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HRM (Human Resources Management) in the Public Sector*



In this course we study theories and insights in Human Resources Management (HRM) in the public sector. Special interest is provided to the issue of ‘publicness’ of public organizations and the impact thereof on HRM in terms of challenges and opportunities, goals set, (regulatory) frameworks implemented, or HR-instruments used.
We discuss the importance of HRM in terms of bridging organizational goals (e.g., organizational effectiveness and performance), employees’ interests (e.g., employee well-being and satisfaction) and wider extra-organizational interests (e.g., external stakeholders interests, societal interests, public value).
We debate the impact of major challenges public organizations are confronted with – such as the financial crisis, sustainability, changing demographics (e.g., increasing elderly population), diversity, ‘war on talents’ and competitiveness on the labor market – on HR-policies.
The course builds on state-of-the-art academic insights derived from research, such as insights on strategic HRM, new ways of working (e.g. high performance work systems, self-managed teams and ‘the New Working / Het Nieuwe Werken’), employee well-being and motivation (e.g., public service motivation, organizational citizenship behavior, organization/job-person fit), diversity management and inclusion, and seeks to link theories with practice in public organizations.

Course objectives

At the end of the course, the students are able:

  • to understand and compare the key theories in the field of Human Resources Management in the public sector;

  • to critically evaluate state-of-the art empirical research in this field;

  • to illustrate theories through reference to topical national and international cases.

  • to discuss major challenges and opportunities public organizations are confronted with and assess their impact on HRM in public organizations;

  • to critically comment on the impact of ‘publicness’ on HRM in public organizations.



Mode of instruction

Seminars and interactive debates.
Attendance of the seminars is compulsory.

Course Load

Total course load = 140 hours

  • Time for attending seminars = 2 hours x 7 weeks = 14 hours

  • Time for preparing seminars (e.g. weekly assignments) = 3 hours x 7 weeks = 21 hours

  • Time for studying compulsory literature = 10 hours x 7 weeks = 70 hours

  • Time for studying/preparing written exam = 35 hours

Assessment method

Written exam with short questions and essay questions (70%)
Weekly assignments (30%)

Specifics to be announced in the course manual.

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.
On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have taken the first sit and have a mark lower than 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.

Resit written exam
Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.


Yes, this page will be made available approximately two weeks before the start of the course.
Blackboard is used for providing general information on the course such as the course manual and slides. Students are asked to regularly consult blackboard for updates.

Reading list

To be announced.


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.
Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.
Also register for every course in Blackboard. Important information about the course is posted here.


Dr Trui Steen
Prof. dr Sandra Groeneveld