Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2014, 2, 55-63
Published Online March 2014 in SciRes.
How to cite this paper: Ramgutty-Wong, A. (2014) The Future of Public Sector HRM in Mauritius from an Accountability
Perspective. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 2, 55-63.
The Future of Public Sector HRM in
Mauritius from an Accountability
Anita Ramgutty-Wong
Department of Management, Faculty of Law and Management, University of Mauritius, Le Reduit , Mauritius
Email: rwon g @uo mu
Received N ove mber 20 13
The collective vision of sustainable human development, as expressed by the international com-
munity in the UN Millennium Declaration, is a challenge for countries that are not adequately
equipped to face the challenges of globalization. A key step in the right direction is the institutio-
nalization of a transparent and accountable public sector that would be truly responsive to a
country’s need. As in other parts of the world, Mauritius has embarked on reform programs in re-
sponse to new opportunities brought about by globalization and the “rise” of Africa. Although pub-
lic sector reform has appeared on the agenda of successive governments since early 1990s, many
critics feel that the progress could have been faster and more substantial. In particular, the tradi-
tional omnipresent state has been much criticized for keeping bureaucratic red tape and ineffi-
ciency, and generally a poor level of accountability with respect to its obligations. Thus, in order to
fully capitalize on the spreading trend of globalization and the immense opportunities offered by
the “r iseof Africa, it becomes necessary to look into the reforms to the Public Services as far as
human resource management is concerned. This paper lays down the state of affairs in this area
and proposes an analysis of the pertinence and efficacy of such reforms from an accountability
perspective. Many positive results are noted amongst those ministries that have implemented the
Performance Management System, but many other findings a re also problematic, such as: 1) Lack
of clarity on how PLM is promoting organizational goals; 2) Many staffs unconvince that PMS will
help improve their career prospects; 3) Few public sector organizations are able to use the PMS as
a basis for staff training plans or for promotion decisions; 4) The appraisal forms a re cumbersome
and unrealistic; 5) PMS seems to be missing the point of addressing real management challenges;
6) Poor senior management “focus” and commitment to PMS. These findings echo what already
exists in many case study reports and literature reviews, wherein we find that performance man-
agement systems seem to fall foul of their lofty ideals. Nevertheless, the Mauritian Public Sector
has implemented a Performance-Based Budgeting (PBB) system, as a driving force behind the
emphasis on identifying goals and measures. This complements the PMS in pushing public sector
departments and ministries in the direction of aligning their activities, including HRM, toward
achieving strategic goals and measuring progress toward those goals. This can help clarify future
direction, establish priorities, initiate program performance improvement, increase effectiveness
and accountability, and help managers improve service delivery, decision-making and internal
management. But from good intentions to real implementation, the gap is yet to be addressed. Po-
A. Ramgutty-Wong
litical interference, budgetary constraints, top-down management and centralized recruitment
and selection are definite barriers to an HRM Accountability System.
HRM; HR Accountability; Performance Management; Public Sector; Mauritius
1. Introduction
The collective vision of sustainable human development, as expressed by the international community in the
United Nations Millennium Declaration, becomes more difficult for those countries not adequately equipped to
face the challenges of globalization. Consequently, its adverse effects have to be mediated by governments with
appropriate reforms to governance structures. A key step in this direction is the institutionalization of a transparent
and accountable public sector that would be truly responsive to a country’s specific needs. Partnerships between
the private and public sectors can be best optimized when the government and other public sector entities operate
on principles of transparencyby making information available and accessibleand accountabilityby being
answerable for their decisions and actions. Transparency and accountability are interrelated and mutually rein-
forcing concepts. Without transparency, which is unfettered access to timely and reliable information on decisions
and performance, it would be difficult to call public sector entities to account. Unless there is accountability that is
mechanisms to report on the usage of public resources and consequences for failing to meet stated performance
objectives, transparency would be of little value. The existence of both conditions is a prerequisite to an effective,
efficient and equitable management in public institutions. And as such, both conditions are also necessary in
trying to achieve sustainable human development through better governance in an era of globalization. Mauritius
has frequently taken pride in its Transparency Index as compared to other countries. The purpose for demanding
transparency is to allow citizens and markets to hold institutions accountable for their policies and performance.
As in other parts of the world, Mauritius has embarked on reform programs in response to new opportunities
brought about by globalization and the “Rise of Africa”. Mauritius has thus constantly and perhaps recently more
inte ns ivel y tried to revitalize the economy through the promotion of business and investment in both traditional
and new sectors, to serve as the main engine of economic growth. Global changes coupled with technological
advancement through fierce competition are impacting on the environment, thereby calling for better governance
through effective service delivery. Reforms have focused on improvements in outcomes to transform the Public
Sector. The investment climate has been much improved, notably thanks to a series of measures aimed at facili-
tating business. In 2013, Mauritius ranked 19th worldwide in “ease of doing business”, the only countrywith
South Africain the African region to even find a place in this international ranking [1]. Although public sector
reform has appeared on the agenda of successive governments since early 1990s, many critics feel that the
progress could have been faster and more substantial. In particular, the traditional omnipresent State has been
much criticized for paying lip service to the slogan of facilitating business, by keeping bureaucratic red tape and
inefficiency, and generally a poor level of accountability with respect to its obligations. Nevertheless, the need has
been recognized for establishing a modern information and communication infrastructure as well as streamlining
bureaucracies to facilitate economic development, and indeed, some reforms have emphasized the necessity for
increasing the efficiency and the effectiveness of public sector operations, in particular human resource capabili-
ties and actions, such as:
- A Ministry with a clear mandate for Civil Service Reforms.
- A Unit that would focus on the articulation and implementation of a Reform strategy.
- A Steering Committee that would look into the articulation of a PMS strategy.
- Setting up of a Performance Management System.
- Institution of the Performance-Based Budgeting system.
- The imminent setting up of a Civil Service College.
- In its last Budget Speech, [2] Government has announced.
o A Rs 50 million budget for the implementation of a new Civil Service Performance Related Incentive Scheme;
o A performance agreement to be signed between the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service and
each Accounting Officer, stipulating the Key Performance Indicators for each Ministry;
A. Ramgutty-Wong
o A Civil Service Modernization Program including.
New Strategic Policy Unit under the Prime Minister’s Office;
A program to upgrade skills through the Civil Service College; and
Extensive use of latest technology for the delivery of public services.
The main purposes/aims of reforms are to change the role of government from regulator to facilitator, with an
emphasis on refocusing and narrowing of overall responsibilities such as identifying regulatory constraints to
investment and other economic activities, improving delivery of services to the people, and making efforts for
simplified rules and procedures, decentralization and delegation.
Thus, in order to fully capitalize on the spreading trend of globalisation and the immense opportunities offered
by the ‘rise’ of Africa, it became necessary to look into the reforms to the Public Services as far as human resource
management was concerned. The following sections lay down the state of affairs in this area and propose an
analysis of the pertinence and efficacy of such reforms from an accountability perspective.
This exploratory study is a response to the increasing public demand globally for more transparency and ac-
countability in public sector operations. We use available data from publications and government reports to
study the history, achievements and challenges of human resource management in the public sector of Mauritius.
Globalization, or “the increasing and intensified flows between countries of goods, services, capital, ideas,
information and people, which produce national cross-border integration of a number of economic, social and
cultural activities,” is the greatest driver of change today. It demands complex decision-making processes to take
place at sub-national, national and trans-national levels, leading to a multi-layered system of governance. Go-
vernance, or “the exercise of economic, political and administrative authority to manage a country’s affairs at all
levels,” in this context needs to adapt to these new realities. “Increasingly, the State is called upon to act as a
linking pin of processes of planning, consultations, negotiation and decision-making, involving diverse players,
State and non-State, at different levels of governance.” In this sense, a review of the state of a responsible and
responsive HR function is being demand-driven from policy-makers and business investors alike. Granted,
Mauritius has succeeded in positioning itself to face these new challenges and opportunities of the investment
frenzy in the Sub-Saharan African region are fig ht ing-fit to benefit from its advantages as a ‘Gateway to Africa.”
Still, a modern and efficient public sector is critical to meet the new imperatives of this new economic order, and
one key component of this formula is the performance and accountability of public institutions, so as to attract
business and investment, but also to promote Public-Private collaborations, involve civil society, and to improve
the quality of human resources. But is public-sector HR delivering on its assumed role? How accountable is the
function to the country? The payoffs from HRM accountability measures are well articulated by Jack Phillips [3]
in his book, and he justifies an accountability perspective by stating its benefits, as follows:
- It will serve to identify HRM’s contribution to organizational effectiveness.
- It will determine whether HRM is accomplishing its objectives.
- It will help to identify the strengths and weaknesses of HRM processes.
- It is a means to calculate the return on investment in an HRM program.
- It will determine if an HRM program or policy justifies investment of resources.
- It will establish a database that can assist management in making decisions about HRM.
2. Specific Context of Mauritius—The Tigerof the Indian Ocean
Mauritius is an island in the Indian Ocean, East of Madagascar, colonized by the French, then the British, from
whom it gained its independence in 1968. Often referred to as the most cosmopolitan island under the sun, Mau-
ritius comprises a non-indigenous population of peoples descending from Indian, Chinese, European and Afri-
can origin. Economically, Mauritius is an upper-middle income economy with a GDP per capita of over USD
8000, and one of the most resilient throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, and ranks an honorable 19th (out of 185) for
‘ease of doing business’ [4]. It has, since its independence, pursued a liberal and open economic policy focusing
on growth and employment while maintaining an elaborate social welfare system, which has led to a resilient
economy with high growth and a diversified economic structure [5].
A brief history will lay the backdrop that can explain this enviable position: during the late 1980s and at the
start of 1990s, the island’s economy had significantly reduced its dependence on agriculture and its base became
more diversified. Thus, the diversification strategy in the 1990s focused on consolidating and modernizing tradi-
tional economic sectors (agriculture and tourism) while creating new areas of growth which would allow the
A. Ramgutty-Wong
economy to embark on higher levels of development. The services sector, more particularly financial services,
had been earmarked as the area for further economic development. By early 2013, the major pillars of the Mau-
ritian economy were manufacturing, real estate, finance, trade and communications, ICT, and a few emerging
sectors like the Sea Food Hub, the latter now absorbed into the much larger vision of the country as being not an
island, but an “Ocean State” in an exclusive economic zone of about 2.4 million square kilometres. The island of
Mauritius itself covers just 2000 km2. Between 1980 and 2010, Human Development Indicator (HDI) for Mauri-
tius rose by 1.0 percent annually from 0.525 to 0.701, which gives the country a rank of 72 out of 169 countries
with comparable data. Mauritius is above the regional average, the HDI of Sub-Saharan Africa region increasing
from 0.293 in 1980 to 0.389 in 2010 [4]. The Civil Service, which was developed around 1900 after the British
took over a French system of administration, is still characterized by a complex network of rules and regulations,
high formality, a multiplicity of grades, and a long chain of command. Post independence, the ministerial system
supplanted the colonial structure, with attempts in the 70’s and 80’s to convert the Public Service into an in-
strument of development policy. In effect, it was in the face of the acute economic problems faced by the coun-
try in the early 1980’s that part of the blame was attributed to the inefficiency of the Public Service. An articu-
lated ‘political will’ found its reflection in the 1998 edition of the Report of the Pay Research Bureau (PRB),
wherein Government expressed its commitment to reform the public sector with a view to improving service de-
livery and strengthening the process of public policy and decision making in that sector [6]. Successive reports
have all but repeated the exact recommendations since.
The UN, in its Country Program Document for Mauritius (2009-2011) acknowledged political and economic
stability and progress at all levels, and led to a qualitative leap in strategic thinking [7]. As from 2005, the vision
of the government was to “transform Mauritius into an intelligent nation” by developing a “culture of achieve-
ment and excellence” and promoting “an efficient and effective education and training system that is inclusive
and integrated, comprehensive and holistic” [8]. Government was committed to a 10-year reform program and
followed the Program Based-Budgeting (PBB) to ensure good governance, transparency and accountability. In
fact the PRB Report 2013 emphasized that the salient features of Civil Service Reforms include the “endowment
of Public Service Human Resource Management reforms as a critical component of the agenda on reforms in
order to achieve greater efficiency” [9]. However, whilst Government has been taking laudable initiatives to
make the Public Service’s recruitment and selection policies more transparent, yet these are still perceived to
lack real commitment and are mostly paid lip service to. The institutional arrangements to promote integrity,
transparency and accountability remained weak. As such, the society at large is at risk to favoritism and non-
existent or weak organizational ethics that easily penetrate and corrupt decisions and practices.
3. Public Sector HRM—A Conceptual Framework
Human Resource Management is a distinctive approach to employment management which seeks to achieve
competitive advantage through strategic deployment of highly committed and highly capable workforce using an
integrated array of cultural, structural and personal techniques. According to Schuler [10], strategic HRM in-
cludes “..... all those activities affecting the behavior of individuals in their efforts to formulate and implement
the strategic needs of the business resulting from the organization’s strategy”. According to Guest [11], if a set
of HRM practices are applied consistently, and strategically, then a set of favorable outcomes will occur in terms
of behavior outcomes, performance outcomes and financial outcomes. For this to happen, the HRM strategy
should be should be part of the organization’s strategy, and be based on focus, differentiation and cost at the
same time.
HRM accountability is a continuous cycle, or system. A systemic approach enables a department or organiza-
tion to identify, collect, and use the information or data on which accountability is ultimately based. HRM ac-
countability starts with identifying the organization’s strategic goals. Following that, the organization’s HR
goals in support of the strategic goals are defined. Then, performance measures are developed and a baseline es-
tablished to permit assessment of whether the goals are being met. For example, the National Academy of Public
Administration (NAPA) identified in its report, Measuring Results: Successful Human Resources Management,
four major aspects of HR that should be measured: costs, customer satisfaction, workforce capacity, and process
effectiveness [12]. Thus, establishing goals and measures in these four areas will help an organization identify
the contribution of HRM to mission accomplishment.
A Human Resources Management Accountability System is based on the following simple premise: HRM
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does not exist as an end in itself but for the purpose of supporting organizational mission accomplishment. The
head of a Ministry is thus not a free agent when it comes to managing people, in the sense that HR systems and
processes cannot take on a life of their own independent of broad organizational goals. They must instead be
judged by how well they, and the functional experts who administer them, support those who work each day to
carry out a Ministry’s programs. This is not a new premise. “Let managers manage,” as the saying goes, and let
that include managing people. Yet, the people-management structures, such as centralization of policy within the
Civil Service Ministry, centralization of recruitment, and centralization of pay determination for the whole ser-
vice can represent a real challenge when it comes to changing from administrative ‘Personnel Management’ to
strategic HRM. The primary concern under Personnel Management was traditionally for compliance with pro-
cedure and legislation, and not how well the HR system supported mission accomplishment. A new Accounta-
bility model, however, would not abandon compliance concern but rather represent a major shift in balance to-
ward outcomes and results. The new, though still evolving, HRM model places the direct responsibility for hu-
man resources management on those whose immediate task is mission accomplishmentline managers. These
managers, supported by the specialist HR staff, must be given authority to manage human resources and then be
held accountable for the results or outcomes of their decisions. This only makes good management sense. Those
with authority and responsibility for accomplishing a Ministry’s mission should also have authority and respon-
sibility over HRM.
As we can see, HRM is an essential element of management and strategy, and there is an important place for
specific HRM goals in any process or strategy aiming at transparency, efficiency, results-orientedness, and ac-
countability. HRM accountability should be seen as a continuous cycle, or system. A systemic approach enables
identification, collection, and use of the information or data on which accountability is ultimately based. It
overcomes the common problem of fragmented and disjointed efforts that don’t add up to the sum of their parts.
The need for HRM accountability is inherent in the delegations that Department Heads would receive from
the Head of the Civil Service to hire staff, compensate them, and to use this resource in accomplishing the mis-
sion of the Public Service. Such delegated authorities are critical and potent, requiring judicious and informed
use. They also must be tied to Ministerial mission-related goals. Ministries that establish goals for using their
human resources management authority should be driven by the pursuit of excellence in human resources pro-
grams and systems. These goals will have their greatest impact when they are clearly connected to society’s
values as well as to sound management practice.
4. Performance Management and HR Accountability in the Mauritius
Public Service
Dave Ulrich states in his article, A New Mandate for Human Resources, “the competitive forces that managers
face today and will continue to confront in the future demand organizational excellence [13]. The efforts to
achieve such excellence--through a focus on learning, quality, teamwork, and reengineering--are driven by the
way organizations get things done and how they treat their people. Those are fundamental HR issues.” As a re-
sult, the focus is no longer on serving the individual employee and paperwork processing, but on the effective
use of human resources–people–in achieving the organization’s strategic objectives.
Currently, defined policy for the strategic management of human resources in the public sector is demon-
strated through a commitment to the Performance Management System, supported by an agenda for training and
development of staff, and an expected spillover effect from the Program Based Budgeting system. McCourt &
Ramgutty-Wong noted that severe limits to strategic HRM were present in the Civil Service of Mauritius [14].
Successive Governments have attempted some change in the work culture of the Civil Service, through various
Steering and reform programs mentioned earlier in this paper. Current ills, apart from the image of inefficiency
and complacency, include the inability of management to bring about visible change, the shortage of qualified
personnel in key areas, the appointment of foreigners in strategic positions, the absence of career development
prospects, poor working conditions, and unattractive remuneration packages [15]. Although there have been
several initiatives for reforms, yet these have been slow in implementation and been met with resistance, notably
by unions, largely due to the strong perception of lack of transparency and political interference in operational
matters and the absence of coordination between different public bodies/institutions.
In 1994, the Ministry for Civil Service Affairs and Administrative Reforms introduced PMS on a pilot basis
in four Ministries. However, in 1998 it became clear that the good intentions had not been met with proportio-
nate trust and conviction. The 2003 and 2008 PRB Reports continued to stress on the need for a proper and
A. Ramgutty-Wong
complete implementation of the PMS, and in 1998, the Bureau highlighted in its Report that the two “landmark”
programs, the PMS and the Program Based Budgeting (PBB) were complementary and essential parts of the vi-
sion of improving efficiency and accountability in the public sector, as resources would focus on results rather
than inputs [6]. The Bureau states its conviction that PMS is central within an HRM system and that there is no
question of delaying the full implementation (due to start in January 2013), all the while acknowledging that im-
plementation of PMS was universally known to be a great challenge. Accordingly, a survey was conducted by
the Bureau to take stock of implementation accomplishments and blockages alike [9]. Many positive results
were noted amongst those Ministries (37%) that had fully implemented the PMS, but many findings were points
of concern, namely:
- For many, it was not clear how PLM was promoting organizational goals
- Many were not convinced about how PMS would help in their career or promotion;
- Less than a quarter of all organizations reported having been able to use the PMS as a basis for staff training
plans or for promotion decisions;
- The appraisal forms were cumbersome and unrealistic
- PMS seemed to be missing the point of addressing real management challenges
- The critical ingredient of senior management “focus” and commitment to PMS in order to make it work was
simply not present
These findings do echo what already exists in many case study reports and literature reviews, wherein we find
that performance management systems seem to fall foul of their lofty ideals ([16]-[20]) In early 2013, a survey
of 1000 companies worldwide shed light on performance management practices showed that, while performance
management continue to be of “critical interest worldwide”, very few companies (3%) reported that their PMS
delivers exceptional value [21]
A PBB system, for its part, is a driving force behind the emphasis on identifying goals and measures. Appli-
cation of PBB is pushing public sector departments and ministries in the direction of aligning all their activities,
incl uding HRM, toward achieving strategic goals and measuring progress toward those goals, in an effort to im-
prove the confidence of the public in the Government. This process has many benefits. It can help an organiza-
tion clarify future direction, establish priorities, initiate program performance improvement, increase effective-
ness and accountability, help managers improve service delivery, and improve decision-making and internal
mana geme nt . But from good intentions to real implementation, the gap is yet to be addressed.
5. A Discussion of Constraints and Realities
The basic premise that Human resources management exists to support “organizational mission accomplishment”
is here under question. We have seen that HRM accountability is about the responsibility shared by top man-
agement, line managers, and the HR staff for ensuring that people are used effectively, and in accordance with
legal requirements. We will now consider the potential for HR Accountability in the Public Service of Mauritius,
against the backdrop of the accomplishments and failures of the PMS.
Most organizations, in the first place, acknowledge the need for accountability-based HRM, but are confused
about how and where to start. The basic challenge in the case of the Mauritian Public Sector is how to instill
ownership for HR decisions that are supposed to be made in support of mission accomplishment. The following
constraints may be identified in the analysis:
Performance objectives are not derived from the mission and roles of individual ministries or departments;
Specific work practices and conduct are not properly and accurately measured and the determination of be-
havioral criteria are left to the subjective discretion of managers, allowing error, subjectivity, bias and favo-
ritism to influence the performance rating;
Feedback is not provided accurately and immediately (a lack of feedback and transparency in assessment
create an impression of arbitrariness, besides retarding the learning of desired practices and the avoidance of
undesire d ones);
Rewards and sanctions are not currently tied to the performance evaluated;
The HR staff must first be strategic partners with the senior management of the organisation and be more re-
sults-oriented and use tools to link goals to performance that can be measured and linked to rewards. HR
staff should therefore be continuously trained and developed to be able to cater for this. HR should have a
clear understanding of how HRM decisions affect the organization’s mission accomplishment and how cor-
porate-level decisions have an impact upon people. Yet, we do not have evidence of this.
A. Ramgutty-Wong
Senior management should recognize and continuously communicate that people are valuable. They should
also demonstrate strong commitment to HRM accountability. In Mauritius, a predominantly Capitalistic so-
ciety where management’s attention is focused on their interest and on cutting costs, many State and para-
statal organizations also adopt the ‘hard HRM’ approach which emphasizes the ‘resource’ side of human re-
sources rather than the ‘human’ aspects of HRM [22] ‘Soft HRM’ entails treating employees as valued assets,
a source of competitive advantage through employees’ commitment, adaptability and high quality, but this is
simply not the current culture. An HRM Accountability system can only work in a culture where people are
valued and depended on to get the expected outcomes towards organizational objectives;
HRM education and training should be one of the top items on the management agenda. Training, though
very present, is done mostly on seniority basis. The involvement of line managers is very important but mi-
nimized in practice;
Poor selection decisions create frustration among employees, and people end up alienated from organization-
al vision, mission and goals;
Another issue is heavy-handed political intervention within the public sector. The generalized perception is
that many recruitments are done on the basis of political patronage without any care for strategic imperatives
or impact;
Line managers heavily resist change and the predominant culture is difficult to change without prior top
management’s involvement and blessing;
The mission and vision of the various Ministries are either unknown to the people or the latter have not ever
participated in the formulation of the vision, mission, and goals;
The public service needs to seek and obtain feedback from its stakeholders and integrate this into the differ-
ent HR policies in such a way as to work towards working coherently across different departments and Min-
istries on a commonl y-held vision;
It can often be seen that HR decisions are taken within the central ministry without consultation with line
ministries, and we observe that line managers are loathe assuming accountability of the performance of their
staff when they (the managers) have so little control over selection, promotion and even training decisions. In
other words, they must make do with people who others have selected, and often such decisions are tainted
with interference. How then can HR be accountable for staff, for ensuring the latter follow its vision and
culture when is not accountable for the very beginning of the HR process? The concept of “shared accounta-
bility” calls on managers and HR staff to work as partners in driving forward HRM performance.
The highly politicized societal environment might be a deterrent to developing a service according to an HR
accountability system, as the latter might hit against some or other pressure group’s lobby and the latter’s in-
fluence on politicians.
HR Accountability system can only work if there is proper performance management. Performance measures
reflect the effectiveness of human resources management and promote accountability for HRM decisions.
Again, in the case of para-statal bodies, which operate under a given Ministry, not much can be done without
the approval of the Ministry. In fact, despite the existence of Board of Directors, if the Ministry does not ap-
prove of their decisions, then nothing can be done. This begs the question as to how will a participatory ap-
proach to setting goals ever be possible.
The public sector is accountable to the government of the day, and has to answer the Public Accounts Com-
mittee, and Parliamentary Questions (PQs) at the National Assembly. The public sector, unlike the private
sector, does not have a profit focus. However, political interference, budgetary constraints, top-down man-
agement approach, one way communication, and centralized recruitment and selection mechanisms are defi-
nite barriers to the HRM Accountability System.
The Financial impact of introducing an HRM accountability system may cause great constraint in its main-
These deficiencies and the associated risk of malpractices largely explain the stagnation in the performance
often found in public sector organizations. A weak state of integrity and accountability are natural consequences
of the absence of a rigorous and professionally-designed performance management and accountability system.
6. Conclusions
Transforming the Public Service into an instrument capable of fulfilling its role in bringing about Africa’s “First
A. Ramgutty-Wong
Tiger Economy” [23] depends on many factors, but above all, it depends on effectiveness of its workforce,
which in turn depends on the way in which those employees are managed. Human resource management is
therefore, rightly regarded as one of the strategic instruments within the transformation agenda for the Public
Integrity, transparency, and accountability in HRM do not function or exist in a vacuum. Their strength is de-
rived, to a great extent, from other core dimensions; competence or merit, ethics and professionalism. When
public sector organizations focus primarily on outputs and outcomes without incorporating ethics and behavioral
requirements into the accountability framework, they may be at risk. This phenomenon penetrates all levels of
the administrative hierarchy. The incentive structure applied in the government, (being tied to adherence to for-
mal rules, regulations and procedures), further reinforces formal and bureaucratically-driven accountability. The
lack of control over HR utilization and impact assessment of HRM decisions widens the opportunity for mal-
practices and corruption, not to mention under-performance.
A competence-driven reform HRM provides the infrastructure and foundation for integrity, transparency and
accountability and an associated ethics regime. Therefore, comprehensive reforms are needed in the various
domains of HRM (e.g. HR planning, recruitment, selection, employment, compensation, career planning, and so
on). There must be an improvement in the validity of various assessment procedures and criteria used in re-
cruitment and selection, performance appraisal, training, promotion, interviews, and rewards. Basing these as-
sessment procedures on clearly defined and measurable criteria channels accountability towards rational ends
and reduces opportunities to misuse of power and influence. Therefore, a greater focus should be given to re-
forming HRM in government and should be formulated within an overall strategy. Such reforms are prerequi-
sites to combating corruption and strengthening integrity and accountability in government thereby ensuring ef-
fective service to the citizens of Mauritius.
The close review of HR policies and practices in the public sector of Mauritius has served as basis for drawing
these conclusions. As the term HRM is defined as a distinctive approach to employment management which
seeks to achieve competitive advantage through strategic deployment of highly committed and capable work-
force, using an integrated array of cultural, structural and personal techniques [24], a diagnosis of good practices
and gaps in policies and programs is a pre-requisite to improve transparency and accountability in the public sector.
It will also assist governments, regional organizations, donors and the wider public in making public policy
choices and prioritizing resource allocation. As we have seen, HRM is an essential element of management, and
we believe strongly that there is an important place for specific HRM goals in the overall vision of a more per-
forming and efficient Public Service.
Serving these ends requires competent, professional and ethically strong public servants. We have seen that
numerous constraints exist that can hinder the achievement of this mission.
Finally, we try to remind ourselves that, while extremely important, an accountability system within a “hard”
HRM culture will bring less than meaningful results. Measures in themselves are not everything. Measures
should be derived from agreed-upon goals, and when selected they must be communicated, data collected and
interpreted, and actions taken as a result. Otherwise, measurement becomes an empty exercise. All measures
must fit into the broader accountability system, itself emanating from a clear understanding of, and commitment
to, the strategic goals.
Thanks to students of 2011 MSc Human Resource Studies of the University of Mauritius, for their valuable in-
puts to this study.
[1] (2013) World Bank Doing Business Report, 2013
[2] Fiscal Year 2014 Budget of the Government of Mauritius: Building a better Mauritius. MOFED, Government of Mau -
[3] Phillips, J. (1996) Accountability in Human Resource Management, Gulf Publishing.
[4] World Bank Doing Business Report 2013.
[5] Country Programme Document (Mauritius), United Nations Development Programme, 2013-2016.
A. Ramgutty-Wong
[6] (1988) Report of the Pay Research Bureau. Mauritius.
[7] Country Programme Document (Mauritius), United Nations Development Programme, 2009-2011.
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