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Important Issues Related to Classification and Compensation

In chapter five, Classification and Compensation, Naff,Ricucci, and Freyss in Personnel Management in Government:Politics and Process, start by pointing out that classificationand compensation policies have been one of the major aspects ofcriticism in the public personnel management system. The main aim forclassification was to provide a structure that organizations woulduse to divide work and job responsibilities (Naff et al,2013). However, the authors have argued that the classification andcompensation system has not changed over time. The authors point outthat managers in today’s organizations which are characterized byrapid change decentralization, view classification as a rigid,inefficient and time consuming model.

This model was to be replaced later by other models that ensuredequal pay for comparable positions. Employees were also to be paidaccording to their performance. The author of this chapter argue thatpay comparability and performance appraisal have unclear budget costsand impacts. Prior to the adoption of the classification andcompensation system, salaries of civil servants were determined bylegislative statutes or departmental administrators (Naff et al,2013). The authors continue to warn that there was politicalinterference and favoritism in the allocation of duties anddetermination of salaries for public employees. The main aim ofposition classification system was to remedy this and it was firstadopted in Chicago in 1912. Other states were to follow later.

The position classification did not work and the Congressional JointCommission asserted that the “equal pay for equal work did notexist the US civil service”. This would lead to a series ofamendments to the position classification where the commissionrecommended that classification should be based on duties,qualifications and responsibilities of the employee holding theposition. The authors point out that the position classificationsystem in the public personnel management has largely been influencedby politics. The system which was aimed at bringing equality is saidto enhance inequality and diminish the morale of the civil servants.In 1967, the Subcommittee on Position Classification pointed out thatthe classification system was not adapted to the changing federalgovernment and that it was only aimed at determining pay and not asmanagement tool (Naff et al, 2013).

In the 1970s, the pay rates for the public servants was not equal tothe employees with similar ranks in the private sector. There werelegislations that were passed by congress and signed by the presidentthat were aimed at bringing about comparability between the salariesof public servants and those in the public sector. There was afederal pa reform in the 1990s where the salaries of federalemployees was to be increased by 5 percent every year until it wasequal with that of private sector employees at the same job class(Naff et al, 2013). The authors suggest that it is time theclassification and compensation system was based on knowledge basedpay such as the one being use in a vast majority of the privatesector enterprises.

Synthesis of week 4 notes: Job evaluation

The notes start by defining job evaluation as the process ofdetermining the value of a job position to an organization and theamount of salary it should attract. It is also apparent that jobevaluation is not always an easy process. It is asserted that theprocess starts with analyzing the particular job, valuing it andfinally attaching a pay to it. Job evaluation is aimed at bringingequity in salaries amongst employees. Job evaluation has beenattributed to motivation amongst employee. Job evaluation results inthe creation of job hierarchy that is critical in placing newemployees, as well as enhancing equity.

Job evaluation has been pointed out as having the limitation ofdenying the managers the opportunity to redefine duties or rewardhard working employees. It is also said that jobs keep changing afteran employee comes and goes, this means that the person holding theposition at any one point might being over compensated or undercompensated. The notes continue to warn that the manager may decideto reward a hardworking employee due to the rigidity of the entiresystem. This has been referred to as the grade creep where the entireprocess of job evaluation is jeopardized.

Personal critique

It would be an understatement to say that the readings are aninsight to the inequality that exists amongst employees of similarpositions. The readings provide insight into the various ways thoughwhich the federal government has tried to try and bring down theinequality. It was interesting to note that the public sector lacksqualified and skilled employees due to poor pay. I however noted thatthe week notes seem to take a double standard approach to the use andrelevance of job evaluation. There are advantages associated with theprocess just as there are disadvantages.

One notable factor that I noted in regard to the problem ofinequality in the public sector employees is politics. There is undueinterference by politicians in almost all aspects of the publicsector. I think and believe that employees should not be paid only onthe basis of the position they hold, but also based on their skillsand knowledge, as well as experience in the job.


Naff, K.C., Ricucci, N., &amp Freyss, S.F. (2013). PersonnelManagement in Government: Politics and Process (7th Edition).Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Week four Course notes on job evaluation.