Year of Publication

2007

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Graduate School

Department

Public Administration

First Advisor

Edward Jennings

Abstract

Regardless of whether organizations are in the private sector or in the public sector, there is a general agreement that human resources are critical to keeping organizations effective as well as maintaining a high level of organizational performance. While more serious effort has been made to empirically examine how human resources influence organizational performance (e.g., studies about turnover consequences, studies about the relationship between human resource management practices and organizational performance) in the private sector, it is rare to find similar empirical studies in the public sector partly because it is hard to define public organizational performance. In my dissertation, I basically investigate how human resources are critical to organizational performance in the public sector with a question, "Do human resources really matter in the public sector, too?" Focusing on the crime control performance of municipal police departments, I examine the relationships among turnover, police performance, and human resource management (HRM) characteristics by surveying police departments of the U.S. cities whose population range is between 100,000 to 500,000 (Out of 205 surveyed cities, 65 cities participated). Firstly, I explore how human resource management practices (individually and systematically) influence crime control performance of the police. Based on universalistic HRM perspective (i.e., best HRM practices) and control theory perspective, I hypothesize that commitment HRM system (and individual practices) will have positive effect on crime control performance of the police. Secondly, I investigate more specific questions such as if turnover has significant effect on crime control performance and if HRM system has moderating effect on turnover consequence. Results about turnover effect confirm human capital theory that predicts the negative effect of turnover when employees with specific knowledge quit. However, no significant relationships are found between commitment HRM system (and individual practices) and organizational performance. The results might help municipal police departments deal with sworn officers' turnover as well as set up proper HRM practices.

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