Federal Workforce:

A Framework for Studying Its Quality Over Time

PEMD-88-27: Published: Aug 4, 1988. Publicly Released: Aug 9, 1988.

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Robert L. York
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO: (1) examined the feasibility of producing generalizable and reliable information on the quality of the federal work force over time; and (2) developed a framework for obtaining such information.

GAO: (1) examined the executive branch civilian work force in professional and administrative positions; and (2) developed a two-part definition of quality which included employee capabilities and the degree to which those capabilities matched the requirements of a particular job. GAO found that: (1) the information available in agency personnel records was not comprehensive, accessible, or current enough for the purposes of a quality assessment effort; and (2) changing agency systems to provide a better database for an assessment effort would be impractical. GAO suggested an alternative assessment design which would: (1) gather data by surveying samples of employees in selected occupations; (2) answer many of the major questions concerning work-force quality; and (3) cost less than $1 million.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: OPM and MSPB are moving ahead with workforce quality measurement projects as a result of GAO work, so no legislative action is needed other than oversight.

    Matter: To help provide generalizable answers to questions about the quality of the federal work force and changes in it over time, Congress may wish to authorize a continuing program to assess work-force quality based on the framework outlined in this report.


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