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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2006

Ingrid Willems, Ria Janvier and Erik Henderickx

This research paper analyses the extent to which national systems are following “new pay” trends, or whether there are still traditional features, which reflect the…

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2523

Abstract

Purpose

This research paper analyses the extent to which national systems are following “new pay” trends, or whether there are still traditional features, which reflect the specificity of employment in the public sector and the psychological contracts of public servants.

Design/methodology/approach

The data used in this paper was based on an online survey of six countries and was completed by pay experts in each case.

Findings

Previous comparative research on civil service pay systems has focused mostly on specific aspects of pay but this paper looks at a wide range of pay characteristics. It finds that although there have been changes in pay systems in the six countries studied, the “new pay” model has not been fully adopted and traditional reward systems are still strong, with the exception of Sweden and to a lesser extent the UK and Denmark. This is related to the importance that civil servants attach to their psychological contract in which equity and collectivism remain central values

Originality/value

The paper demonstrates that cultural factors and psychological contracts are important in influencing both practices and attitudes towards change in reward systems across countries and that traditional identities of public service are still evident.

Details

International Journal of Public Sector Management, vol. 19 no. 6
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0951-3558

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 2006

Ian Kessler, Paul Heron and Suzanne Gagnon

The purpose of this article is to evaluate employee perceptions of pay practice in civil service executive agencies in the wake of changes in the established institutions…

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4356

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this article is to evaluate employee perceptions of pay practice in civil service executive agencies in the wake of changes in the established institutions of pay determination.

Design/methodology/approach

A survey design drawing original data from 1,057 civil servants, all members of the IPMS (now merged with EMA to form Prospectus), the union representing scientific, technical and professional occupations in the civil service.

Findings

The study distinguishes four distinctive pay practice systems. Pay satisfaction is found to be positively related to two principles: a clear effort‐reward link and an understanding of pay criteria. However, employees are more satisfied with pay when their organisational pay system accords with traditional rather than newer practices. This suggests that embedded norms continue to exert a powerful influence over employee perceptions of pay.

Research limitations/implications

Whilst the respondent profile accurately reflects those working in the scientific, professional and technical grades (predominantly male, white, full‐time workers), aspects of this profile do not accurately reflect the civil service as a whole.

Practical implications

Old habits “die hard”. A sobering message for those practitioners who readily assume that forced change in pay systems will elicit “desired” employee responses.

Originality/value

Against a backdrop of fundamental changes in the character of pay determination in the civil service, this study presents employee perceptions of pay practices, shows how they combine in ways that reflect a distinct set of pay systems and reveals the impact associated with these systems on attitudes and behaviours.

Details

Personnel Review, vol. 35 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0048-3486

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Article
Publication date: 1 August 2004

Richard L. Bunning

Systems of pay have, appropriately, been the result of the demands of organisational structure. The complex hierarchical organisations of yesteryear were supported by the…

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11691

Abstract

Systems of pay have, appropriately, been the result of the demands of organisational structure. The complex hierarchical organisations of yesteryear were supported by the equally complex “factor analysis” system of pay administration. As organisational structures evolved into flatter, simpler designs, so pay systems became less complex. But now organisations are changing in a very fundamental way. They may appear to have little structure at all. They may just grow to meet the current needs; their structure has become organic. Likewise, pay systems will have to adapt. The author discusses traditional methods of pay for the job, pay for skills and incentives as well as team pay in light of the demands of the organic organisation. Ultimately it appears that pay, as a separate system within HR may disappear altogether. Organisations will move toward attracting, rewarding and retaining their employees through the design of a highly individualised “HR Environment”.

Details

Journal of Management Development, vol. 23 no. 7
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0262-1711

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Article
Publication date: 13 February 2009

Aino Salimäki, Anu Hakonen and Robert L. Heneman

The aim of this study is to find out whether managers can facilitate employee understanding of the pay system through a goal‐setting process. The paper draws from…

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2639

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study is to find out whether managers can facilitate employee understanding of the pay system through a goal‐setting process. The paper draws from Thierry's largely untested Reflection Theory to study employee pay satisfaction.

Design/methodology/approach

Based on the theory, it is posited that managerial goal setting improves employee pay satisfaction through increased employee knowledge and perceived meanings of pay. The hypotheses are tested with survey data from one municipal health care organization.

Findings

The results of the study show that both knowledge and meanings of pay mediate the effects of goal setting on pay satisfaction. The paper finds support for the somewhat distinguishable roles of instrumental and symbolic meanings of pay. The regression analyses show that the former fully mediates the effect of pay level and the latter fully mediates the effect of goal setting on pay satisfaction. Even though the analyses do not provide evidence that common method variance would explain the results, it remains a potential issue.

Research limitations/implications

Future research is needed to establish the dimensionality of meanings – positive as well as negative – a pay system can convey, and to explore the degree to which they can be managed.

Practical implications

The results of the study suggest that organizations can promote their ROI of pay systems by paying attention to the employees' interpretations of messages conveyed by the pay system implementation process. More specifically, the results demonstrate that managers can contribute to employee pay satisfaction via a goal‐setting process that informs employees about the functions of the pay system and use the system to give feedback on the job.

Originality/value

The study provides a unique but preliminary test for Reflection Theory.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 24 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Article
Publication date: 30 March 2010

Aino Salimäki and Sini Jämsén

This paper aims to look into employee perceptions of politics and fairness in a work setting where a new merit pay system had recently been implemented.

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5873

Abstract

Purpose

This paper aims to look into employee perceptions of politics and fairness in a work setting where a new merit pay system had recently been implemented.

Design/methodology/approach

The results are based on employee survey responses from three governmental organizations (n=367) that had implemented analogous merit pay systems.

Findings

Hierarchical moderated regression results indicated that perceptions of politics and fairness distinctively and interactively predicted whether the pay system was perceived effective in achieving its objectives. The results suggest that some forms of politics in performance appraisals (e.g. compression) might be perceived less detrimental than others (e.g. favoritism). In a high politics environment, the pay system effectiveness varied as a function of the level of distributive justice. Voice in the pay system development only mattered in a situation where there was a low level of organizational politics.

Research limitations/implications

One of the main limitations of this study is its reliance on cross‐sectional data. Future research should complement employee perceptions about pay system effectiveness with objective data from the organizations studied. Research on the effect of contextual factors, such as national culture on the motives, in and reactions to, organizational politics, is desired.

Practical implications

The result suggests that the adopted merit pay systems were not ineffective or detrimental per se, but that the effectiveness varied as a function of the established political and fairness climates at different levels of the organization.

Originality/value

This study contributes to the discussion on what are the conditions under which politics and fairness are antithetical, and when they are interactively associated with outcomes.

Details

Journal of Managerial Psychology, vol. 25 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0268-3946

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Article
Publication date: 1 October 2003

Susan Corby, Geoff White, Louise Millward, Elizabeth Meerabeau and Jan Druker

This paper explores the consequences of the introduction by National Health Service (NHS) trusts (i.e. hospitals) of their own pay systems. It is based on case studies of…

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1690

Abstract

This paper explores the consequences of the introduction by National Health Service (NHS) trusts (i.e. hospitals) of their own pay systems. It is based on case studies of ten NHS trusts and involved 73 interview sessions with a variety of stakeholders and the examination of employment data and performance indicators. The research revealed the tensions and countervailing forces inherent in NHS pay: the tension between national and local pay; the tension between simplification and the need to address the different requirements of the many occupational groups in the NHS; the tension between performance pay and feelings of equity; and the tension between equal pay and the traditional pay determination arrangements. These findings are discussed in the context of the proposed new NHS pay system.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 25 no. 5
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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Article
Publication date: 1 February 1999

Cheryl Zobal

Teams have become a popular way to organize business because they offer companies the flexibility needed to meet the demands of the changing business environment. While…

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8012

Abstract

Teams have become a popular way to organize business because they offer companies the flexibility needed to meet the demands of the changing business environment. While many companies have been quick to organize their workforce into teams, they have not been as eager to implement team‐based compensation systems. However, if team‐based organizations continue to utilize old, individually‐oriented pay systems, they will not fully realize the benefit of highly cooperative and motivated work teams. The purpose of this two‐part article is to examine the “ideal” team compensation system. Together, both parts will review the basics of both teams and compensation and then explore the ideal team compensation system from three levels ‐ framework, critical elements, and other, operational considerations. Part I provided information through the ideal team compensation system framework. This article, Part II, looks at the critical elements and other, operational considerations.

Details

Team Performance Management: An International Journal, vol. 5 no. 1
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 1352-7592

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Article
Publication date: 1 January 1983

R.G.B. Fyffe

This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of…

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9912

Abstract

This book is a policy proposal aimed at the democratic left. It is concerned with gradual but radical reform of the socio‐economic system. An integrated policy of industrial and economic democracy, which centres around the establishment of a new sector of employee‐controlled enterprises, is presented. The proposal would retain the mix‐ed economy, but transform it into a much better “mixture”, with increased employee‐power in all sectors. While there is much of enduring value in our liberal western way of life, gross inequalities of wealth and power persist in our society.

Details

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, vol. 3 no. 1/2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0144-333X

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Article
Publication date: 1 June 2003

Richard Belfield and David Marsden

This study uses cross‐section and panel data from the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey to explore contextual influences on the relationship between…

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9685

Abstract

This study uses cross‐section and panel data from the 1998 Workplace Employee Relations Survey to explore contextual influences on the relationship between performance‐related pay (PRP) and organizational performance. While it finds strong evidence that the use of PRP can enhance performance outcomes, it also determines that this relationship is qualified by the structure of workplace monitoring environments. In addition, it presents evidence that managers learn about optimum combinations of pay system and monitoring environment through a process of experimentation. Finally, although there exists a robust positive association in these data between use of PRP and pay inequality, it appears that these higher levels of inequality carry no performance penalty.

Details

International Journal of Manpower, vol. 24 no. 4
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0143-7720

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Article
Publication date: 1 April 2005

Glennis Hanley and Loan Nguyen

The diffusion of performance related pay has attracted considerable academic attention over the past decade. While much contemporary debate has focussed on the excesses of…

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7096

Abstract

Purpose

The diffusion of performance related pay has attracted considerable academic attention over the past decade. While much contemporary debate has focussed on the excesses of executive remuneration at the “big end of town”, what is not so prominent are the views of unions representing employees at the other end of the remuneration spectrum: this is the purpose of this paper.

Design/methodology/approach

Evidence was gathered at two levels using two sets of research instruments: in‐depth interviews with senior union officials, and primary documentation analysis with specific reference to performance appraisal and performance‐related pay clauses in union Enterprise Bargaining Agreements.

Findings

Document analysis reveals that performance appraisal and performance‐related pay clauses range from mere stipulation of existence to detailed processes and principles of design and implementation. Specific clauses in the white‐collar unions’ agreements suggest that they are not totally opposed. However, the lack of performance appraisal and performance‐related pay clauses in the blue‐collar unions’ agreements illustrate their propensity to restrict pay increases to a job classification structure. Although there were clauses that aimed to ensure a performance‐oriented culture, their agreements seem to be mere sentiments. Overall, only one union supports the notion of performance related pay; the others find performance appraisals difficult to embrace. Negative experiences and consequent problems lead them to argue that the process is complicated and usually puts workers at a disadvantage.

Originality/value

Strands of different explanations account for union opposition, but the principal issue is that performance appraisal has only an evaluative function, that is to link performance to pay. To minimise problems in shaping PRP schemes, the unions advocated the integration of a social dimension; transparency and equality.

Details

Employee Relations, vol. 27 no. 2
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0142-5455

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