work

• To strengthen disciplinary responsibility and to introduce harsher disciplinary policy

• To introduce a day of common learning at work, once every month, within each department

• To organize a day when citizens have open access to administrative organizations, at least once a year

• To regularly consult civil servants about the organization of work and relations with citizens


11. Public servants’ organization into professional associations

• To give strong support to organizing public servants into professional associations

(for example, institutes of public administration, etc.)

• To ensure opportunities for organizing into trade unions

12. Depoliticization

• To make more use of political advisers to ministers but, in addition, make permanent the appointment

of managerial civil servants

• To reduce the number of political appointees in public administration

• To ensure effective mechanisms for protection against political influence (for example, to establish depoliticization

committees, which can consist of citizen representatives and independent experts, and be competent to react

in cases of anonymous complaints about illegal forms of politicization)

• To encourage public debate about depoliticization in the media

• To collect information about the cases of excessive political influence and to report such cases regularly to the government,

parliament, and the media, on an annual basis

13. Widening the space for active personnel policy

• Taking care of redundant public servants during reorganizations, without their automatic re-employment,

in order to create opportunities to recruit quality new people

• To use more flexible labour arrangements more frequently and in many more cases

(limited-term public service, work contracts, etc.)

• To shorten the period between an unsatisfactory performance review and employment termination from two years to one

year – at most

• To remove obstacles to repositioning and relocating public servants in line with the needs of public service,

with all guarantees of fair procedure and legal protection

14. Planning

• To plan for specific activities and measures of human resources management and human resources development in line

with specific national circumstances

• To make plans that cover various aspects of administrative personnel especially the need for necessary profiles of people,

scholarships, recruitment, professional training and life-long learning, re-education, etc.


7. Conclusions and proposals

During the research process, participants from all countries

in the region have been highly cooperative and willing

to contribute their own knowledge and experience

in the search for solutions to the challenges of public

administration reform. The problem is significant, and it

causes dissatisfaction among the public and among public

servants themselves. A wide range of activities are necessary

for solving the problems outlined here.

Questionnaires and interviews have enabled the research

team to gather a large amount of quantitative and qualitative

data that have been processed, described and interpreted in

this research report. General recommendations have been

formulated based on the research results, best practices in

the region, and in the wider European space. They can serve

as a source of concrete ideas for practitioners in the region.

However, nothing can substitute for the dedication and

creativity of good practitioners. It is a challenge to them, to

continue dealing with the problems and to solving them.

The project offers a few suggestions for the way forward.

First, the analysis could be continued on certain issues

that have already been treated in this research, to

get deeper and more precise insights. Then, model

templates of certain documents (for example, a plan for

scholarships, a professional training plan, a point system

for professional training, advancement scales, appraisal

procedures, etc.) could be drafted. Finally, workshops

and interactive work could be continued on certain

issues connected with the research both on the national

and regional levels.

The project has shown all the advantages of systematic

approach to human resources management problems,

which include the problem of attracting and retaining

the best people in public administration. This systematic

approach also has the capacity to encompass the

narrower, motivational approach successfully. Finally,

the project has enabled the further strengthening of a

learning community and has shown that cooperation in

the region is not only possible, but also necessary.


UNDP Bosnia and Herzegovina

Maršala Tita 48

71000 Sarajevo

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Tel: +387 (33) 563 800, 563 801

Fax: +387 (33) 552 330

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