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Title: Meritocracy in Asia Pacific: Status, Issues, and Challenges
Authors: Poocharoen, O.-O. 
Brillantes, A.
Keywords: civil service system
competitive exam
Issue Date: Jun-2013
Citation: Poocharoen, O.-O., Brillantes, A. (2013-06). Meritocracy in Asia Pacific: Status, Issues, and Challenges. Review of Public Personnel Administration 33 (2) : 140-163. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: This article provides an analysis of definitions and tools of merit systems in Asia compared to the United States. It traces the history of meritocracy in Asia and describes real practices in selected countries. The analysis is based on a framework investigating five dimensions of Merit systems: recruitment criteria; corruption in recruitment and promotion; political affiliation and influence; level of centralization of recruitment and promotion processes; and the extent of merit-protection regimes. Data are derived from a large-scale survey of civil servants of seven countries (United States, China, South Korea, India, Taiwan, Malaysia, and the Philippines) and interview data from two countries (Thailand and the Philippines). Findings suggest that recruitment criteria in Asia are highly reliant on central examinations and education qualifications are becoming more important in many countries. Installed prior to democracy, merit systems in Asia are intended to build strong and loyal bureaucracies to shape an elite class capable of running the country. Despite having central exams, many Asian countries continue to face the problem of corruption and patron-client problems in recruitment and promotion. This stems from historical experiences and the loopholes in these processes. Merit systems in Asia are primary intended to remedy this problem rather than the issue of political intervention as understood in the United States. The study also reveals the relations between having a centralized system of recruitment and the need to be flexible and fast in hiring. Lastly, findings suggest Asian countries lagging behind the United States in terms of merit-protection regimes that include whistleblower protection laws and trainings on ethics and merit. This could be the answer to ensuring Meritocracy in Asia. © 2013 SAGE Publications.
Source Title: Review of Public Personnel Administration
ISSN: 0734371X
DOI: 10.1177/0734371X13484829
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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