Civil Service Reform in Participatory Government: Civil Service System in Transition

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Namkoong, Keun

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Graduate School of Public Administration, Seoul National University
Korean Journal of Policy Studies, Vol.22 No.1, pp. 19-45
Civil Service ReformCivil Service SystemGovernment InnovationKorea
This paper analyzes the recent reform initiatives of the civil service system in Korea. The modern civil service system was founded during the Park Jung-Hee Administration. The major characteristics of the system can be summarized as a merit-based, rank-oriented, closed career, and centralized managemetn system. The Korean civil service system was instrumental during the period of government-led growth. However, the 1997 financial crisis and the ensuring economic recession instigated the Korean government reform program, including civil service reform. As the package of civil service reform policies has been formulated and implemented during the Kim Dae-Jung and Roh Moo-Hyun administrations, the Korean civil service system is experiencing a paradigm shift from a rank-oriented, closed career, seniority-based, and centralized management system to a job-oriented, open-career, performance-based, and decentralized system. This article outlines three factors explaining the transformation. For Korean civil service reform to be successful, implementation is required for a certain period of time. The article discusses several tasks that are necessary for fully achieving the reform goals of the participatory government.
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Graduate School of Public Administration (행정대학원)Dept. of Public Administration (행정학과)Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총, KJPS)Korean Journal of Policy Studies (정책논총) vol.22(1) (2007)
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