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The Importance of Merit Principles for Civil Service Systems: Evidence from the U.S. Federal Sector
Review of Public Personnel Administration  (IF5.298),  Pub Date : 2021-06-18, DOI: 10.1177/0734371x211026008
Gene A. Brewer, J. Edward Kellough, Hal G. Rainey

Merit principles have served as central tenets of the U.S. civil service system since the late 19th Century, but in recent decades reforms have been proposed and implemented that weaken central aspects of merit. This makes it important to seek evidence about how government employees perceive the status of merit principles and to examine relationships that exist between adherence to merit principles and work in federal agencies. Analysis indicates that federal employees who perceive adherence to merit principles also perceive a better quality of work life, compared to employees who see their agencies as less supportive of merit principles. Employees who perceive greater adherence to merit principles in their organizations report greater general satisfaction with their agencies as workplaces, higher levels satisfaction with leadership and recognition received, lower turnover intentions, and better quality of work unit output.