The purpose of this paper is to examine the nature and role of the politico‐administrative institutions on career development in the Greek state employment. It attempts to achieve this by exploring the extent to which such institutions are still fitted within the Napoleonic and Weberian traditions and how these may affect the policy implementation of career progression within one public organisation in Greece.
The study takes an interpretivist inductive perspective and its nature is qualitative with an exploratory and explanatory aim. It adopts a case‐study strategy and data were collected through documentary evidence, structured questionnaires and semi‐structured interviews with key informants.
The emerging career model in the Greek public sector is still embedded within a highly bureaucratic yet clientelistic system. It frequently overlaps with employment due to external institutional influences and though being bureaucratic thus objective at national level it is political manifested thus subjective at organisational level. Objective careers have by no means disappeared while subjective careers are seen as a political vehicle for inter‐organisational advancement.
Despite the in‐depth and rich qualitative analysis of this study further case‐examples are required in similar national and industrial contexts.
The study provides a useful real‐life practical example on the interlocking of career progression and political clientelism in a national context in which politico‐administrative mechanisms have traditionally oiled the wheels of the civil society.
The paper adds to the limited body of scientific and academic debate engaging with public sector management issues and the emerging state career models in European Mediterranean countries. It also contributes to the impartial knowledge on the traditional career mechanisms, underpinned by a relational psychological contract, that have long been an implicit feature of state employment in bureaucratic public sector organisations.
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