State government human resource professionals’ commitment to employment at will


This article examines the attitudes of a key set of state government officials—state human resource (HR) professionals—toward employment at will (EAW) in state government. It presents original survey data obtained from HR professionals in four southern states: Georgia, Florida, Texas, and Mississippi. Drawing on these data, the article creates an index measuring respondents’ commitment to EAW, as measured by their attitudes toward arguments used to advocate for EAW. The index is used as the dependent variable in an exploratory regression analysis indicating the importance of respondents’ experiences with the exercise of EAW discretion, years of public sector service, educational background, and state context to explaining variation in commitment to EAW. The article concludes with a discus


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This article won the American Review of Public Administration 2010 Best Paper Award.


Employment at will, Civil service reform, Public management, Personnel management


© 2010 The Author(s)