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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, increasing ethnic diversity), changes in the labor market (e.g., ‘war on talents’) on HR-policies.
The course builds on state-of-the-art academic insights derived from research, such as insights on strategic HRM, high performance work systems, employee motivation, and diversity management, and seeks to link theories with practice in public organizations.

Course objectives

After this course, students are able to:

  1. to understand and compare the key theories in the field of Human Resources Management in the public sector;
  2. to critically evaluate state-of-the art empirical research in this field;
  3. to illustrate theories through reference to topical national and international cases;
  4. to discuss major challenges and opportunities public organizations are confronted with and assess their impact on HRM in public organizations;
  5. to critically comment on the impact of ‘publicness’ on HRM in public organizations.


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

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.


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 there.


Dr Ben Kuipers