Pay-for-Performance Reform and Organizational Discrimation: An Exploratory Analysis of the United States Federal Agencies

Document Type


Publication Date



The federal General Schedule system, established under the Classification Act of 1949, has received increasing criticism within the past decade. Scholars and practitioners alike have decried it as being outdated, inefficient, and restrictive in allowing government to acquire the critical talent it needs to administer. With these challenges in mind, alternatives for replacing the General Schedule system have been offered. One of the most popular, prominent, and promising paths toward reform is the pay-for-performance approach. Using EEOC data published as a requirement of the Notification and Federal Employee Antidiscrimination and Retaliation (NO FEAR) Act of 2002, this article explores the linkages between pay-for-performance reforms and the amount of organizational discrimination complaints in 12 federal agencies. The analysis begins with an overview of the federal pay systems. This is followed by a review of the literature focusing on the theoretical framework and hypotheses undergirding the research. The analysis then discusses the study’s data, methodology and its results, and concludes not only with recommendations for future reform initiatives, but points out directions for future research.