Impact of Human Resource Management on Federal Employees' Positive Attitudes and Behaviors

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Virginia Tech


This dissertation presents three article manuscripts investigating contemporary human resource management issues in the United States (US) federal government. Drawing on the behavioral public administration approach, the three articles hypothesize and test theoretical models using data from the US Office of Personnel Management's employee surveys. Chapter 1 introduces the motivation of this dissertation, theoretical backgrounds, and a summary of the three research studies conducted. Chapter 2 presents the first article manuscript, looking at the generational difference issue and its implications for theories and practices. Drawing on generational theories, this study empirically compares affective commitment of federal Millennials and Generation Xers. This study uses time-lag data from the 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) and the 2004 Federal Human Capital Survey (FHCS). The results show no statistically significant differences between the two generations in terms of their affective commitment levels and how several work experiences influence the two generations' attitude. As such, this study provides evidence to reduce generational stereotypes in the public sector. Chapter 3 draws on conservation of resources theory to address perceptions of workload in the public workplace. Using structural equation modeling method with data from the 2019 FEVS, this study finds that supervisor support can sequentially help enhance coworker support, perceived reasonable workload, and job satisfaction, while tangible job resources moderate the above relationship. This study deepens scholarly understandings and points to appropriate practical strategies to enhance employees' perceptions of reasonable workload and job satisfaction in public workplaces. Chapter 4 looks at the issue of trust in different levels of management and its effects on employees, building on the trickle effects models and job demands-resources model. Analysis of 2019 FEVS data finds that employee trust in senior leaders and direct supervisors are positively related to as well as interact with each other to influence public employees. This research also finds trust in senior leaders and direct supervisors indirectly affects extra-role behavior through psychological well-being, and that workload moderates these effects. Chapter 5 concludes this dissertation with summaries of research findings, theoretical and practical implications, research limitations, and future research directions. The quantitative empirical methods used in this dissertation contribute to a community of inquiry using diverse data and methods.



human resource management, US federal government, Millennials, Generations, affective commitment, reasonable workload, job satisfaction, supervisor support, co-worker support, tangible job resources, trust, extra-role behavior