Impact of municipal employees’ perceptions of fairness in human resources management practices on motivation: evidence from a South African Province

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In South Africa, the problem of service delivery cuts across all municipalities as manifested by citizen protests across the country on almost daily basis. To mitigate the costs associated with the protests, the South African government has placed emphasis on the role played by human resources management through instituting legislative frameworks, such as the the White Paper on Human Resource Management in the Public Service (1997). Despite this effort, the human resource management practices of municipalities continue to be criticized, by both municipal internal staff and citizenry. Service delivery in the South African context is regarded as one of the cornerstone indicators of how the government affords its citizens access to quality life as enshrined in its constitution. This paper is one of the studies based on the South African context attempting to explain the problem of service delivery by looking at perceived fairness in human resource management (HRM) practices by employees of municipalities and how such perceptions affect their motivation to work. Using the tenets of the organizational justice theory, the authors hypothesize that perceived HRM practices of municipalities can be predictors of employee motivation. Quantitative data collected from employees of nine randomly selected municipalities in the Free State Province are used to create indices for the different HRM practices as well as employee motivation. Significant correlation tests are performed. Results show a positive correlation between perceived fairness in the HRM practices of municipalities and employees’ motivation at .05 and .01 levels of significance. This means that fair HRM practices of municipalities promote employee motivation

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