Building Better Elections: the Role of Human Resource Management Practices

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Organising an election is a huge logistical challenge which involves the recruitment and management of an enormous workforce. Despite the many well-run elections, it is no surprise that electoral integrity is often undermined by individual errors, poorly designed management systems or the poor use of technology (James 2014, forthcoming; Montjoy 2008; Norris 2015). Yet there is very little information about the staff that run elections and the recruitment, training and management practices in place. This paper provides a provisional analysis of the first ever international surveys of electoral management bodies (n=85) and electoral officials (n=1,868). Firstly, it provides new information about the workforce sizes, before profiling the demographic and educational characteristics of personnel within 33 electoral management bodies. Secondly, it describes the human resource management practices (HRMP) that are used and the experiences of employees. Thirdly, after developing hypotheses from the human resource management literature, it tests for the effects of these on electoral management body performance. On balance, initial analysis suggests that HRMP such as recruitment and training can have small effects on performance. Strong evidence was found showing the close relationships between employee outcomes such as stress, work overload and job satisfaction, but the link to performance was weak with the exception of propensity to quit. Other notable findings included significant gender biases within EMB workforces.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017
EventECPR General Conference 2017 - Universitetet i Oslo, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 6 Sep 20179 Sep 2017


ConferenceECPR General Conference 2017

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