Human Resource Management

PUAD 834

Fall 2012

Tuesdays, 4:30-7:20 pm


Location:                                Public Management Center – Topeka


Instructor:                              Heather Getha-Taylor, Ph.D.




Office Hours:                         Before or after class; by appointment



This course considers the context and practice of effective human resource management (HRM), with special emphasis on the political, legal, historical, and ethical dimensions of public employment. Students will apply personnel management theories and techniques to contemporary organizational challenges to investigate the tensions inherent to balancing competing values and demands.


Learning Objectives:

At the end of the semester, students should:

1. Understand the historical, political, and legal foundations of personnel administration in the U.S. public sector,

2. Identify key external and internal issues that affect the practice of strategic human resource management,

3. Comprehend core HRM functions and associated values in practicing HRM,

4. Articulate the role of effective human resource management in organizational performance specifically and public service generally,

5. Be prepared to apply scholarly and practitioner resources to contemporary HRM challenges.


Together, these learning objectives are intended to help students build strengths in the four components of the MPA program competency model: Values and Ethics, Strategic Thinking, Engagement, and Management Excellence.


Required Course Texts:

1. Condrey, S.E. (2010). Handbook of Human Resource Management in Government. Third Edition. Jossey-Bass.


2. Pynes, J.E. (2009). Human Resources Management for Public and Nonprofit Organizations: A Strategic Approach. Third Edition. Jossey--Bass.


3. Other readings as assigned.


Grading Scale:

A          90-100

B          80-89

C          70-79

D         60--69

F          Below 60


Note: The University of Kansas uses a plus/minus final grading system (with the exception of A+) which will be reflected as presented in the following example:


B+        =          87-89

B          =          83-86

B-        =          80-82





Grading Components:


1: Foundations and Contemporary Connections

Historical:    The Meaning of Merit Essay                                                 10%

Political:       Responsiveness or Neutral Expertise (Team) Exercise   10%

Legal:            "In the News" Analysis                                                          10%


2: Functions: HRM-in-Practice (All are team-based exercises)

Function 1:   Job Analysis                                                                             10%

Function 2:   Staffing/Training                                                                    10%

Function 3:   Performance Management                                                   10%


3: Applications: Challenge/Innovation Project

Task 1:          Abstract and Paper                                                                 10%

Task 2:          PowerPoint Presentation and Peer Discussant                10%

Task 3:          PA Times Adaptation                                                              10%


4: Weekly Attendance/Participation                                                                      10%


TOTAL                                                   100%







Descriptions of Grading Components

The grading components are designed to prioritize both scholarship and practice, balance the dual commitments to mastery and application, connect enduring themes and cutting-edge topics, and engage students in innovative ways. Together, these assignments are designed to help students effectively achieve the stated learning outcomes for the course.


1: Foundations and Contemporary Connections

The assignments in this section of the course ask you to consider the contemporary relevance of the historical, political, and legal foundations of public human resource management. Full instructions for these assignments will be provided in class. The first component assignment focuses on a foundational aspect of public human resource management: merit. Using course materials, you will consider the inherent principles and values of this construct in an essay that does not exceed 5 double-spaced pages. The second component exercise asks to "take the societal pulse" of the continuum between bureaucratic responsiveness and neutral expertise. Using course resources and outside sources, you and your team members will prepare a report on this enduring tension. The third component assignment asks you to examine a relevant human resource management news story utilizing appropriate legal lenses (as identified in class). You will prepare a brief written analysis that identifies key issues and concerns.


2: HRM-in-Practice

You will be assigned to a team for the purpose of completing three connected exercises related to practicing core HRM functions (analysis, staffing/training, and performance management). You will receive full instructions in class. Your team will have time in class to work on the exercises, but you may need time outside of class to complete the assignments. Your team will turn in a draft and final product on the dates indicated in the course schedule. This exercise is intended to help you develop familiarity with HRM functions, but also strengths in collaboration and group dynamics.


3: Challenge/Innovation Project

Each student will select a human resource management challenge or innovation that applies to public/nonprofit organizations generally or to a specific organization of your choice. Your task is to provide an overview of the challenge/innovation, connect the selected theme to course resources, and critique or provide insights on addressing/implementing the selected challenge/innovation. This project includes three component assignments: 1) abstract and paper; 2) PowerPoint presentation and participation as a peer discussant; and 3) PA Times adaptation of your completed paper. Note: PA Times is the newspaper published by the American Society for Public Administration that connects academics and practitioners. Full instructions will be provided in class on the date indicated.


4: Weekly Attendance and Participation

Throughout this semester, your job is to thoughtfully examine course materials and engage fully in course-related activities, discussions and assignments. This is a professional program. As such, your attendance is expected at each session. If you must miss a class for any reason, please contact me.



Course Philosophy:

It is your responsibility to complete all assignments on your own, except when noted as a team assignment.


Remember to cite all sources of information in your written assignments. All University of Kansas students abide by a policy of academic integrity. Plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty will be reported and may result in a grade of "F" for the course. Students are expected to be familiar with the University's academic integrity policy.


Please treat your colleagues and instructor with respect. Remain open to new ideas and treat differences as a learning opportunity.


I appreciate your avoidance of distracting practices such as late entrances, early exits, ringing cell phones, conversations, and other activities unrelated to the class.


I don't mind if you bring food or drink, but I expect you to remove everything that you bring in to the classroom.


If you must miss any portion of the class, you are expected to obtain notes from your colleagues. I suggest that you introduce yourself to one or two of your classmates and trade contact information in the event that you need to share information.


I am available to help you achieve the learning objectives for this course. If you are in need of assistance, contact me.


On writing: writing quality centers on thoroughness, clarity, and accuracy as well as your ability to integrate class-based and other resources into your assignments. You should proofread all assignments before turning them in and should include a bibliography to cite sources. APA citation style is preferred. Please note: writing assistance is available through the KU Writing Center (


All assignments are expected on time. Late papers will be penalized with a deduction of 10 points per day past due, unless otherwise noted. If you must miss a class or a deadline as a result of a medical or family emergency, please notify me as soon as possible.


This graduate seminar relies on a variety of instructional tools, including: lectures and discussions, case study analyses, experiential learning exercises, and written assignments. Class sessions are interactive. High-quality, thoughtful, open-minded and respectful class discussion is encouraged and expected!




Additional Reminders from the KU School of Public Affairs and Administration:

Academic Honesty: As commonly defined, plagiarism consists of passing off as one's own ideas, words, writings, etc., which belong to another. In accordance with the definition, you are committing plagiarism if you copy the work of another person and turn it in as your own, even if you have the permission of the person. Whenever you rely on the words or ideas of other people in your written papers, you must acknowledge the source of the words or ideas. The plagiarist destroys trust among colleagues without which research and work-products cannot be communicated safely. The issue of digital plagiarism has raised concerns about ethics, student writing experiences, and academic integrity. KU subscribes to a digital plagiarism detection program called, which may be used to check papers submitted. Although you may never have engaged in intentional plagiarism, many students do incorporate sources without citations; this program can alert me to your academic needs. Please consider the use of the program as a learning tool for all of us. Also, course materials prepared by the professor, together with the content of all lectures and presented by the professor are the intellectual property of the professor. Video and audio recording of lectures without the consent of the professor is prohibited.


A helpful site to assist you in avoiding plagiarism is at:


Information on University of Kansas sanctions for plagiarism can be found at:


Civility: At KU and in the Public Administration program we focus on learning, respect for all, and a diversity of views. Because we believe that the ability to lead, facilitate, and participate in group interactions is a fundamental skill for public leaders we emphasize student assignments which give students an opportunity to develop and enhance those skill sets as well as learn the content of the course. Respectful interaction is the foundation of this course. Discussion will be focused on the learning process and should always be respectful of both students and faculty. Disagreements should focus on ideas or facts. There is no place for name calling or assaults (either in person or online) in our open discussion of ideas and issues. Should such interaction problems develop, you should notify your instructor immediately. Students who don't comply with civility requirements may be subject to a grade reduction or other sanctions as defined by University policy.


Students With Disabilities: The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti- discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. KU Disability Resources (DR), 22 Strong Hall, 785-864-2620 (v/tty), coordinates accommodations and services for KU students with disabilities. The Office Web site is at If you have a disability for which you may request accommodation in KU classes and have not contacted DR, please do so as soon as possible. Please also contact me privately in regard to this course.










1. 8/21

Introduction: Course Overview

None assigned

Purchase textbooks; log on to Blackboard site/check Blackboard email address; exchange contact information with classmate(s)

2. 8/28

Foundations: HRM in Context

Pynes: Chapter 1


Condrey: Chapters 1, 2

Jigsaw overview and assignments (for 9/11 class)

3. 9/4


History and Politics

Condrey: Chapter 4


E-Reading: Ingraham



E-Reading: Woodard 2005


Introduce and discuss the following assignments in class:

- Meaning of Merit Essay

- Responsiveness or Neutral Expertise Exercise

- "In the News" Analysis

4. 9/11

Foundations: Legal Bases

Condrey: Chapter 18


Jigsaw discussion of*: Condrey: Ch. 8, 9, 20, 21

* You will be responsible for one of the noted jigsaw readings

5. 9/18

Foundations: Analysis

Pynes: Chapter 6


Condrey: Chapter 24


E-Reading: Sanchez and Levine 2009

Introduce the HRM-in-Practice assignments


HRM-in-Practice team assignments


Start job analysis assignment in class

6. 9/25

Functions: Staffing and Training

Pynes: Chapter 7, 11


Condrey: Chapter 33

The following assignments are due by the start of class:

- Meaning of Merit Essay

- Responsiveness or Neutral Expertise Exercise

- "In the News" Analysis


Staffing/training assignment in class

7. 10/2

Functions: Performance Management and Motivation

Pynes: Chapter 8


Condrey: Chapters 22, 23

Performance management assignment in class


Midterm feedback

8. 10/9

Fall Break


No class meeting: have a safe and enjoyable break!

9. 10/16

Applications: Compensation and Benefits

Pynes: Chapters 9, 10


Condrey: Chapter 32

Introduce challenge/innovation assignments in class

10. 10/23

Applications: Labor Management and Conflict Resolution

Pynes: Chapter 12


Condrey: Chapter 15


E-Reading: Kalleberg 2009

Drafts of HRM-in-Practice exercises due at start of class

11. 10/30

Applications: Strategic Planning and Development

Condrey: Chapters 11, 13, 29

Team consultations on HRM-in-Practice drafts

12. 11/6

Applications: Professionalism and Ethics

Condrey: Chapters 12, 14


E-Reading: Roberts 2009


Challenge/innovation abstract due

13. 11/13

Envisioning the Future:

The Changing Public Workforce

Condrey: Chapters 6, 7, 9

HRM-in-Practice final products due by start of class


Peer discussant assignments

14. 11/20

Envisioning the Future:

The Changing Public Workforce

Readings pertaining to your selected topic

No class meeting: complete your challenge/innovation paper

15. 11/27

Envisioning the Future: Challenges and Innovations

Pynes: Chapter 14


Condrey: Chapter 31


E-Reading: Bowman 2012


Challenge/innovation paper due by start of class

16. 12/4

Conclusion: Wrap-Up

None assigned

Challenge/innovation presentations and discussion


Course Evaluations

17. 12/11

Final Exam Period


PA Times adaptation due



Additional resources:


Recommended Journals:

Human Resource Management Review

Public Administration Review

Public Personnel Management

Review of Public Personnel Administration


Recommended Websites:

IBM Center for the Business of Government:

International Personnel Management Association:


Government Executive:

Government Made Easy (formerly FirstGov):

National Academy of Public Administration:

National Association of State Personnel Executives:

Partnership for Public Service:

Society for Human Resource Management:

U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission:

U.S. Government Accountability Office:

U.S. Office of Personnel Management:

U.S. Merit Systems Protection Board: