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The Concept of Merit System

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    The concept of merit has in recent times become a problem for both its proponents as well as its opponents who are concern about equal employment opportunities. The merit system of employment is mostly used by organizations that have beauracratic systems.

    (Weber 1964). Merit system is the evaluation of a person’s or an employee’s abilities, experience and motivation which are relevant to his/job performance. It helps to measure a person’s suitability for a job and reward his/her performance in a beauracratic setting especially in government personnel setting. The merit procedures help in the implementation of the merit principles in recruiting, selecting, promoting, retaining and compensating employees in an organization.

    Organizations use various standards to review merit; use of examinations help in recruiting persons into beauracracies, credentials are mostly important in professions such as law, medicine and engineering and they demonstrate a person’s suitability or the ability to take a job in beauracracies. The final standard of measuring a person’s merit is through his/her work experience and performance; this helps to know whether a person’s abilities which are shown by credentials and examinations are utilized fully on the given job.The state and local government employees who are in health, vocational rehabilitation, civil defense, or employment security who are either paid in full or part payments are hired under the merit system. There are some elements which are essential in order to maintain the merit system; they are such as recruiting, selecting and advancing employees on his/her ability, knowledge and skills basis.

    Another element is an equal and adequate compensation for the work done and adopting training procedures to ensure high quality performance. Protecting employees against political coercion, fair treatment of all the employees despite their political affiliation, their race, color, sex or religion and correcting inadequate performance or/and separating employees whose inadequate performances cannot be corrected are other elements which are put into consideration.However, many of the public employees especially of young age have problems with the components of the merit system especially with the determinants of pays and benefits, grievance procedures, position classification and training. They argue that the merit system for the employees is defined and controlled by the management without the involvement of the employees.

    The employees criticize the merit system because it is based on a one sided decision making process which employees unions have been fighting for along time.Employees criticize the system further by saying that its credibility is eroded due to the widespread political patronage in the federal recruitments as well as use of promotional policies which rule out some people who may be qualified for the posts. They say that the merit system has been severely abused and politicized especially by mayors and government officials. Extensive and clear evidence of deliberate patronage procedures have been found in the Machiavellian, commonly known as the Malek manual which was written by a Dixon appointed person so as to assist other political appointees in getting around the merit principle with the personnel actions in various departments.

    Employees and other opponents of the merit system undermined it because it was used to convert peoples positions in the government from classified to appointive status, the aptitude tests which were previously given were neglected so as to have direct appointments, this method therefore ruled out young qualified persons who may have been better in those positions.The merit system was also not effective as it was said to have various deficiencies such as excessive and constraining rules and regulations, extremely slow recruitment procedures which hindered hiring of qualified personnel, rigid systems of classification which hindered efficient assignment of duties and rewards, isolation of public employees from the elected officials and isolation from the citizens of the country as displacement of the goals to serve clients were displaced at some point due to the rules and regulations which existed in the merit system. (Kearney & Carnevale 2001).There are various types of employees who are attracted by the merit system of payment.

    One of these are the employees who are achievement oriented, these are the kind of people who believe that compensations in organizations should be based on a persons achievements in the work. They believe that employees who bring many and high achievements should be paid equally as high while those who are low achievers should be given low salaries. High achievers therefore prefer merit systems in organizations since they will achieve more.Those whose performance is high in the organizations are also likely to stay because the more they perform, the more the salaries will be attractive, and the merit system therefore encourages attracts, and retains good performers while poor performers are discouraged from joining or staying in such organizations because they will end up with meager salaries.

    In the United States of America, many managers and employees believe in pay for performance kind of system especially the white collar workers; blue collar workers however do not support the system.Competent people are also attracted by the merit system. These kinds of persons are those who have the professional knowledge of the job they are doing, those who have the experience and skills, and those who have the capabilities of doing that kind of a job. These people believe that the merit system will be of favor to them due to their skills and experience since the system focuses mostly on such traits.

    Employees who have a high need for money are also attracted by the merit system of employment and compensation. Since the system pays according to performance, those who have a high need for money will give their best performance so as to gain more money. These kinds of people once in the system tend to heighten the need for money in those already employed; therefore they will all work hard so as to achieve more salaries. (Searle 1990).

    There are various elements of merit systems which attract employees and are very important.One of the elements is based on its recruitment system which is based on the skills and knowledge of a person. Jobs vacancies are advertised to the public hence people are able to apply for the various posts. Once the selection is done based on knowledge, skills and abilities of the candidate, the vacancies are then filled through a fair and open competition.

    The second element is employees and applicants are treated fairly and equally without regard to political affiliation, sex, color, religion, age or a handicap condition. This means that opportunities offered are equal and fair to all employees, complaints of discrimination reported to managers, supervisors and team leaders are dealt with in a fair manner, privacy and rights of employees are well protected and disputes and conflicts within the organization are solved fairly.Another important and attractive element of merit system is equal pay where employees who have work of equal value, are equally paid. The system also considers national and local rates paid in the private sector.

    Recognition and appropriate incentives are also given to high performers. This means that high performing employees receive monetary awards for their work, managers are fair in giving awards, pay hikes depends on job performance and employees are free to give their preference on the type of reward and recognition that they prefer.Another attractive element of merit system is the provision of education and training services to employees so as to receive better results and performance to both the employee and the organization. This means that employees are able to receive training which lead to betterment of their performance, supervisors are able to determine training needs for employees, funds are available for employees training needs, the work force gets relevant skills and abilities to accomplish organizational goals, and the overall organization strategy integrates employee training plans.

    The other element which makes merit system attractive is the protection of employees against arbitrary action, favoritism, of some employees or intimidation of employees for political purposes. The managers are also prohibited from using their official authority in the organization for the sole purpose of interfering with election or nomination results. This means that employees are protected against actions of favoritism, or intimidation for political gains by officials,  the officials do not use their authority to interfere with election or nomination results and employees are not used to engage in political activities by officials which may violate the hatch Act.Finally, the element which is important and attractive in merit system is its employee protection against punishment for their lawful disclosure of any kind of information which they believe is evident in cases of law violation, waste of funds, abuse of authority by officials, and specific and substantial danger which may be posed to public health and safety.

    This therefore means that employees who have given information in regard to any posed danger to the public or the organization are protected against those who have committed the offences and the employeesHave adequate information on their rights and the action they should take incase they are attacked by the law breakers whom they have exposed. (Battaglio & Condrey, 2005).There were various impacts which were experienced in Georgia as a result of the change of their merit system of government. One is the reclassification of careers positions of people in the service to unclassified ones and the reduction in force.

    This made the role of public employees to be almost the same as for the employees in the businesses. Due to the reform, the concept of merit in Georgia today is closely associated with commercial values and the pay plans are almost associated with those in corporate bodies. This has made has made the process of rewarding, disciplining and terminating employees much easier compared to the previous system.The change of the merit system in Georgia has led to people being seen as of more importance than politics, the government is referred to as the government of people, made by the people and is for the people, the governments is also seen to be more responsive to its peoples’ needs and restoration of public trust is made where people are more confident with their government.

    Another change that took place is the reduction of employees in the office of the personnel management and the elimination of federal personnel manuals. Decentralization also occurred due to the order given by the congress to specific agencies such as aviation administration and other agencies like the internal revenue service to develop their own personal systems to be followed. (Ban, Carolyn & Riccucci, 1994).There were also several recommendations which were required in the public service; they included delegation of recruitment and examination authority to different agencies in the country, allow establishment of broad banded classification systems by agencies and setting a flexible payment system, allowing agencies in the country to create performance management programs of their own and improving process procedures as well as reducing the time frame to discharge employees in the government.

    It also led to a culture of change within the senior executive services. (Ban, Carolyn & Riccucci, 1994).However, there was a lot of opposition received for reform which was based on misconception about political appointments and the career people in the country. The political environment in the United States was also not conducive for the changes.

    This resulted to some of the reforms proposed by the Clintons regime not to be passed and there was little change on the merit system.In conclusion, the merit system of management was not supported much especially by the young employees in the organizations due to its beauracratical system. The young people were shunned from the top posts due to lack of experienced therefore the top seats were left for the old and experienced persons in the system. Although there was need for change in several states in America, the change was not well received in all the states and it received a lot of rebellion which made the change process to be long and tedious.

    References.Ban, Carolyn and Norma Riccucci, (1994), New York State: civil service reform in a complex environment, 14(2), 28-39.Battaglio, R and Condrey, S. (2005).

    Civil service reform, university of Georgia, United States.Christopher McCrudden, (1998), Merit Principles, United States.Oxford university pressKearney Richard C, (2001), labour relations in public sector, ISBN 0824704207CRS press,Searle, John G, (1990), Manage People, Not Personnel, United Kingdom,A Harvard Business review book,Weber, M. (1964), the Theory of Social and Economic Organization, New York,Free Press.

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    What is merit system in the Philippines?
    The merit system is designed to ensure fair and open. recruitment, promotion, competition and employment. practices free of political influence. Entrance to the. government service is based on merit and fitness and it is one.
    Who introduced the merit system?
    Theodore Roosevelt – 26th President of the United States.

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