The Effects of Demographic Change and the Present Challenges for Human Resource Management in German Local Authorities in Relation to Workforce Planning to Facilitate the Management of Knowledge

  • Dana Noack

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Demographic change has been an urgent current topic in Germany for some time. The aim of the present research was to determine how demographic change is affecting HR management and managing knowledge as one key element of HRM in German public administration. The important questions are whether current working methods are suitable for the changed situation, whether these methods can be improved through new strategic directions or cultural changes, and what policies local authorities need to develop. The first part presents the most important existing theories in HR management and workforce planning with the instruments of an age structure analysis and managing knowledge. The study examines the effects of demographic change on these strategies and approaches. The second part presents the results of a quantitative survey. The following chapters discuss the results in the context of other comparable studies and the existing theoretical literature. Policy recommendations for German local authorities are offered, offering new insights beyond those from the existing literature. The results show that German local authorities are competing with the private sector for new trainees. The declining numbers of applications make this clear. This situation is made worse by a lack of strategic direction and a failure to acknowledge its link to demographic change. In order to develop a new strategic direction, it is important first to put in place an age structure analysis in order to accurately estimate future resource demands. The results suggest that larger local authorities are better placed to meet these challenges. It is therefore recommended that local authorities undergo a restructuring involving mergers or collaborations among currently separate local authorities. This will enable those authorities to better implement a new strategic direction for HR management with its key element of managing knowledge.

    This study is of interest both for HR managers in local authorities and for teachers and researchers in the field of HR management specialising in the public sector.
    Date of AwardJul 2017
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorDavid Pickernell (Supervisor)

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