Dissertations, Theses and Capstone Projects

Date of Award

Fall 12-2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Administration (MPA)


Political Science


Prior to the advent of at-will employment, elected officials and public managers have laid blame on government in the United States of being distended, unproductive, and impassive. The Civil Service Reform Act of 1978 abolished the Civil Service Commission and endorsed reformation of workforce practice and policies. Many states in the United States have followed suit, but with limited measures (Battaglio 2010). It is apparent, nonetheless, that a lot of political executives and professional managers have lingered on in aggravation, and are pushing for more considerable influence and stiffness over employees. As a consequence of at-will employment over the years, workforce reforms have given up some flexibility and direct power to managers, particularly in the federal government. On this facade, at-will employment position guarantees the utmost flexibility over employees because it gives executives absolute authority in the hiring and firing of employees for one reason or the other, and in some instances, for no reason whatsoever. The increasing use of at-will policies has attracted much attention on the outcomes of merit systems reform and public sector employment practices (Battaglio and Condrey 2006; Condrey and Battaglio 2007).

This case study makes use of a plethora of archival documents and academic literature to provide a descriptive assessment of the perception and notion of at-will employment structure in the public sector, with special emphasis on the Georgia reform. The purpose of this research is to examine the underlying reasons why Georgia opted for an at-will employment reform in the first place, and explore its significance and outcome. The paper concludes that the benefits of at-will employment policy are uncertain and recommends other new and innovative approaches to achieving efficiency in the government.