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Impact of War on Federal Personnel Administration

Impact of War on Federal Personnel Administration: 1939--1945

Copyright Date: 1951
Pages: 384
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  • Book Info
    Impact of War on Federal Personnel Administration
    Book Description:

    World War II made enormous and unprecedented demands upon the nation's civil service administration. The task of recruiting millions of new employees of almost every skill in the midst of military and industrial drains upon manpower and the necessity of maintaining efficiency and morale jarred personnel agencies loose from peacetime routine. Both the older establishments such as the War and Navy departments and the new war service agencies such as the Office of Price Administration were affected. Gladys M. Kammerer believes that the war effort would have been seriously hampered had not the Civil Service Commission, in spite of obstacles, managed to retain control of this vast expansion.

    During 1944 and 1945, Kammerer was able to examine in person the manpower operations of the Civil Service Commission and of four executive agencies: War, Navy, Agriculture, and OPA. Her study is based on observations made at this time, upon interviews with staff members, and upon Civil Service Commission records. Especially significant are her evaluations of changes, good and bad, which war brought to personnel administration and an analysis of their effect upon postwar policies and organization.

    eISBN: 978-0-8131-6337-6
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Preface
    (pp. vii-viii)
    Gladys M. Kammerer
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. ix-ix)
  4. List of Tables
    (pp. x-x)
  5. List of Illustrations
    (pp. xi-xii)
  6. Chapter One Introduction: Statement of the Problem
    (pp. 1-11)

    From the vantage point of 1948, the six war years from 1939 to 1945 emerge as a period furnishing the greatest test public administration has faced in this country. Almost beyond comprehension is the magnitude of organizing industrial production for modern mechanized warfare in a global conflict, sustaining and controlling the civilian economy to prevent both privation and inflation, and shifting millions of persons into new occupations and localities. Federal personnel administration was as profoundly affected as any of the other phases of administration by the variety and complexity of novel war programs. New and unforeseen demands for personnel accumulated...

  7. Chapter Two Centralization of the Responsibility for Recruitment
    (pp. 12-42)

    Just as the first real impact of the war in Europe was not felt in the United States until the Low Countries were overrun and France was clearly doomed, so the field of public management here experienced few repercussions of war until the nation had once resolved to launch a gigantic rearmament program. Many of the measures of 1939 and 1940, helpful as they were to sound war administration, were the outgrowth of the Report of the President’s Committee on Administrative Management in the mid-thirties and were unrelated to war. From May, 1940, however, when President Roosevelt called for 50,000...

  8. Chapter Three A New Aggressive Approach to Recruitment
    (pp. 43-63)

    The factor of urgency implicit in the centralization of responsibility for Federal recruitment in 1940 revolutionized the approach to the task of mobilizing the army of civilian employees. War and preparation for war are crises which demand precedent-shattering measures. Mountains of red tape must be cut. Institutional adaptation must be effected with an alacrity shocking in normal times, or the institution is likely to be superseded or bypassed. Commissioner Flemming had promised on behalf of the Civil Service Commission in 1940 to furnish the manpower for the emergency, even on twenty-four hours’ notice, and he had no intention of failing...

  9. Chapter Four Application of the New Aggressive Approach to Particular Occupational Groups
    (pp. 64-87)

    In moving from the general to the particular in an investigation of recruitment techniques some arresting wartime developments are encountered. Over at least one vital area, the recruitment of executives, the conduct of the Civil Service Commission necessarily remained incomplete in fact, despite all that has been said of centralization of responsibility for recruitment. Yet that very incompleteness of control was an advantage and not a handicap. By allowing freedom where it was not equipped by experience to render first-rate service immediately and where it would have been immensely difficult to serve well during the learning process, the Commission wisely...

  10. Chapter Five The Deterioration in Standards for Selection
    (pp. 88-116)

    Scarcity of manpower in the steadily contracting labor market of the war years coupled with the vast expansion in government employment had but one effect upon qualification standards: to reduce them to a faint resemblance to their prewar level. As manpower regulations were promulgated in that complex network of controls described in Chapter II, the primary test for most positions became availability. Government, like industry, had to accept what the labor market offered. The Civil Service Commission, therefore, early delegated authority to its regional directors to gear standards to the labor market. Any available person could easily be termed an...

  11. Chapter Six The New Emphasis on Loyalty
    (pp. 117-134)

    As education and experience standards were discarded under the pressure of wartime exigencies, another type of qualification standard, that of loyalty, became by congressional mandate indispensable. For the first time probing of the attitudes of many Federal employees toward their government became an integral part of the examining process. The size of the service, of course, precluded the possibility of examining all recruits on this score, but for important defense and war positions, or for those in which sabotage was possible, the necessity of a loyalty investigation was established.

    Congress first conceived the idea of instituting a loyalty requirement in...

  12. Chapter Seven Development of Training Policies and Organization
    (pp. 135-153)

    Manifestly the decline and fall of qualifications standards could well have had catastrophic results on production activities within the Federal government had not steps been taken to institute training programs at all organizational levels and for a great variety of skills. Indeed, the universality of interest in training activities among both personnel technicians and operating officers was phenomenal in comparison with the “spotty” prewar training situation. Supervisory and administrative training had formerly been largely neglected, little orientation or indoctrination had been given to new employees, and the teaching of basic skills was, of course, superfluous when highly trained employees could...

  13. Chapter Eight Development of Training Programs
    (pp. 154-184)

    Diverse as were training policies and the organization to effect them, training programs fell into seven principal categories: (1) preservice, (2) orientation or induction, (3) apprenticeship, (4) instruction in basic mechanical skills and for upgrading, (5) instruction in office skills, (6) supervisory training, and (7) administrative internship. One of these types, preservice, was uncommon outside the War and Navy departments. Another, supervisory training, was frequently given in a “packaged” program—that is, by neat formulae prepared materials were presented uniformly in a concentrated dosage throughout an agency. But almost all were distinguished by specific adaptations to the peculiar needs of...

  14. Chapter Nine Increased Mobility Within the Service
    (pp. 185-214)

    The proliferation of new defense and war agencies as well as the expansion of old ones opened new vistas for transfer and promotion to able and ambitious Federal employees. The new mobility of employees horizontally, that is, by transfer across organizational lines, and vertically, by promotion up the hierarchy, was aided and abetted by two factors. One was the view taken by the Civil Service Commission that recruitment should be intragovernmental as well as extragovernmental. Only thus could persons possessed of essential skills engaged in work of less than first-rate importance be assisted in making a direct contribution to the...

  15. Chapter Ten Intensification of Pressures for Higher Pay: Statutory Adjustments
    (pp. 215-234)

    The pressures for increased compensation made themselves felt in demands for statutory changes early in the war. Congress, however, chose to ignore those demands for the most part until the price level was altered to the point where basic amendments in the law were almost inescapable. Makeshift arrangements in the form of overtime pay were urged on Congress as temporary expedients by the executive branch on the ground that an increased workweek would necessitate fewer new recruits.

    A study of the hearings and debates on the various pay bills from 1942 to 1945 reveals no attempt to construct a pay...

  16. Chapter Eleven Intensification of Pressures for Higher Pay: On the Classification Act and Wage Administration
    (pp. 235-253)

    Because the exigencies of recruitment, including transfer, could not wait for retarded congressional revision of salaries, a more readily accessible method to secure necessary salary adjustments had to be found. The solution was in the generous allocation or reallocation of positions covered by the Classification Act. Only through the liberalization of position allocation could flexibility be introduced into an otherwise inflexible salary structure. Once adjustments were made in a few agencies at any grade level, it was inevitable that almost all agencies would seek to make similar grade allocations and that reallocations became quite general for most positions.

    The liberalization...

  17. Chapter Twelve Controls On Federal Employment
    (pp. 254-282)

    The phenomenal expansion in Federal employment during the war years gave rise to a new awareness in Congress and in the press of the problem of size in the Federal government. The expansion of our armed forces and the rise of the nation’s labor force were both comprehensible. The presentation of sixty billion dollar budgets for armaments became a commonplace, taken in stride. But the employment of three million persons by the Federal government as civilian employees was baffling to the average legislator and citizen. It was Leviathan running wild.

    Congress grew genuinely alarmed at what had happened in Federal...

  18. Chapter Thirteen Broadening Employee Relations Programs
    (pp. 283-320)

    That increased compensation alone does not provide the answer to problems of employee morale has been pointed out in studies of industrial workers’ problems and their motivations. Increasingly during the war years it became apparent that a sound employee relations program, with increased employee services, was indispensable to assist management in meeting the many new war-born pressures, such as housing shortages, poor supervision, incomplete recreational facilities, and lack of credit arrangements. The influx of inexperienced, undisciplined persons away from home for the first time, of course, aggravated these difficulties in the milieu in which the worker had to live and...

  19. Chapter Fourteen Administrative Changes and Reorganization of the Civil Service Commission
    (pp. 321-341)

    The Civil Service Commission, with its loose and rambling organizational structure of 1939, could not have met the heavy wartime recruiting and placement program without a concentration of responsibility for direction of the war program. In addition, it needed an integration of related divisions and a simplification of structure. The old heterogeneous organization, starved for funds and staff, had been allowed to muddle along many months late in producing registers so long as there was no urgency in recruitment. But the promise made by Commissioner Flemming in 1940 to deliver all the recruits demanded at the time they were needed...

  20. Chapter Fifteen An Evaluation of Wartime Personnel Administration
    (pp. 342-364)

    Wartime Federal personnel administration viewed in retrospect made several permanent contributions to the improvement of the Federal service. The achievements were five in number, namely, the survival of merit system principles through the adaptability and flexibility of the personnel system, success in recruitment for staffing the expanded Federal service, progress in the building of training programs, realization of the importance of employee relations in the public service, and a new recognition of personnel administration itself. The wartime achievements represented concrete gains which could be consolidated for the permanent improvement of the service. Indeed, as will be pointed out briefly, the...

  21. Index
    (pp. 365-372)