A concept that is sometimes applied to the analysis of employment relations in the public sector. It expresses the view that states and state agencies have subscribed to a norm of good practice in managing their own employees. This norm embraces procedural rules, such as recognition of trade unions, reliance on collective bargaining, and joint consultation, and the use of formal procedures and arbitration in resolving employment disputes. It has also embraced substantive rules, such as meritocratic selection and promotion, security of employment, relatively generous benefits, fair wages and comparability, and the adoption of a formal equal opportunity policy. Critics have argued that the good employer commitment was only ever partial and largely restricted to salaried employees and that elements of good practice have been forced on public sector managers through union pressure. There is a consensus, however, that the commitment has worn increasingly threadbare in recent years as a result of financial constraints and the restructuring of the public sector. [See model employer.]
Subjects: Human Resource Management.