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The promotion of engineers at the NASA Johnson Space Center from 1960 to 2000

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Title:
The promotion of engineers at the NASA Johnson Space Center from 1960 to 2000
Creator:
Piland, Robert Owens
Publication Date:
Language:
English
Physical Description:
xix, 481 leaves : charts ; 29 cm

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Subjects / Keywords:
Employees -- Salaries, etc ( fast )
Management ( fast )
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bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 401-409).
General Note:
Submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree, Doctor of Public Administration, Graduate School of Public Affairs.
General Note:
School of Public Affairs
Statement of Responsibility:
by Robert Owens Piland.

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University of Colorado Denver
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Auraria Library
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All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
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ocm14078674
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LD1190.P86 1984d .P5 ( lcc )
692.1 P637p ( ddc )

Full Text
THE PROMOTION OF ENGINEERS
AT THE NASA JOHNSON SPACE CENTER
FROM 1960 TO 2000
by
Robert Owens Piland
B.S., College of William and Mary, 1947
M.S., University of Houston Clear Lake, 1979
A thesis submitted to the
Faculty of the Graduate School of Public Affairs of the
University of Colorado in partial fulfillment:
of the requirements for the degree of
Doctor of Public Administration
Graduate School of Public Affairs
1984


This thesis for the Doctor of Public Administration
degree by
Robert Owens Pi land
has been approved for the
Graduate School
of Public Affairs
by
Date
April 11, 1984


Pi 1 and, Robert Owens (D.P.A., Public Administration)
The Promotion of Engineers at the NASA Johnson Space Center
from 1960 to 2000.
Thesis Directed by Professor Jay M. Shafritz
The subject of the study is promotion. The parameter
of promotion is used as a measure of the climate of opportunity
for advancement that exists in an organization. This climate
\
is assumed to vary during the life of an organization as a func-
tion of its internal and external environment. The purpose of
the study is to determine the promotion pattern of a particular
organizational group, and analyze the pattern in relation to
its environment over the past two decades, and to make limited
projections into the future.
The organizational group selected for study is the
Engineering and Development Directorate of the Johnson Space
Center of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
This group has been intimately involved in the manned space pro-
gram since its inception, including the Apollo and Space Shuttle
programs. The study group was selected on the basis of being
a relatively new, highly visible, advanced technology organi-
zation which had experienced a highly dynamic environment since
its formation, and therefore might be expected to possess an
equally dynamic pattern of promotion and climate of opportunity
for advancement. The dynamic environment was occasioned by
the high national priority of the Apollo program in the 60s,
followed by a lower priority in the 70s as other interests


iy
dominated the national scene.
The study period extends from the organization's es-
tablishment in 1960 through 1980, with projections to the year
2000. The promotion and salary histories of the approximately
700 research and development engineers of this organization
constitute the primary data base for the study.
The study approach involved a series of analyses. The
promotion pattern for the 60s and 70s was determined and
analyzed in terms of casual environmental factors. Salary
characteristics, reflecting the promotion pattern, were analyzed
in relation to the average salaries of research and development
engineers nationwide as an additional measure of the relative
opportunity climate of the study organization. Finally the
climate of the future was explored by projecting a promotion
pattern to the year 2000 based on characteristics of the present
study group, in combination with certain assumed constraints
on promotions in the future.
The form and content of this abstract are approved,
its publication.
Signed
I recommend
Faculty member in /jzharfge of thesis


CONTENTS
CHAPTER
I. INTRODUCTION............................................ 1
Background........................................... 1
Study Rationale..................................... 3
Selection of Study Group........................... 7
The Study Period......*........................... 9
Related Topics........................................ 12
Promotion.......................................... 12
Position Classification........................... 13
Pay............................................. 14
Objectives............................................ 15
Objective Areas.................................... 15
Specific Objectives................................ 16
Research Method and Organization of Study............. 20
Research Method.................................... 20
Organization of Study.............................. 22
Introduction..................................... 24
Related Topics................................... 24
Study Group Characteristics...................... 25
Promotion Administration at the Johnson
Space Center..................................... 25
Data Base and Analysis Methods................... 26


vi
Analyses......................................... 26
Summary.............................................. 27
Notes................................................ 29
CHAPTER
II. PROMOTION, POSITION CLASSIFICATION, AND PAY............ 33
Literature Search.................................... 33
Promotion............................................ 36
Definition......................................... 37
Types of Promotions.............................. 38
Other Types of Salary Actions...................... 40
Position Classification in the Federal Service...... 42
The Concept....................................... 42
Historical Development............................. 44
The Mechanics of the System........................ 47
A Critique of the System........................... 48
Average Grade Escalation........................... 50
An Alternate Approach.............................. 54
Pay.................................................. 61
Federal Salary Structure........................... 63
Federal Compensation Legislation................... 64
Wage Comparability................................. 67
Inflation........................................ 72
Summary.............................................. 74
Notes................................................ 78
CHAPTER
III. STUDY GROUP CHARACTERISTICS
85


Evolution, Functions, and Organization............... 86
National Aeronautics and Space Administration......86
Johnson Space Center............................... 87
The Engineering Directorate........................ 92
Characteristics of the Study Group................... 93
Characteristics Referenced to Degree Dates......... 95
Characteristics Referenced to Date of
Employment......................................103
The Average Study Group Member.....................110
Notes.............................................. 112
CHAPTER
IV. PROMOTION ADMINISTRATION AT THE JOHNSON
SPACE CENTER.........................................114
Introduction.........................................114
Federal Regulations..................................115
The Agency Plan......................................117
Center Procedures.............................'......119
Responsibility Levels and Associated Grades........120
Merit Selection Procedures.........................123
Promotion Procedures...............................126
Junior Grades...................................128
Intermediate Grades....................*........130
Senior Grades...................................133
Senior Executive Service........................136
The Ranking System and Minimum Waiting
Period Guidelines................................. 137
Summary..............................................144
Notes................................................147


viii
CHAPTER
V. DATA BASE AND ANALYSIS METHODS.........................151
Introduction.........................................151
Data Base............................................151
Methods..............................................153
Promotion Pattern..................................154
Salary Analysis....................................158
Future Promotion Opportunities.....................162
Summary..........................*...................165
Notes................................................167
CHAPTER
VI. THE PROMOTION PATTERN..................................168
Pattern Definition...................................168
Promotion Summary..................................169
The Average Study Group Member.....................171
Number of Promotions Per Year......................171
Percentage of Employees Promoted Per Year..........173
Number and Percentage of Employees at
Various Grades.................................... 176
Average Grade......................................180
Average Time-In-Grade..............................180
Junior Grades....................................182
Intermediate Grades..............................186
Senior Grades....................................188
Promotion Pattern Characteristics..................191
1960.............................................191
1961-1964
194


IX
1965-1968........................................194
1969-1972........................................194
1973-1976........................................195
1977-1980........................................195
1981.............................................196
Promotion Pattern Analysis...........................197
National Events and Conditions.....................200
The Eisenhower Administration....................200
The Kennedy Administration.......................200
The Johnson Administration.......................201
The Nixon Administration.........................201
The Nixon-Ford Administration....................202
The Carter Administration........................202
The Federal Budget...............................203
Federal Employment...............................205
Federal Employment Budget........................207
The Consumer Price Index.........................210
The Environment at the Johnson Space Center........213
Policies and Promotions............................216
The Implementation of Controls, 1964-1965........217
The Early 70s...................................226
Internal Actions, 1976-1977......................236
Summary..............................................240
Notes................................................246
CHAPTER
VII. PROMOTIONS AND SALARIES................................254
Introduction
254


X
Approach.............................................257
The Federal Salary Structure.......................257
Study Group Salary Characteristics.................258
Effects of Inflation...............................259
Comparison with National Surveys...................260
Federal Salary Structure, 1960-1981..................261
The General Schedule...............................261
The Executive Schedule.............................267
Study Group Salary Characteristics...................269
Selection of Salary Histories for Analysis.........270
Average Salary History.............................274
Effect of Grade Level Achieved.....................274
Effect of Reduction-In-Grade, Reduction-In-
Force, and Reinstatement...........................279
Effect of Experience Level....................... 280
Effect of the "Pay Cap" and Rapid Advancement......280
Current Average Salaries...........................281
Effects of Inflation...............................286
Consumer Price Index...............................286
The Federal Salary Structure.......................290
Study Group Salaries...............................295
Comparisons with National Salary Surveys.............303
The Surveys........................................303
Work Categories for Comparison.....................305
Inter-Survey Comparison............................307
Study Group-Survey Comparisons.....................311
Summary..............................................321


xi
Notes................................................330
CHAPTER
VIII. FUTURE PROMOTION OPPORTUNITIES..........................333
Introduction.........................................333
Approach.............................................336
Retirement Eligibility............................ 336
Modified Grade Distribution........................337
Analysis Assumptions...............................342
Discussion of Assumptions..........................344
Analysis of Strategy...............................348
Detailed Procedures.................................348
Estimating Procedures for GS13 and Higher
Grades.............................................349
Estimating Procedures for Lower Grades.............352
Results and Discussion...............................355
Grade Distribution Variation.......................355
Promotion Potential................................358
Promotion Potential for Current Study Group
Members at Lower Grades............................366
Summary..............................................367
Notes................................................372
CHAPTER
IX. SUMMARY.................................................373
Overview.............................................373
Study Group and Time Period.......................375
Study Objectives...................................376
Literature Search..................................378


xii
Promotion Administration..........................384
Study Group Characteristics and
Associated Data Base...............................386
Observations and Conclusions.........................387
Promotion Analysis................................387
Salary Analysis.................................. 390
Future Promotion Opportunities....................396
Major Findings.......................................397
Recommendations................................... .400
BIBLIOGRAPHY..................................................401
APPENDIX.................................................... 413
A. A CHRONOLOGY OF PAY ADJUSTMENTS 'AND ALTERNATIVE
PLANS UNDER THE FEDERAL PAY COMPARABILITY ACT.........413
B. NOTES ON THE RANKING SYSTEM AND MINIMUM WAITING
PERIOD GUIDELINES AS USED AT THE JOHNSON SPACE
CENTER AS PART OF THE PROMOTION PROCESS...............420
Introduction.........................................420
Ranking System at MSC, 1969..........................422
Questions and Answers Regarding the Ranking
System at the Manned Spacecraft Center, 1970.........427
MSC Promotion Boards, 1970........................ 433
Recommended MSC Policy on Promotion, October 1970...436
MSC Ranking System, February 1971....................442
JSC Ranking System, January 1976.....................442
C. A CHRONOLOGY OF INFORMATION ON THE EXECUTIVE
SCHEDULE AND ASSOCIATED PAY ADJUSTMENTS,
1964-1982.............................................445
D. DETAILED PROCEDURES FOR THE ESTIMATION OF FUTURE
PROMOTION OPPORTUNITIES...............................449
Introduction
449


xiii
Detailed Procedures..................................449
Senior Grades.......................................450
Executive Schedule Grade............................454
GS15 Grade........................................460
The GS14 and GS13 Grades..........................462
The GS7, GS9, and GS11 Grades.......................466
The GS12 Grade......................................467
E. A REVISED ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE TO SUPPORT THE
ASSUMED GRADE DISTRIBUTION UTILIZED IN THE ANALYSIS
OF FUTURE PROGRAM OPPORTUNITIES.............................471
Introduction................................. .471
Revised Organization.................................473
Distribution of Positions by Grade...................476
Distribution of Grades by Organizational
Element..............................................478
Observations.........................................480


TABLES
Table
3- 1. Distribution of Study Group by Grade.................109
4- 1. Minimum Waiting Period Guidelines before Promotion
for Technical Professionals at the Johnson Space
Center, February 1971.........................140
6-1. A Summary of Study Group Promotions, 1959-1981..._____170
6-2. Average Promotion Characteristics.....................172
6-3. Characteristics of the Average Study
Group Member......................................... 172
6- 4. The Promotion Pattern.................................193
7- 1. General Schedule Pay Rates, July 1960................ 262
7-2. General Schedule Pay Rates, October 1981..............263
7- 3. Federal Salary Rates for Selected Grades and
Years, With and Without Adjustment to 1967
Dollars.............................................. 293
8- 1. Retirement Eligibility Profile of the Study.
Group as a Function of Grade Distribution..............339
8-2. Study Group Grade Distribution, 1981..................337
8-3. Study Group Grade Distribution, 1981 Actual
and 2001 Assumed.....................................341
8-4. Idealized Employee and Promotion Profile
Characteri sties.......................................347
8-5. The Grade Distribution of the Study Group as
a Function of Time.....................................356
8-6. Summary of Estimated Promotions, 1982-2001............359
8-7. Retirement Eligibility Profile of Junior
Study Group Members................................... 364


XV
8-8. Estimated Future Promotions of Junior
Study Group Members...................................365
A-l. Pay Comparability, Recommendations and
Adjustments, 1972-1982................................419
B-l. Minimum Waiting Period Guidelines Before
Promotion for Technical Professionals at the
Johnson Space Center, 1969............................426
B-2. Minimum Waiting Period Guidelines Before
Promotion for Technical Professionals at the
Johnson Space Center, October 1970 ...................435
B-3. Minimum Waiting Period Guidelines Before
Promotion for Technical Professionals at the
Johnson Space Center, February 1971..................444
C-l. Executive Schedule, Scheduled and Payable Rates
from 1964 to 1982.....................................448
D-l. Grade Distribution of Engineering Directorate
Personnel, Johnson Space Center, 1981 (Actual)-
2001 (Assumed for Analysis)............................451
D-2. Retirement Eligibility Profile as a Function
of Grade Distribution, Engineering Directorate,
Johnson Space Center..................................452
D-3. Losses and Gains to the ES Grade, 1982-2001.............456
D-4. Losses and Gains to the ES Grade, 1982-2001,
Work. Sheet......................................... 457
D-5. Losses and Gains to the GS15 Grade, 1982-2001........461
D-6. Losses and Gains to the GS14 Grade, 1982-2001........464
D-7. Losses and Gains to the GS13 Grade, 1982-2001........465
D-8. Losses and Gains to the GS12 Grade, 1982-2001........470
E-l. Grade Distribution of the Study Organization, 1981...471
E-2. An Assumed Grade Distribution for the Study
Organization Utilized in the Analysis of Future
Promotion Opportunities...............................471
E-3. The Grade Distribution of the Revised Organi-
zation by Type of Organizational Element...............479


FIGURES
Figure
1. Organization of the Study............................... 23
2. Organization of the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration, 1981............................... 88
3. Organization of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center...... 91
4. Organization of the Engineering and Development
Directorate, Johnson Space Center, 1978................. 94
5. The Number of Study Group Members Receiving
Degress in Various Years................................. 96
6. Average Age of Study Group at Graduation as a
Function of Year of Degree............................... 98
7. Average Experience Prior to Employment at the
Johnson Space Center as a Function of Year of Degree... 99
8. Average Grade at Date of Employment as a Function
of Year of Degree........................................100
9. Average Date of Employment as a Function of
Year of Degree...........................................101
10. Average Age at Date of Employment as a Function
of Year of Degree........................................102
11. Number of Study Group Personnel Entering on Duty
in Each Year of Study Period.............................104
12. Staffing Build-Up of Study Group.....................105
13. Staffing Profile of the Study Group as a Part of
the Total Engineering Directorate, 1960-1981...........107
14. Average Grade of Study Group Personnel at Date
of Employment............................................108
15. Minimum Cumulative Waiting Periods for Different
Percentile Groups to Achieve Various Grade Levels......143


xvii
16. Number of Promotions in Study Group Each Year,
1960-1981.............................................. 174
17. Percentage of Study Group Employees Receiving
Promotions Each Year................................... 175
18. Number and Percentage of Study Group Members at
Various Grades, 1960-1981...............................177
19. The Evolution of Grade Distribution Within the
Study Group.............................................179
20. The Variation of Average Grade of Study Group
as a Function of Time...................................181
21. Average Time-In-Grade Between Promotions,
GS7-GS12............................................... 183
22. Average Time-In-Grade Between Promotions,
GS11-GS13............................................ 184
23. Average Time-In-Grade Between Promotions,
GS12-ES................................................ 185
24. Average Time-In-Grade Between Promotion to
GS13 and Higher Grades.............................. 190
25. The Promotion Pattern...................................192
26. The Federal Budget, from 1960-1980, in 1967 Dollars....204
27. Federal Civilian Employment From 1955 to 1981...........206
28. The Budget for Federal Employment With/Without
Adjustment for Inflation................................208
29. Average Annual Federal Employee Salary With/Without
Adjustment for Inflation................................209
30. The Consumer Price Index, 1960-1981.....................211
31. Staffing Profile at the Johnson Space Center
and Major Program Milestones............................214
32. Federal Salaries for Selected Grades, 1960-1980.........264
33. The Effect of Within Grade Step Increases on the
Grade GS12 Salary.......................................266
34. Selected Promotion Histories, 1963-1980.................271


xviii
35. Selected Promotion Histories for Varying
Experience Levels........................................273
36. A Selected Promotion History Illustrating
Rapid Advancement........................................275
37. Selected Salary Histories, 1963-1980.....................276
38. Selected Salary Histories for Varying
Experience Levels........................................277
39. Selected Salary Histories Illustrating Rapid
Advancement and the "Pay Cap"............................278
40. Current (October, 1980) Average Salaries of the
Study Group as a Function of Experience..................282
41. Consumer Price Index From 1960 Through 1981..............288
42. Federal Salaries for Selected Grades, 1960-1982,
Adjusted for Inflation..................*...............291
43. The Effect of Within Grade Step Increases on the
Grade GS12 Salary, Adjusted for Inflation................295
44. Selected Salary Histories, 1963-1980, Adjusted
for Inflation.......................................... 296
45. Selected Salary Histories for Various Experience
Levels, Adjusted for Inflation...........................298
46. Selected Salary Histories Illustrating Rapid
Advancement and the "Pay Cap", Adjusted for
Inflation................................................299
47. A Comparison of Average Salaries for Non-Supervisory
Research and Development Personnel from Two National
Surveys........................................... 308
48. Average Salaries for Several Occupational Cate-
gories of Non-Supervisory R&D Personnel as
Determined from National Surveys.........................310
49. Comparison of Study Groups Average Salaries with
National Averages for Non-Supervisory Personnel..........312
50. Comparison of Study Group Average Salaries for
Supervisory Personnel with National Surveys..............318
51. Study Group Retirement Eligibility Profile...............338
52. Study Group Grade Distributions, 1981-2001...............357


53. Estimated Future Promotion Capability....................361
54. A Comparison of Senior Grade Promotions Per
Year, 1960-1981 With 1982-2001..........................362
55. Johnson Space Center, Engineering Directorate, A
Simplified Protrayal of the Organizational Structure,
1981................................................ 472
56. Johnson Space Center, Engineering Directorate, A
Revised Organizational Structure for Purposes of
Analysis..........s................................474


CHAPTER I
INTRODUCTION
The subject of the present study is promotion. This
chapter presents the background which stimulated the selec-
tion of promotion as a subject for study; the objectives of
the study; and the manner in which the study is organized.
The background provides a rationale for the study, and iden-
tifies the organization of federal research and development
engineers selected as the subject of the study, the char-
acteristics that led to its selection, and the time period
covered by the study. The subject of promotion leads to a
consideration of a number of inherently related topics.
These topics are identified in the Introduction for further
development within the study. Five specific objectives are
presented. The objectives are described as to their intent,
scope, and/or associated analyses. The overall organization
of the study is presented including the contents of the
study, its flow and interrelationships; leading ultimately
to the summary which includes observations, conclusions, and
recommendations.
Background
Promotion may be defined as "the process of advanc-


2
ing employees to positions that usually carry more responsi-
bilities and greater salaries." 1 The present study focuses
on the promotion of engineers in the federal service. More
specifically, it focuses on the promotion pattern for a
research and development group, employed in a relatively
new, highly visible, high technology government agency
during the period of 1960 to 1980. The factors that deter-
mined the promotion pattern, the resulting salary pattern,
and limited projections into the future are considered in
the study.
Promotions, or pattern of promotion, is seen as a
measure of the climate of opportunity for advancement that
exists in an organization. The promotion pattern, and the
associated climate in the federal service, is hypothesized
to relate to internal and external environmental factors
such as the priorities of the organizations programs, the
maturity of the organization, position classification,
average grade escalation in the federal service, wage
comparability between federal and private sector employees,
and inflation and federal salary structures. These topics,
and others, are treated in the present study in the context
of their relation to, and impact on, a particular operating
organization. The study is primarily empirical in nature,
and is concerned with promotion and associated salaries,
from a general, or organizational, perspective while
recognizing the significance of advancement climate to each


individual employee. As noted above, the underlying hypo-
thesis of the study is that the pattern of promotion, in a
federal organization of the type selected for study, results
primarily from a combination of environmental factors, and
specific government policies, rather than the cumulative re-
sults of individual promotion actions, each based on job re-
sponsibilities and performance.
Study Rationale
The first question to be considered is "why study
the subject of promotion?" What is there to be said about
promotion that might be of significant interest? Individ-
uals are hired, and some advance further and faster than
others. Some are content, or resigned, to achieve a certain
level and remain there. Others move to different organiza-
tions in an attempt to achieve higher levels, or a more
rapid rate of advancement. Such statements do not provoke a
particular interest or curiosity regarding the subject. In
Order to rationalize a legitimate interest in promotion, it
was considered from the standpoint of the individual em-
ployee, the manager, and the organization.
The subject of promotion is of significance to both
employees and managers in the context of reward and motiva-
tion. The definition of promotion, presented above, in-
cludes both increased salary and increased responsibility as
characteristics of a promotion. Promotions have been de-


scribed as a major incentive for research and development
personnel, with salary adequacy resulting in higher motiva-
tion on the part of the employeesPelz and Andrews found
that while compensation is not the chief motivator, except
at lower levels, it must be consistent with achievement, or
research and development personnel are likely to look else-
3
where. Lawler states that pay and promotion, even when not
primary rewards, tend to be important enough to affect be-
havior.^ The "increased responsibility" aspect /of promotion
is also seen to represent a reward in terms of status, re-
cognition, achievement, and personal growth, and as such
provides positive reinforcement to motivation.^ Promotion
provides a greater opportunity to influence co-workers and
management, greater freedom to choose one's activities, and
an opportunity for increased growth and improvement.^ It
may be concluded that promotions from the rewardstandpoint
of the employee, and the motivating standpoint of the man-
ager represent a significant aspect of personnel management.
Promotion from an organizational perspective stimu-
lates interest of a somewhat different nature. An organiza-
tion's structure may be thought of as consisting of a number
of elements, each of which has a specified number of well
defined positions with varying salaries and responsibil-
ities. Employees are promoted into higher level positions
as they become vacant due to retirement, resignation, death
or other causes. If such an organization is also stable in


5
size and type of activity, and its work force is well dis-
tributed as to age and experience, then the promotion pro-
cess becomes primarily a question of which individuals will
be selected for promotion as vacancies occur in a rather
orderly and predictable manner.7
Many organizations, however, are not characterized
by the static and stable nature of the organization de-
scribed. In contrast consider a newly formed organization,
whose work force is assembled under the pressure of high
priority, time critical programs; whose programs and re-
sources vary significantly over time; and whose work is of a
nature that is not conducive to precise and conventional job
descriptions. Furthermore, its compensation and promotion
program is driven and regulated by national policies, which
are designed to cover a myriad of disparate organizations,
activities, and occupations; and which policies may reflect
conditions having no relation to a particular organization.
Such a combination of external influences would clearly
characterize the organization as an open system.
It is hypothesized that such an organizational en-
vironment would result in a highly dynamic promotion pat-
tern, considerably different from that expected with a sta-
tic environment. A highly dynamic promotion pattern would
have significant consequences for employee advancement
opportunities, both positive and negative; and also present
management with challenging situations, potentially affect-


ing recruitment, retainment, and motivation of personnel.
The promotion pattern', therefore, might be considered to be
a basic feature or characteristic of an organization, poten-
tially affecting its future degree of success, and certainly
a determinant of the individual employees opportunity for
advancement. The dynamic organizational environment was a
key factor in leading to the selection of the present topic
for study. Given the rapid changes in products and.pro-
cesses resulting from advancing technology, it is considered
likely that the organizational environments of the future
may be more like the dynamic environment described here than
static environments of the past.
It is proposed, therefore, to determine the promo-
tion pattern of an organization whose environment might be
expected to result in a dynamic promotion situation. It is
further proposed to analyze this promotion pattern in rela-
tion to various environmental factors; to assess the asso-
ciated salary pattern; and to use information derived from
the study of the past decades to project promotion opportun-
ities in the future in a limited manner. The resulting pro-
motion and salary patterns will reflect the climate of
opportunity for advancement that has existed at various
times, and what it might be in the future. The related
environmental factors provide insight into why the different
climates existed at different times. The next section de-
scribes an organization which was formed, and has existed,


in a highly dynamic environment and was selected as the sub-
ject of the present study.
Selection of Study Group
Different organizations are exposed to dynamic en-
vironmental factors to varying degrees. The organization to
be studied was selected because it had experienced a signif-
icant number of the environmental factors identified pre-
viously .
the study group is an organization of research and
development engineers employed by a federal agency. This
organization is the Engineering and Development (E&D) Direc-
torate of the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) of the
9
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA
was established by an Act of Congress in 1959.* Its estab-
lishment was in response to the perceived challenge of
United States technological superiority occasioned by the
Russians' launching of the first earth-orbiting satellite.**
The JSC was established in 1961 as a direct result of the
12
President's decision to place a man on the moon. The Cen-
ter was charged with the implementation of manned space pro-
grams such as Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and more recently,
13
the Space Transportation System. The E&D Directorate is a
major organizational element of JSC containing the space-
craft design and development capability of the Center.*4
The staff of E&D includes approximately 700 engineers and


8
scientists of various disciplines in 1981.
NASA is a relatively new federal agency, and JSC is
a new field organization. While NASA absorbed a number of
existing government organizational elements and their per-
sonnel, the majority of JSC personnel were recruited from
industry, other government agencies, or were new college
15
graduates. Consequently, a new organization was created
with high expectation of technical challenge and advancement
opportunity by its many new personnel. The technical chal-
lenge was complemented by the management challenge to staff
the new organization in a very rapid manner, consistent with
the time schedule established by the President for achieving
the Apollo Program objectives.16 The luxury of a gradual
build-up of personnel and organization was not available.
The circumstances of NASA's establishment, and
President Kennedy's subsequent decision to land men on the
moon, insured a highly visible activity.17 This high visi-
bility has had both its good and bad features. All JSC's
operational activities are conducted in the open with mis-
1 ft
takes for all to see. On the other hand, the visibility
when coupled with success, is a form of advertising which
contributes to continued administration, congressional, and
public support.
A corollary, but pragmatic consideration in the selec-
tion of this group for study was the existence and availability
of a detail set of promotion data extending over the study


period. Access to, and use of the data, was enhanced by
the author's familiarity with the organization and personnel
involved stemming from his employment at the Johnson Space
Center during the study period. The cooperation of the Center'
Personnel Office was stimulated by a general interest in the
subject and the potential usefulness of the study to future
Center planning.
The Study Period
The organizational environment of an organization
changes with time. Some periods of time will be more dyna-
mic than others. The present study is concerned with both
past times and future times. The past consists of the
decades of the 60s and 70s. The future is an equivalent
time period including the 80s and 90s. This period allows
for a near complete turnover of the present study group.
The study group will be discussed further in terms of the
60s, the 70s, and the future.
NASA in the 60s consisted of an engineer's dream.
It conducted programs of high national priority and public
interest, with adequate resources and broad technological
challenge, and was a new and expanding organization affording
19
opportunity for rapid personnel advancement. Rapid
advancement was completed by an increasing federal salary
structure, aimed at achieving comparability between federal
20
and private workers. The 60s, therefore, may be


10
thought of as a period of high adventure and significant re-
ward.
The government and public support of the agency was
maintained at an exceptionally high level for almost a
decade, or until the national objective of landing a man on
the moon had been achieved in 1969. With the achievement of
this objective, and the associated rejection of the Russian
threat to U.S. technological leadership, the nation turned
O 1
its interest to other priorities. 1 Even so, significant
and challenging space programs, such as the Shuttle, con-
9?
tinued. During the late 60s, and continuing into the 70s,
national priorities focused on the Viet Nam War, massive
; p o
social programs, environmental problems, and energy crises.
With the reduced priority of its programs and the maturing
of the organization, NASA no longer enjoyed the same posi-
tion it had in the 60s.
The environment of the 70s for NASA, therefore, con-
trasted sharply with that of the 60s. The space programs
were of relatively lower priority, and personnel and finan-
cial resources were more limited. The organization was no
longer expanding, but actually contracting with reduced per-
sonnel ceilings.24 Increasing federal budgets for social
programs, and other priority efforts, resulted in increasing
pressures to limit federal payrolls.25 inflation became a
major factor, contributing further to an overall negative
26
environment.


11
Despite the reduced priorities of the 70s, the Space
Shuttle Transportation System was developed/' The study
group played a significant role in this development. It is
anticipated that the Shuttle fleet will see widespread and
frequent operational use in the 80s and the 90sThis
operational activity, however, should only place moderate
requirments on the study organization for support. This
support being directed toward solving of specific engi-
neering problems, and possibly product improvements.
To maintain the character of the study organization
as it bas existed over the past two decades will require
NASA* and the nation, to embark on a new, relatively large
scale, manned space project. Such a program is in the
offing in the form of a manned space station to be perma-
nently located and operated in near-earth orbit.Depend-
ing upon starting dates, priorities, and rate of evolution,
this development effort could extend well into the 90s. The
space station project is not approved as of this point in
time, and it is not known when, or if, it will be approved.
Nevertheless, its approval is considered a reasonable possi-
bility, and the present study will assume it will be
approved, and that it will provide a major focus for the
study organization's activities in the 80s and 90s.


Related Topics
The present study is primarily empirical in nature
and is based on the development of certain sets of quantita-
tive information, and the analysis of this information in
the context of causal environmental factors. The specific
objectives of the study are framed in this manner. For a
full appreciation of the empirical work, and particularly
the significant environmental factors, it is desirable and
necessary to develop an understanding of a number of topics
which relate to, and interact with, the subject and process
of promotion in the federal service.
The related topics were identified and developed in
the context of a literature search which was initiated
during the planning period of the study. The topics are
discussed in detail in Chapter II, Promotion, Position
Classification, and Pay, including the rationale for their
selection, and their relation to the subject of promotion
and the present study. A brief introduction to these re-
lated topics is presented in the following sections.
Promotion
Promotion is a process involving the movement of an
employee to a new position, and generally involving in-
creased responsibility and increased salary. There are a
number of types of promotions. The two most common types,
and those with which the present study is concerned, are


13
career and merit. The former is common amongst profes-
sional workers, and involves promotion based on increased
30
contribution and growth in a given position. The merit
promotion involves a change to a different and well-defined
position.31 32 33 34 35 37 38
Position Classification
The "increased responsibility" characteristic of pro-
motion implies a procedure for establishing levels of re-
sponsibility. A position classification system is used
32
throughout the federal service, and in other organiza-
33
tions, for establishing various levels of responsibility
according to predetermined standards. There are 18 levels, or
grades, in the federal General Schedule. The pay scales for
34
many federal employees are related to this grade structure.
Executives and senior managers may be covered under the higher
grades of the General Schedule, or the Executive Schedule. The
latter is particularly intended for the Cabinet, the Congress,
35
the Judiciary,, and Agency executives.
There has been much criticism of the position clas-
sification system over the years from the standpoint of dif-
ficulty of application, particularly to professional jobs
qc
and career promotions, or of possible abuse through over-
37
classification. The criticism related to abuse often con-
38
cerns average grade escalation. The average grade of
39
federal employees has generally increased over the years,


and some see this as a problem with the classification sys-
tem. Difficulties in implementation of the position clas-
sification system have led to the development of alternate
approaches in the private sector for granting career promo-
tions or salary increases. The most well known is the
maturity-curve approach which, in its simplest form, bases
increases for certain groups of professionals on years ex-
40
perience.
Pay
Pay, or salary, increase is the second significant
characteristic of promotion,4* representing a visible and
tangible measure of reward. Since pay is a measurable
quantity, and since it reflects promotion, it provides a
quantitative means of assessing the promotion pattern of a
particular group, through salary comparisons with other .
groups. Hence, several objectives associated with pay, or
salary, are included in the present study.
During the 60s and 70s there were particular issues
related to federal pay. In the 60s, after much study,
legislation was enacted to achieve comparable pay between
federal and private sector employees.4^ This action was
followed by additional legislation to maintain this compar-
ability on an annual basis, utilizing prescribed procedures
for determining the amount of adjustment.4^ The high infla
I
tion rates of the 70s led to increasing salaries in the pri


vate sector, which in turn was reflected in the comparabil-
44
ity adjustment. Much criticism has been directed toward
the procedure for determining the adjustment, and modifica-
45
tions have been implemented, and additional proposed
46
changes are under consideration.
Promotion will be seen to be closely related to posi-
tion classification and the federal salary structure in
numerous ways. The former is involved in establishing the
'journeyman' level, which may be viewed as the highest level
or grade, to which the majority of professionals may aspire
to achieve through the career promotion route. This level
in a research and development activity generally determines
the average grade and consequently the total salary budget.
The growth of the federal payroll in the 60s and 70s result-
ed in pressures on the average grade, which pressures would
be reflected in promotion administration.
Chapter II will develop these topics in more detail,
which will serve as background and one basis for the assess-
ment of the quantitative information presented in later
chapters.
Objectives
Objective Areas
In order to focus and implement the study, it was
necessary to translate the interest in the subject of promo-
tion into objectives, which in turn, would allow analyses


and hopefully, interesting results. The identification of
three objective areas was stimulated by the previous discus-
sion. The first was the promotion pattern of the study
group during the 1960 to 1980 time period, and the asso-
ciated environmental factors which affected the promotion
pattern. Promotions drive salaries and salaries have been
identified as a significant, if not a dominant motivating
factor. Salaries also reflect the climate for advancement
that has existed. These relations lead to the second objec-
tive area of salary, and more specifically, the study groups
salary pattern in comparison to that of other groups con-
ducting similar activities, and in relation to the mainte-
nance or change, in buying power over the study period with
its high inflation rates. These two objective areas are
associated with promotion, and salaries, as they existed in
the past. The third objective area relates to the future,
and promotion opportunities as they might exist in the
future, with implications for both employees and management.
The three objective areas are translated into specific ob-
jectives in the following section.
Specific Objectives
The three objective areas are defined and discussed
in terms of specific objectives. The methods, analyses, and
conclusions of the study are cast in the framework of these
objectives.


1. Define the promotion pattern for the study group
during the period from 1959 to 1981
The study group consists of 689 engineers currently
(1981) employed in the Engineering and Development Direc-
torate of the Johnson Space Center of the National Aeronau-
tics and Space Administration. A number of parameters were
selected to characterize the promotion pattern. These para-
meters were determined for each year of the study period.
They included the number of promotions to each grade level;
the percentage of employees receiving promotions; the number
of study group members at each grade, or the grade distribu-
tion; the average grade of the group; and the average time-
in-grade between promotions to each grade.
These parameters, presented as a function of time,
define the promotion pattern for the study group. The
characteristics, or variations, of the pattern provides the
framework for the investigation of causal relationships.
2. Correlate the promotion pattern with external and
internal environmental factors over the study period
It is expected that the promotion pattern will exhib-
it variations over the study period. The intent of this ob-
jective is to correlate these variations with internal or
external environmental factors. Internal factors to be con-
sidered include the maturity of the organization, and whet-
her it is expanding or contracting. External factors in-
clude government-wide policies directly affecting promotions
such as grade control, or budgetary constraints potentially


having effects on promotion. Specific government-wide poli-
cies are likely to be driven by national and international
conditions or activities, and these will be noted in devel-
oping the correlations. It is conjectured that the external
conditions are of equal or greater significance than inter-
nal conditions in determining major variations in the promo-
tion pattern.
3. Describe the salary characteristics of the study
group and determine the effects of inflation
The salary of a federal employee is determined by
grade level, the time at the grade level, and the salary
established for the grade. The grade, therefore, is the
primary determinant of salary at a given time. Grade, in
turn, is established by promotion history. Consequently,
the study group's promotion history, or pattern, will
determine its salary characteristics.
Federal legislation in the early 70s provided for
adjustment of the federal salary structure to maintain com-
parability with employees in the private sector. The 70s
was a period of high inflation rates,and salaries in the
private sector increased to reflect this condition, thereby
affecting the comparability adjustment. This objective is
directed toward the determination of how effective the com-
parability adjustments in salaries, in concert with the
promotion pattern, were in maintaining, or increasing, the
buying power of the group during the study period.


19
4. Compare the salary characteristics of the study
group with those of other groups performing similar work
During the 60s federal legislation and salary struc-
tures were implemented to achieve salary comparability bet-
ween federal and private sector employees performing equiva-
lent work.^0 This objective will assess how effective these
actions were in achieving salary comparability between the
study group and other groups, involved in aerospace and/or
research and development activities. The comparison will
provide an additional measure of the relative climate of
opportunity existing in the study group.
5. Define promotion opportunities in the future
based on retirement eligibility considerations and a modified
grade distribution
The present study group was formed over a relatively
short period of time. Consequently, there is reason to
believe that the group might have a high rate of retirement
over a similarly short period, creating significant promo-
tion opportunity. Many other factors may negate this opti-
mistic projection. One such factor may be a determination
that the grade distribution of the organization should be
modified as personnel from the present group retire. This
objective is directed towards analyzing the positive effect
of a significant number of retirements when coupled with a
reduced number of senior grade positions. The positive and
negative factors hopefully resulting in a plausible, or con-
servative projection. It is recognized that this analysis


fails to consider many other factors which would normally be
considered in a total manpower forecast. Such a forecast is
beyond the scope, or intent, of the present effort. The
present purpose is to illustrate, by example, the signifi-
cance of these two factors in affecting the promotion pat-
tern of the future, and thereby to encourage management
planning to reflect these considerations and to do so in a
timely manner.
The objectives for the study have been presented in
the context of objective areas and specific objectives. The
next section will describe the basic research method used in
the study and the organization of the study.
Research Method and Organization of Study
Research Method
The research method used in the present study most
closely approximates the causal-comparative method according
to the description provided by Stephen Isaac. Certain
characteristics of the method used however, would also be
associated with either the descriptive or developmental
methods. These several methods are briefly described, and
related to the present study in the following paragraphs.
The purpose of descriptive research is "to describe
systematically the facts and characteristics of a given
52
population or area of interest, factually and accurately."
The specific objective involving the definition of the pro-
motion pattern of the study group over the past 20 years


would appear to associate it with descriptive research.
The purpose of developmental research is "to investi-
gate patterns and sequences of growth and/or change as a
53
function of time." This purpose might be even more closely
related to the promotion pattern definition objective than
the purpose of descriptive research. Examples of this
54
method include longitudinal growth and trend studies, both
of which relate to the analyses of promotion, salaries, and
the future.
Causal-comparative research, however, appears most
descriptive of the present study. Its purpose is "to inves-
tigate possible cause and effect relationships by observing
some existing consequence and searching back through the
55
data for plausible causal factors." This is in contrast
to experimental research which collects its data under con-
56
trolled conditions in the present. The analysis of promo-
tions and salaries is directed toward cause and effect rela-
tionships, and the future projections involve assuming a
cause and determining an effect. Strengths and weaknesses
of this method are identified by Isaac. A review of this
material would indicate that the present study might be com-
plicated by the fact that some combination of factors had a
particular effect, rather than a clearly defined single fac-
tor. The strength of the method lies in the fact that the
allegedly more powerful experimental approach cannot be
57
used for practical reasons.


22
The steps involved in causal-comparative research are
as follows:
1. Define the problem.
2. Survey the literature.
3. State the hypothesis.
4. List the assumptions upon which, the hypothesis
and procedures will be based.
5. Design the Approach.
a) Select appropriate subjects and source
material.
b) Select or construct techniques for
collecting the data.
c) Establish categories for classifying
data that are unambiguous, appropriate
for the purpose of the study, and
capable of bringing out significant
likenesses or relationships.
6. Validate the data gathering techniques.
7. Describe, analyze and interpret the findings
in clear, precise terms.
These steps have been used as a;guide in planning and
organizing the present study. The precise order of the
steps is not followed in all cases because of the specifics
of the present study. The final step was a goal of the
author. The reader will have to determine whether it was
achieved. The following sections describe the organization
of the present study, and encompass the steps described
above.
Organization of Study
The study is organized and documented in nine
chapters. The contents of the individual chapters are
described in the following paragraphs. To aid in this
description a schematic is presented in Figure 1 to describe
the flow, or steps, of the study, and the major interrela-


Fig. 1. Organization of the Study
no
co


tionships between the chapters and topics considered
therein.
Introduction. The outline of the introductory chapter
is presented on the left of Figure 1, Organization of the Study.
The rationale for the study and the selection of the study group
and study period have been presented, followed by the identi-
fication of several related topics which interact significantly
with the subject of promotion. The objectives of the study
were described in both a general and specific manner. The
present section titled, Research Method and Organization of
Study, constitutes the final section of the Introduction.
Related Topics. Chapter II, Promotion, Position
Classification and Pay, presents a discussion of the related
topics identified in the introductory chapter. This
material is basically the result of a literature search,
organized to support the present study. The major topics
as identified in the chapter title and on Figure 1 include
promotion, position classification and pay. Sub-topics include
the definition of promotion and the types of promotions,
average grade escalation, the career-curve approach to pay,
federal salary legislation and structure, wage comparability
and inflation. The lines emanating from the right side of the
related topics block lead to chapters, with which the topics
interact as described below.
The concept of promotion and the procedures of position


25
classification are directly related to Chapter IV, Promotion
Administration. The subject of pay for engineers and other
professionals, and the associated use of career-curves, is seen
to relate to a combined ranking process/minimum waiting period
technique used within the study group as a criteria for pro-
motion. The discussion of pay is also interrelated with the
salary analysis of Chapter VII, Promotion and Salaries, where
the national salary survey data used for comparison is based
on maturity, or time since bacculareate degree.
The topics of federal salary legislation, comparability,
and inflation are all major considerations in the salary assess-
ment of Chapter VII. Average grade escalation and wage
comparability affected the development of assumptions used in
the projection of future promotion opportunities presented in
Chapter VIII.
The Study Group Characteristics. Chapter III provides
a detailed description of the study group identified in the
introductory chapter, including its history and evolution,
functions, and personnel characteristics. The latter include
such paramenters as date of entry on duty, entry grade level,
and current grade level. The history and evolution.of the group
includes the time phasing of major programs and the associated
manpower characteristics of the Johnson Space Center, illustrating
periods of growth and contraction.
Promoti on Admi ni strati on at the Johnson Space Center.
Chapter IV describes the manner in which the promotions under


26
study were effected. Three levels of discussion are pre-
sented including the governing federal regulations, the
agency plan for assuring that the regulations are adhered to,
and the field center procedures by which the promotions are
ultimately implemented. Emphasis is placed on the final
level. A feature of the center level procedures for much
of the study period was a ranking process, combined with
minimum waiting periods between promotions. This approach
is described and related to the use of maturity, or career-
curve techniques as utilized in private industry for adminis-
tering salary increases and/or promotions for professionals.
Data Base and Analysis Methods. Chapter V describes
the primary data base for the study and an overview of the
methods used in the analyses of Chapters VI, VII, and VIII.
The data base consists of information obtained from the personnel
files of the Johnson Space Center. The information provides
the promotion data used in Chapter VI, the salary data used
in Chapter VII, and retirement eligibility data used in Chapter
VIII. The general methods used in Chapter VI, VII, and VIII
to conduct the analyses are described. A more detailed
description of methods is provided with the individual analyses.
Analyses. Chapters VI, VII, and VIII present the
analyses associated with the specific objectives. This
relation is indicated on Figure 1, through the methods presented
in Chpater V. A specific interrelationship with Chapter II
is indicated on the figure as has been noted.


27
Chapter VI utilizes the data base described in
Chapter V to determine the promotion pattern for the group
for the study time period. The result is then analyzed to
determine factors related to variations in the promotion pattern.
National conditions, government policies, and agency and center
directives are source material for this analysis.
Chapter VII presents an analysis of the salaries
resulting from the promotion pattern, including comparisons
with national surveys of salaries for groups involved in
activities similar to the study group. The salaries are also
analyzed in relation to inflation, using the Consumer Price
Index to determine effects on employee buying power. Federal
salary legislation, pay comparability, and inflation, as
discussed in Chapter II interrelate with the analysis of
Chapter VII.
Chapter VIII attempts to project into the future.
Specifically, it utilizes study group characteristics presented
in Chapter III to estimate the future promotion opportunities,
resulting from retirement of the present study group, in com-
bination with a revised (downward) grade distribution, reflecting
the possibility that increased administration pressures will
result in such a condition.
Summary. Chapter IX summarizes the study and its results.
It presents a series of observations, conclusions and recom-
mendations related to the objectives of the study. The
summarization of results is preceeded by an overview of the
complete study.


Figure 1, therefore, illustrates the analyses of
Chapter VI, VII, and VIII as being the focus of the study.
These analyses are devised to achieve the objectives de-
scribed in Chapter I, and lead to the specific study conclu-
sions. The methods of Chapter V are used to operate on the
data base, which in turn has resulted from the promotion
administration at the Johnson Space Center. The literature
search, organized into the three topics of promotion, posi-
tion classification, and pay provides a contextual framework
for the study, inputs to the analyses, and the observations,
conclusions, and recommendations presented in the study
summary of Chapter IX.


NOTES CHAPTER I
Jay M. Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Manage-
ment and Labor Relations (Oak Park, Illinois: Moore Pub-
1 ishing Co., Inc., 1980), p. 277.
o
R & D Productivity (Culver City, California: Hughes
Aircraft Company, 1978), pp. 84-86.
3
Donald C. Pelz and Frank M. Andrews, Scientists
in Organizations (Ann Arbor, Michigan: University of
Michigan, Institute for Social Research, 1978), p. 110.
^Edward E. Lawler, III, Pay and Organization Develop-
ment (Reading, Mass.: Addison-Wesley Pub. Co., 1981), p. 5.
5
E. Huse and J. Bowditch, Behavior in Organizations:
A System Approach for Managing (Reading, Mass.: Addison-
Wesley Pub. Co.j 1973), p. 69.
6Edgar F. Huse, The Modern Manager, (St. Paul, Minn.:
West Pub. Co., 1979), p. 73.
^Gordon McBeath, Organization and Manpower Planning
(London: Business Books Limited, 1969), p. 147
8Michael A. Hitt, R. Dennis Middlemist, and Robert L.
Mathis, Management, Concepts and Effective Practice, (St. Paul,
Minn.: West Publishing Co., 1983), p. 55.
9
U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration,
The Apollo Spacecraft, A Chronology, Vol. I by Ivan D. Ertel and
Mary Louise Morse (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office
1969), p. 233.
^Robert L. Rosholt, An Administrative History of NASA,
1958-1963 (Washington, D.C.: National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, 1966), p. 304.
^James R. Killian, Jr., Sputnik, Scientists, and
Eisenhower (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1977), pp. 119-138.
*2Rosholt, Administrative History of NASA, 1958-1963,
p. 213.
13
Tom Alexander, Project Apollo Man to the Moon
(New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1964), p. 21.
14
Ivan D. Ertel and Roland W. Newkirk with Courtney G.
Brooks, The Apollo Spacecraft A Chronology, Vol. IV (Washing-
ton, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1978), pp. 432-434.


15
Wesley L. Hjornevik, Guiding Work Relationships Among
Scientific Engineers and Administrative Professionals, (Houston,
Tx.: NASA Manned Spacecraft Center Working Paper, November 7,
1968), p. 2.
16Courtney G. Brooks, James M. Grimwood, and Loyd S.
Swenson, Jr., Chariots for Apollo (Washington, D.C.: National
Aeronautics and Space Administration, 1979), p. 29.
17Ibid., p. 29.
18
R. Wayne Young, The Utilization of Project Manage-
ment Concepts at the NASA Johnson Space Center (Denver, Colo-
rado: University of Colorado at Denver, A Dissertation, 1983),
Ch. V, p. 13.
19
Alexander, Project Apollo Man to the Moon, pp. 10-22.
20
Federal Civilian Employment, Pay, and Benefits, (New
York: Tax Foundation, Inc. 1969), pp. 20-23.
21
Theodore H. White, America in Search of Itself -
The Making of the President: 1956-1980 (New York: Harper and
Row Publishers, 1982), pp. 106-164.
22
Aeronautics and Space Report of the President, 1972
Activities, Executive Office of the President, National Aeronau-
tics and Space Council (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing
Office, March 1973), p. 11.
23
White, America in Search of Itself The Making of
the President: 1956-1980, pp. 95, 112, 125, 152, 356.
24
Johnson Space Center, National Aeronautics and Space
Administration, Presentation to the Senior Staff, Personnel
Plans and Programs, Houston, Texas, 3 November 1975.
25
Recent Federal Personnel Cost Trends, Government
Financial Brief No. 24 (New York: Tax Foundation, Inc.,
December 1973), p. 20.
26
U.S. Department of Commerce, Statistical Abstract of
the United States, 1980, 101st ed. (Washington, D.C.: Govern-
ment Printing Office, 1980), p. 477.
27
Jerry C. Bostick, "Space Transportation Systems
Operation", in Developing the Space Frontier, ed. by Albert
Naumann and Grover Alexander, Vol. 52, Advances in the Aero-
nautical Sciences (San Diego, Calif.: American Astronautical
Society, 1983), pp. 335-340.


31
28
George F. Page, "Launch Operations and Turn Around
Capability", in Developing the Space Frontier, ed. by
Albert Naumann and Grover Alexander, Vol. 52, Advances in the
Aeronautical Sciences, pp. 312-313.
29
Clarke Covington and Robert 0. Pi land, "Space Opera-
tions Center, Next Goal for Manned Space Flight?", Astro-
nautics and Aeronautics (September, 1980).
30
Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Management and
Labor Relations, pp. 46-47.
31Ibid., pp. 209-210.
32
Robert D. Lee, Jr., Public Personnel Systems
(Baltimore, Md.: University Park Press, 1979), p. 56.
33
David W. Belcher, Wage and Salary Administration
(Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall Inc., 1962), p. 540.
34
Lee, Public Personnel Systems, p. 74.
35
U.S. Congress, Congressional Budget Office, Execu-
tive Compensation in the Federal Government, Background Paper
No. 18 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1977),
pp. 1-5.
36
Robert E. Sibson, Compensation, Rev. Ed. (New York:
AMACOM A Division of American Management Association, 1981),
pp. 192-195.
37
U.S. General Accounting Office, Classification of
Federal White Collar Jobs Should be Better"Controlled, FPCD-75-
173 (Washington, D.C.: General Accounting Office, 1975), p. 3.
38Ibid., pp. 5-8.
39Ibid., p. 4.
40
Richard I. Henderson, Compensation Management: Re-
warding Performance, 3rd ed. (Reston, Virginia: Reston Pub-
lishing Co., Inc., 1982), p. 216.
^Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Management and
Labor Relations, p. 277.
42
Raymond Jacobson, "Efforts to Resolve Problems in
Federal Compensation", in Job Evaluation and Pay Administration
in the Public Sector, ed. Harold Suskin, pp. 463-464.


32
43
U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Post Office and
Civil Service, Executive, Legislative and Judicial Salaries,
Print No. 94.3 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,
1975), pp. 17-18.
44
U.S. Office of Personnel Management, OPA Bulletin
No. 5 (Washington, D.C.: U.S. Office of Personnel Management,
September, 1979).
45
William M. Smith, "Federal Pay Procedures and the
Comparability Survey", Monthly Labor Review (August 1976),
p. 28.
46
Joani Nelson-Horcher, "Cleaning up the Federal Pay
Mess", Industry Week, Vol. 210, No. 6 (September 21, 1981),
p. 55.
47
Edward E. Lawler III, Pay and Organizational
Effectiveness: A Psychological View (New York: McGraw
Hill Book Co., 1971), pp. 132-133.
48
Lee, Public Personnel Systems, pp. 77-78.
49
U.S. Department of Commerce, Statistical Abstract
1981, p. 476.
50
Lee, Public Personnel Systems, pp. 77-78.
51
Stephen Isaac in collaboration with William B.
Michael, Handbook in Research and Evaluation (San Diego,
Calif.: Edits Publishers, September, 1979), p. 14.
52Ibid., P- 14.
53Ibid.
54Ibid., P- 15.
55Ibid., P- 14.
56Ibid., P- 24.
57Ibid., PP . 22-23.
58Ibid., P- 23.


CHAPTER II
PROMOTION, POSITION CLASSIFICATION, AND PAY
Literature Search
A literature search was conducted to support the
study. The search involved a number of specific objectives.
The first objective was to locate similar studies which
would allow a direct comparison of results. The second
objective was to identify available research and other
information on the subject of promotion. The remaining
objectives were directed toward the location of specific in-
formation and data to support the analyses to be conducted
as part of the study.
The mechanics of the search included a conventional
card catalog search of two university and two government
libraries; a computer search utilizing the DIALOG program*;
a review of the most comprehensive compensation bibliography
2
available ; a review of leading personnel and compensation
3
journals ; and a search of pertinent files of the Personnel
Office of the Johnson Space Center.
The most extensive search involved the DIALOG program.
The title of the search was "Promotion Patterns in Government
Research and Development." The database searched, was titled


34
"Management Contents." The period searched was from 1974 through
July of 1982. This database includes information from over 700
U.S. and international journals plus proceedings, transactions,
business course materials, newsletters, and research reports.
Disciplines included in the database are accounting, decision
sciences, finance, industrial relations, managerial economics,
marketing, operations research, organizational behavior and
public administration. Descriptors utilized in the search
included promotions, career, advancement, government, policies,
regulations, wages salaries, compensation, research and
development, engineers and variations and combinations thereof.
The total search was both disappointing and extremely
useful. It was disappointing in that no similar studies were
located for direct comparison, nor was there any significant body
of research on the subject of promotion. This situation is
described in a statement by F. F. Ridley:
It draws attention to an under-researched field
(British textbooks are virtually silent on the
subject of promotion) that deserves further
academic study.4
Other aspects of the search were more rewarding.
Basic information on the definition and types of promotions,
and other forms of salary actions was readily available.
Position classification and the career-curve approach as a
basis for promotion have been treated widely. The pay and
promotion of professional personnel are well documented.
Federal legislation related to position classification and


subjects such as average grade escalation in the federal
service, and wage comparability between federal and private
sector employees.
The search for material to be used in the analyses
provided much useful information. This information included
national issues during the study period; federal salary
structures and consumer price index data; national surveys
of engineering salaries; institutional and program data re-
lated to the Johnson Space Center; and specific memoranda,
directives, policies, procedures, and studies pertinent to
promotions within the study group.
The basic material on promotion and related topics
has been organized into three categories; promotion, posi-
tion classification and pay. The rationale for the selec-
tion of these categories is inherent in the general defini-
tion of promotion. The two identifying characteristics of
promotion are increased salary and increased responsibility.
The increased salary characteristics lead directly to pay as
a subject, with the terms salary and pay being used inter-
changeably. Increased responsibility leads to the subject
of position classification as a basic system for establish-
ing, and differentiating between levels of responsibility,
thereby providing a framework for promotion.
The section on promotion identifies a number of
definitions of promotion as presented in the literature, the
several types of promotions most significant to the study,


36
and other forms of salary actions. Position classification
is defined and described, and its historical development in
the federal service is summarized. A brief critique of the
system is presented including its alleged benefits and
shortcomings. These shortcomings are expanded upon in the
context of a discussion of average grade escalation in the
federal service, difficulties in implementing position clas-
sification for professional work, and an alternative to
classification utilized in parts of the private sector.
The discussion of pay in the federal service in-
cludes a description of the federal salary structure, and
its relation to the position classification system. Impor-
tant events in the history of federal compensation are pre-
sented, including the critical pay issues of the 60s and
70s. They include the legislation to achieve and maintain
pay comparability between federal and private sector em-
ployees for equivalent work; and the inflation rates of the
70s which played a major role in determining salary adjust-
ments .
Promotion
Most individuals have an understanding of the term
promotion in some form or another. The present section
draws on existing literature to establish a definition of
promotion for purposes of the present study. The several
types of promotions are probably less well understood, and
\


37
consequently those types of particular significance to the
study are identified and described. Finally, other forms of
salary actions are summarized.
Definition
A definition of promotion was presented in the pro-
ceeding chapter as "the process of advancing employees to
positions that usually carry more responsibilities and
c fi 7 ft
greater salaries."3 Sibson,9 French, and McBeath present
similar definitions. Belcher implies a similar definition
with the statement that "the promotional increase provides
the incentive to prepare for and accept the responsibilities
q
of higher level jobs." Patten recognizes dry and wet pro-
motions, without and with increased salaries respectively,
without specifically defining the term.^
Henrici also refrains from a specific definition of
promotion, seeing it as a cloudy matter.^ In lieu of a
definition he identifies a number of working rules asso-
12
ciated with promotional increases in salary.
The Federal Personnel Manual defines promotion as:
the change of an employee to a position at a
higher grade level within the same classifica-
tion system and pay schedule, or to a position
with a higher rate of basic pay in a different
job classification system and pay schedule.13
For purposes of the present study a promotion will be asso-
ciated with increased salary and responsibility and will be
manifested in the federal system by a change to a higher
grade.


38
Types of Promotion
The literature refers to a number of types of promo-
tion. A review of the individual definitions indicate that
there are more different names of promotions than there are
actually different types.
Sibson identifies the traditiona and administrative
types of promotion. He defines the traditional promotion as
a move from one job to a different job in a higher salary
grade. The administrative promotion involves the employee
staying in the same job with additional roles and responsi-
14
bilities. These types of promotion parallel those identi-
fied in the Federal Personnel Manual as merit and career
promotions, respectively. The merit promotion is identified
as one involving competitive selection to a higher grade,
made solely on the basis of job related qualifications with-
out regard to sex, race, or religion.15 Sibson's definition
of the traditional promotion does not spell out the use of
competitive procedures, nor lack of discriminating prac-
tices, but it does not preclude these features in the promo-
tion process. The career promotion involves the reclassifi-
cation of a position to a higher grade with more responsi-
bilities, thereby allowing the individual occupying the
position to be promoted to a higher grade, without competi-
tive procedures. The career type of promotion appears to be
quite similar to Sibson's administrative promotion. The
career or administrative promotion is of primary interest to


39
the present study, since the great majority of the promo-
tions received by the study group are of this type.
In a subsequent section it will be seen that promo-
tions are a form of salary increase, there being a number of
others. The reason for raising the subject in the present
context is that Henrici, who considered the definition of
promotion as a cloudy matter, described another type of
salary increase, the progressive increase, in a manner which
would make it similar to the career promotion as defined
above. He refers to successive stages of progress, such as
identified by the position titles of junior engineer, inter-
mediate engineer, and senior engineer; and states that prog-
ress may depend on passage of a specific time period, demon-
stration of personal ability, increasingly complex work
activities, and reduced supervision.^
A further reason for identifying the progressive in-
crease, and its relationship to career promotions, is the
use of career curves as a procedure for determining salary
increases for professional employees. In a later discussion
of this topic, it will be seen that employees receive salary
increases as a function of time since receipt of degree,
according to a curve developed from surveys of salaries in
similar organizations.1^ These increases have some of the
characteristics of the progressive increase and the career
promotion. The latter appears to place more emphasis on
documenting changes in titles and responsibilities, but such


40
documentation is not incompatible with the career-curve
approach. It is clear that the career curve is associated
with salary increases greater than those associated with
within-grade step increases in the federal service, and do
constitute a form of promotion plan for professionals in
specialized, but not supervisory or management, positions.
18
Several other types of promotions are noted. The
competitive promotion is similar to the merit promotion
without the specified emphasis on nondiscriminatory prac-
tices. Horizontal promotion involves advancement
within a basic job category. Since this type of promotion is
within the basic job category, it would appear that such
advancement is more akin to a within-grade, or merit salary
increase than a promotion as discussed above, and considered
herein.
Other Types of Salary Actions
Promotion in a number of texts was considered to be
a form of salary action. Sibson and Henrici both identify
promotion within this framework. The various types of sal-
ary actions identified by these two authors are summarized
in the following paragraphs for comparison and contrast with
the promotion type or salary action.
Sibson identifies the general increase which involves
salary or wage adjustments for all employees, or for a group
or class of workers. In recent years the cost-of-living ad-


41
justment (COLA) has been a common example of the general in-
crease. Individual salary actions, for a given position,
may be approached from the standpoint of single rate, auto-
matic, informal, or merit pay. Single rate is utilized
where all employees work to the same standard, and except
for a relatively short start-up period there is little op-
portunity for distinction between employees performance.
The automatic increase is an increase granted as a function
of time or experience. It generally requires relatively
well defined standards of work performance for each in-
crease. The informal approach, as the term implies, leaves
the salary action to the judgment of the supervisor without
formal guides or controls. The merit pay approach is based
on a direct tie between performance and compensation. It
assumes that relative performance can be observed, if not
IQ
measured accurately.13
Other salary actions identified by Sibson include
demotions, or reductions, and inequity increases. Their
purpose is inherent in their titles. Finally there is the
concept of career pay which reflects a series of individ-
ual salary actions over a significant period of time. This
area of compensation is noted to have received little study;
however, there are characteristic career salary curves asso-
ciated with different types of positions and professions.
Career pay information is useful as a reference in taking
20
individual salary actions.


Henrici identifies nine different types of salary
increases. The promotion and the progression increases have
already been discussed. His salary curve adjustment cor-
responds to Sibson's general increase, while the tenure
increase has a time dependency as does Sibson's automatic
approach. Both writers include the merit, reevaluation
(inequity), and negative (demotion) actions. Henrici also
21
identifies the transfer and temporary action.
Position Classification in the Federal Service
The Concept
Promotion, as previously defined, involves increased
responsibility and increased salary. Increased responsibil-
ity implies the need to differentiate the job responsibility
before and after the promotion. A system for defining and
categorizing the different levels of responsibility is posi-
tion classification. This system not only involves the use
of standards for classifying levels of responsibility for a
given type of position, but also provides the means by which
greatly differing types of positions can be equated for pur-
poses of providing equitable pay for equivalent levels of
work and responsibility.
Position classification may be specifically defined
as a:
process of using formal job descriptions to
organize all jobs in a given organization
into classes on the basis of duties and
responsibilities for the purpose of de-
lineating authority, establishing chains of 2?
command, and providing equitable salary scales/


43
It is part of an overall process which generally includes job
design, job analysis, and job evaluation as prerequisites.
The subject of position classification is an
important aspect of the field of personnel management. Much
has been written to describe and assess position
classification. It is not the intent of the present study to
present a comprehensive review of this subject, nor to expand
the basic knowledge of position classification. It is
intended to provide an overview adequate to illustrate its
relationship to the subject of promotion, and to provide
insight for a subsequent analysis of factors affecting the
promotion pattern. The overview will emphasize position
classification within the federal service. For those
interested in more information than this overview provides,
Baruch's Position Classification in the Public Service;^ the
Suskin edited Job Evaluation and Key Administration in the
24
Public Sector; and Shafritz' Position Classification: A
Behavioral Analysis for the Public Service^ are recommended.
The Baruch book is considered the authoritative work on the
subject; the Suskin effort provides a how-to-do-it
description; and Shafritz contributes a current critical
analysis of the subject.
Position classification is an inherent feature of
promotion administration in the federal service, although
its use is not restricted to this organization. Basically
position classification procedures are used to establish the


44
grade level of given positions, prior to the filling of the
position through merit promotion procedures. In the case of
career promotions, position classification standards are
applied to determine if the position may be reclassified to
26
a higher grade level. The following paragraphs provide a
brief history of the evolution of position classification in
the federal service.
Historical Development
Within the federal service salaries were initially
determined by the congress or the administration. This
approach allegedly rsulted in a certain amount of favoritism
and inequality. Consequently the early interest in a
classification system was basically to remedy real, or
perceived, wrongs. Classification Acts of 1853, 1854, and
1855 established four classes for clerical workers, and
directed all departments in Washington to group their
clerical employees accordingly. In 1888 the Civil Service
Commission (CSC) recommended a new uniform departmental
classification system. Although the recommendation was
accepted by President Cleveland, it had little effect other
than to establish the Commission's jurisdiction in this
?7
area. The CSC advocated legislative action for a position
classification system in 1902, 1903, and 1908. Presidents
Roosevelt and Taft were sympathetic to the concept, however,
Congress was not. Alternatively, Congress created the
Division of Efficiency in 1912 to develop efficiency ratings


45
on the premises of standard salaries for similar work. The
U.S. Commission on Economy and Efficiency in 1913
recommended the amendment of the Civil Service laws with
respect to "classification of positions according to the
work to be done." In 1919 Congress finally approved the
appointment of the Joint Commission on Reclassification of
Salaries and requested that a study on pay and
classification be completed by January 1920. The report
documented the inequalities in the existing system and laid
the cause to the lack of a classification system. After
extended congressional consideration the Classification Act
OO
of 1923 was passed.
The Act of 1923 provided that "in determining the
rate of compensation which an exmployee shall receive, the
principle of equal compensation for equal work, regardless
of sex shall be followed." The Act, however, was initially
limited to federal workers in Washington, D.C. In 1938
President Roosevelt extended the coverage to the extent to
which he was empowered to do, which involved some forty-five
thousand additional positions. The Ramspect Act of 1940
provided authority to cover thousands of other positions not
?9
previously covered by the Act. The act of 1923 although
implemented in a hit or miss manner marked a major
milestone in federal personnel administration. It
continued, with amendments, to be the basis for the
operating system until supplanted by the Classification Act


46
Of 1949.
The Act of 1949 created three new grades, GS16,
GS17, and GS18; it empowered the Civil Service Commission to
supervise position classification by means of post audit; and
provided the Commission with unprecedented authority to
enforce its findings, should such prove necessary. The Act
of 1949, with amendments, interpretations, and supplements
remains the principle legal authority for classifying
30
positions within the federal government.
In 1967, the House Committee on Post Office and
Civil Service ordered a comprehensive review of position
classification. The subsequent report found that many
believed the system was not providing the basis for good
personnel management; that the system had not been adapted,
maintained, or administered to meet changing needs; and that
classification was not being used as a management tool, but
31
often only as a basis for fixing pay.
The findings of the report led to the passage of the
Job Evaluation Policy Act of 1970. The Act included in its
provisions a call for a coordinated classification system
for all civilian positions, and that the Civil Service
Commission should exercise general supervision and control
of the system; and that a plan for the implementation of
32
such as system be provided by the Commission in two years.
The plan was developed and presented in January 1972. It is
presented in the Oliver Report, named after the director of


47
the task force, Philip M. Oliver, which had produced it.
The most critical finding of the report is summarized by
Oliver as follows:
The Task Force concept of management is built
around three basic principles of responsibil-
ity and accountability; that is, a person is
considered to be a manager when he is dele-
gated program, budget and people accountabil-
ity. Wherever this level of management exists
within the many agencies in the Federal gov-
ernment, it is here that the final decision-
making authority should rest for job evalua-
tion and pay administration. Individual per-
sonnel offices, no longer having this decision-
making authority would rightly become service
and consultative offices to managers, aiding
them in their decision-making by providing
guidance in job structuring, organization plan-
ning, manpower utilization, etc. 33
This report also recommended a factor-ranking/benchmark
approach to job classification. In December 1975 the Civil
Service Commission approved the implementation of the factor
evaluation system, to be implemented over a five year
period.
The Mechanics of the System
All positions in the federal service are categorized by
group. There are twenty-one groups ranging from
Miscellaneous GS000 to Transportation GS2100. Each
group is divided into a number of series. For example,
Civil Engineer is a series within the Engineering and
Architecture group. Descriptive information, or standards,
are provided at the series level for each grade. It is this
descriptive information which provides the position


classifier with the basis for classifying a position at a
particular grade level. The detail of the information, or
standards, varies widely for the different groups. In
general, the standards have been written as long narratives,
with varying formats. The eight basic factors generally
used in the classification process do not apply to all
34
occupations. Problems such as these led to the
recommendation and adoption of the Factor Evaluation System.
The Factor Evaluation System involves the use of nine basic
factors applicable to all occupations, standards and
position descriptions written in a uniform factor format,
with points identified for all standards. As noted earlier
35
this system is in the process of implementation.
A Critique of the System
The position classification system has received both
praise and criticism over the years, ranging from Stahl's
identification of the process as a "foundation for personal
36
administration" to Sayre's comnent that it represents a 37
37
"triumph of technique over purpose." From the perspective
of the Civil Service Commission in 1976, it was noted that:
classification provides a system for controlling
salaries that is important to management in terms
of its need for fiscal integrity, and in providing
a systematic salary structure equitable to the
employees affected.
Position grouping is also considered critical in relation to
recruiting, examining, placement, promotion, transfer,
training requirements, and reductions in force. Position


49
descriptions provide supervisors with closer control, by
providing written records of the assignment of duties and
responsibilities, and by providing a convenient basis for
checking employees performance. Classification activities
are also seen to provide the additional advantages of a
uniform titling practice, a basis for statistical
OQ
information, and assistance in organizational planning.
Criticism of the system involves misplaced emphasis, the
lack of linkage between performance and reward, questionable
accuracy, and the encouragement of activities to circumvent
the system. The intentional disregard of individual
employee characteristics in classifying a position is seen
as misplaced emphasis; as is the primary concern of
conforming to rules without regard to consequences of
actions, management needs, or excessive limitations or
mangement discretion. The lack of a performance reward
link is noted with pay scales for the various position
classifications being determined at a higher, and distant,
level; limited discretion by line managers over salary
increases and promotions; and internal inequities and
blocked advancement resulting from overly restrictive
classification plans. The accuracy of the system is
questioned in the context of inflated guideposts, the
relative ease of empire building, and the artificial
distinctions in pay created by excessive levels in a plan,
where real distinction in work does not exist.


A number of these factors are alleged to result in
overgrading of employees, leading to an increase in the
average grade of federal employees. This subject is
discussed in the following section.
Average Grade Escalation
A continuing increase in the average grade level of
federal employees, over a number of years, is referred to as
average grade escalation. Grade escalation has been a study
and controversy since at least the mid-50s. Various
agencies have attempted to control average grade increases,
and it has been a subject of Congressional attention.^
Berlin, in 1964, asserted that-
deliberate violation of requirements of civil
service standards is not prevalent.... ...On the
other hand...many agencies have not been con-
cerned with tight, cost-conscious organization of
work. ...this has been a far greater factor in
allowing unwarranted escalation, than the occa-
sional deliverate or mistaken application of
standards.41
From 1942 to 1949 the average grade increased from 3.93 to
5.25. From 1949 to 1956 the rate of increase was lower
resulting in a rise from 5.25 to 5.92. Berlin used these
relative increases to argue that relaxation of Civil Service
Commission Controls in 1949 was not the cause of escalation.
He associated the increase, based on Commission studies,
with the nations total expanding economy, and noted that it
has occurred since the start of the system, and exists
42
outside of government as well as within.


A report on grade trends of federal civilian employment
showed that the average grade continued to increase from the
mid 50s in the 60s, with a specific increase from 7.3 to 7.4
43
in 1968. In 1970 the average grade had increased to 7.9,
and in 1971 the Office of Management and Budget (0MB) noted
that "there is considerable evidence that many federal
agencies have failed to exercise adequate control over their
staffing for higher level positions."44 The Tax Foundation
in 1973, noted the continuing increase, and cited reasons
advanced in justification of the grade escalation trend.
These included the need for higher skilled personnel to
reflect technological changes, such as the increased use of
computers. Many types of developing federal programs, such
as space, health research, and environmental protection were
seen to require highly skilled professionals. Programs
involving increased aid to state and local jurisdictions
implied greater numbers of supervisory level personnel at
the federal level, with more of the routine, and lower
graded work, being carried out by state and local government
employees,4^
The General Accounting Office (GAO) summarized the
history of grade escalation from 1949 to 1975 showing a
generally continuing increase with the exception of
plateaus from 1964 to 1968 at approximatley 7.5, and from
1970 to 1974 at approximately 7.9. The GAO report
attributed the overall increase primarily to the reasons


cited above in the Tax Foundation Report. Despite these reasons,
the report stated that "Nevertheless, the increase in grade
average has caused concern."4
The results of Civil Service Commission studies related
to classification, were reviewed and the instances of overgrading
noted. The magnitude and pervasiveness of overgrading were
stated to be unknown, and the Civil Service Commission pointed
out that its study results could not be used to generalize a
specific error rate for the total federal service.4^ The GAO
report recommended action by agency heads and the Civil Service
Commission. Agency heads were encouraged to recognize the need
for effective position management and classification systems,
training of managers and classifiers, and managers responsibility
for the operation of the system. It was recommended that the
Civil Service Commission keep pressure on the agencies, monitor
the effectiveness of actions taken to evaluate the classification
systems, and update classification standards and keep them
+ 48
current.
The studies and reports referred to above indicate a
continuing interest and concern regarding average grade
escalation. While this concern is often addressed to the
position classification system, it is directly linked to and
motivated by the concern over the increasing total cost of
federal salaries.
The link between grade escalation and promotion are of


specific interest to the present study. Concern with
average grade escalation, and associated costs, potentially
leads to controls and constraints on grades, and therefore
controls and constraints on promotions. The maintenance of
an average grade for a mature, or static, organization may
have minimum consequences. For a growing organization which
is still filling its intermediate and senior positions by
promotion, it can be a serious restriction. It may also be
a problem in the case of career promotions, where the promo-
tion is normally granted as the individual matures in expe-
rience and increases contributions in a given position.
By extension, grade controls lead to the significance of the
journeyman level grade. The journeyman level grade, in the
present context, is that grade which most personnel may ex-
pect to achieve through increased contribution, without re-
quiring the availability of a specific vacancy. The jour-
neyman level therefore has a close relationship to the
career promotion concept, although some career promotions go
beyond the journeyman level. In organizations such as those
involving research and development, career promotions are
common, and promotion to the journeyman level represents
normal career progression. In such a situation the number
of employees at the journeyman grade play a large part in
determining the average grade. The journeyman grade is also
likely to play a role in the grade of personnel supervising
the journeymen. The journeymen grade in research and devel-


54
opment activities can be difficult to accurately determine
and classify, presenting a challenge to the manager and the
classifier,5 and frequently leading to conflict between the
two. It is not difficult to envision a perceived lag in
federal salary scales leading to pressure to increase the
journeyman grade level to accommodate the need for a salary
increase.
Difficulties with classifying certain professional
positions, such as those in research and development, has
led to the development of an alternate approach as discussed
in the following section. This approach is primarily used
in the private sector, although it has certain application
in the federal sector at the operating level.
An Alternate Approach
The study group is Composed entirely of profession-
als, primarily engineers and a few physicists, chemists,
mathameticians, and other scientific disciplines. These
professionals are engaged in research and development activ-
ity ranging from hands-on, in-house, analytical and test
activities to supporting the management of large scale de-
velopments being conducted under contract.5^ Two concepts
related to promotion have previously been mentioned that are
significantly, if not uniquely, related to a group with the
professional, and research and development, characteristics
of the study group. These are the career promotion, and the
career-curve approach. The former recognizes development


55
and increased contributions by an individual within a posi-
tion as a basis for promotion, with appropriate reclassifi-
52
cation of the position. The career-curve approach is a
practice, based on experience, age, and/or education, to de-
termine entry and subsequent salaries for professional em-
ployees. Henderson refers to the career, or maturity, curve
approach and its use in the following manner:
The maturity curve method has been used principally
in the professional field where jobs defy precise
description. In fact, the professional jobs depend
to a great degree on what the job holders them-
selves decide to do at a particular time. The jobs
have been broad and loose limits, and the pay of
individual workers depends on how well they perform
the broad range of job assignments.^3
The career-curve approach is an alternate to the traditional
job definition, evaluation, and classification approach
widely used for many jobs, and currently used for all jobs
in the federal service. The present section will present
some of the concepts related to the compensation of profes
sionals, and a discussion of the application of the career-
curve approach to professional advancement.
Modern compensation literature provides special
attention to issues associated with the compensation of
professionals. The present discussion draws primarily on
the treatment of the subject by Belcher and Sibson. Belcher
presents typical objectives of a compensation plan for pro-
fessionals, resulting from an analysis of compensation pro-
grams and practices of some organizations. They include the
attraction of competent personnel, the retainment of quali-
I


fied personnel, the provision of incentives for performance,
the provision of incentives for development, and the protec-
tion of the interests of the claimants of the organization.
He identifies salary as the basic element of a professional
compensation plan based upon its use as the major determin-
ant of the standard of living; a measure of status; a con-
venient unit of comparison; and a determinant of eligibil-
ity, and sometimes amount, of other elements of compensa-
54
tion, such as pensions.
Both Belcher and Sibson recognize the need for par-
ticular consideration in the compensation of professionals.
Sibson approaches it from the standpoint that professional
work is different from other types of work. The application
of learned knowledge is seen as the essence of professional
work, with this knowledge acquired through prolonged periods
of formal study. For example, engineers and research scien-
tists require advanced knowledge in a recognized field of
55
academic study.
Professional work involves a number of unique char-
acteristics. The enterprise was the knowledge of the pro-
fessional, as opposed to his time or physical output. His
knowledge represents an asset of the enterprise. The pro-
fessional job usually involves choices of what to do, and
how to proceed; and the customer (or taxpayer), as a layman,
is usually buying on confidence in the professional. Final-
ly, the professional has the dual goal of helping to achieve


57
financial well-being for the firm, while simultaneously
achieving a high caliber of professional work.^
According to Sibson, these characteristics lead to
particular compensation practices for professionals, with a
focus on career pay geared to professional growth. He sees
the traditional methods of job description and job evalua-
tion as being rarely used, because of the difficulty of de-
scribing such jobs in a specific way, and the impossibility
of identifying factors and degrees of factors which meaning-
fully differentiate among the values of professional work.
If job descriptions are used for professionals, they are
seen to involve the following characteristics. The modified
functional job description identifies the various tasks per-
formed by the professional, as illustrations of the func-
tions performed. The generic description attempts to define
levels of professional work involved. The work sample lists
assignments completed, with emphasis on the highest level
57
demonstrated.
Belcher, writing some years earlier, is more posi-
tive regarding the use of traditional methods of job evalua-
tion for professionals, while recognizing its problems. At
that time he attributed the lack of good job descriptions to
the relative short time in which professionals had been in-
volved in industry in significant numbers; to management
wishes to make maximum use of their knowledge; and to the
fact that the jobs reflected the contributions of the indi-


CO
viduals involved. The job evaluation process is seen by
Belcher to be made difficult since the professional man
makes the job; work assignments vary greatly over short time
periods; the importance of technology requires incentives to
remain in technical as opposed to management positions; and
professional competence is required in the supervision of
59
professionals. Belcher notes that in using the tradition-
al process, best results are obtained when a special system
for professionals is utilized; when only four or five goals
are utilized; and when work related factors are utilized.^
He notes the successful experience of Hay and Associates in
using the guide chart profile method.
Belcher, Sibson and others present the career-curve
approach to defining the salaries of professionals, as an
alternate to the more traditional method. This approach
assumes that after education, professional employees will
progress within their disciplines at some standard rate as
they acquire experience in this field. This progress is de-
scribed as a curve, determined by plotting average salary
against number of years since completion of education. The
salary data is developed on the basis of surveys. The em-
ployees salary is determined by reading the curve for the
appropriate number of years. Since there is a difference of
ability amongst individuals for a given number of years ex-
perience, several curves are utilized, each representing a
different level, or rating, of employee proficiency. The


supervisor is assumed to determine the appropriate level, or
CO
curve, for each employee.
Sibson sees the curve, based on surveys, as repre-
senting a market approach, and the various curves represent-
ing grades, or levels, with years experience substituted for
judgments of job difficulty or importance. The approach is
seen to concentrate managers thinking on individual progress
63
and contribution, and has proven to be practical. Belcher
voices less enthusiasm for the approach as evidenced by the
following statement:
Paying individuals without reference to jobs almost
automatically leads to pay based on seniority be-
cause comparing people without a reference is the
equivalent of playing God.64
He identifies four reasons for the adoption of the
career-curve approach by a number of technically oriented
companies. These include the fact that the demand for engi-
neers and scientists has forced entry rates to within a
small margin of those paid for several years experience;
that available, and applicable, salary surveys present sal-
aries in terms of years of education and experience; the
difficulty of evaluating professional jobs; and the char-
acteristics of existing methods of placing more weight on
managerial work, causing professionals to leave discipline
65
work for managerial work to achieve greater compensation.
Belcher notes that the effectiveness of the career-
curve approach depends on the ability to appraise and assign
the individual to the appropriate curve; and that the lack


of job descriptions and performance standards, will cast
doubt on the accuracy of the supervisors efforts in this re-
gard. Without such a solid basis for appraisal, he sees the
supervisor being encouraged to base increases on straight
seniority. 66
In a positive vein, Belcher suggests a combination
of the traditional and the career-curve approaches. He
would assign an employee to a job, and a salary progression
curve based on the employees work history. Based on a sub-
sequent job performance appraisal, it would be determined if
the individual is on the proper curve, and whether he is
performing at the capacity indicated by the curve. The in-
dividual would then remain on the assigned curve, or be
moved to a more appropriate curve, and salary and promotion
decisions made accordingly.^
The purpose of the foregoing discussion has been to
provide insight into the difficulties associated with estab-
lishing levels of professional pay, problems with the tradi-
tional position classification system, and a major alterna-
tive approach that has been used rather widely amongst tech-
nically oriented organizations. As noted earlier the posi-
tion classification system, or the traditional approach, is
used in the federal service in the sense that a change in
grade, or promotion, requires a change in classification.
The existence of the career promotion, however, based on ex-
perience and increased contribution in a given position, in-


dicates that the individual does play a significant role in
the classification, or reclassification, of a given position
68
in the federal service. It is also noted that promotions
at the more junior grades are usually time dependent to a
degree, thereby, having characteristics of the career-curve
approach. A further indication of the use of the career-
curve approach, or variations thereof, within the study
group is the important role played by a combination of a
forced ranking process, coupled with minimum waiting periods
between promotions. For example, an individual ranked in
the top ten percent was required to wait a prescribed time
period before being eligible for promotion to a given grade.
The time between promotions could be converted to a career
curve, with the different percentile groups providing the
basis for a series of such curves. While this procedure
played a significant role in the promotion process during a
part of the study period, the promotion was always accom-
panied by reclassification of the position. Such reclassi-
fication could be looked upon as associated paperwork, or
certification of the correctness of the promotion. The
ranking process-minimum waiting period guidelines procedure
is described in greater detail in Chapter IV, Promotion Ad-
ministration, and in Appendix B.
Pay
Pay, or salary, is a form of compensation.. The


terms pay and salary are used Interchangeably in the present
study. Other forms of compensation include bonuses and
fringe benefits with the latter being provided in many dif-
ferent ways.^ The present study is limited to a considera-
tion of pay, or salary, with occasional reference to other
forms of compensation. Salary is defined as that financial
remuneration provided to the employee at regular intervals.^
For professional employees salary is generally referred to
in annual terms.
There were a number of types of salary increases
previously described. One of the types is promotion, and a
characteristic of promotion is increased salary. The in-
creased salary is a tangible effect of a promotion, and its
quantitative nature provides a means of evaluating the pro-
motion pattern, and advancement climate, of a particular
group or organization with that of another similar group.
It also provides an indication of how well the promotion
pattern, in concert with a changing pay structure, has ac-
commodated economic conditions, such as high inflation
rates.
The interest of the present study is with federal
employees, and therefore with the federal pay structure and
the interaction of pay and promotion. The present section
describes the federal salary structure and how it relates to
position classification; and important events in federal
compensation, leading up to legislation in the 60s and 70s.


This legislation was directed towards achieving and main-
taining comparability of salaries between federal and pri-
vate sector employees performing equivalent work. Finally
the subject of inflation rates during the study period will
be discussed; these rates being a prime factor in determin-
ing the yearly comparability adjustment.
Federal Salary Structure 72 73
The position classification system is not intended
to be a pay plan/* The system, however, can provide the
framework, or structure, to which pay is referenced. The
Classification Act of 1949 established eighteen grades in
72
the General Schedule. The General Schedule is one of
several federal schedules covering civilian employees.
There are a number of other schedules such as those for the
U.S. Foreign Service, and doctors, dentists, and nurses in
73
the Veterans Administration. There is also the Executive
Schedule for the cabinet, congress, judiciary, and agency
executives/4 The General Schedule is by far the largest,
and includes the study group with the exception of a small
number of individuals now in the Senior Executive Service.
Each of the eighteen grades of the General Schedule
includes a number of within-grade steps, usually ten. A
promotion involves movement from one group to a higher
grade. The movement from one step to the next higher step
within a grade is not a promotion, although it is accom-
panied by a salary increase. There is a prescribed waiting


period for movement to the next higher step. The period is
one year between steps one, two, three, and four; two years
between steps four, five, six, and seven; and three years
between steps seven, eight, nine, and ten. The step move-
ment requires an appraisal of satisfactory performance. A
quality-step increase may be awarded for outstanding per-
formance, in addition to the specified time-dependent in-
75
crease.
Congress establishes, or provides procedures for,
establishing pay for each grade and for each step within the
grade. The establishment of pay is independent of the posi-
tion classification process. The use of the classification
structure, and the handling of pay and classification has
been so intertwined within the government, however, that
criticism was often directed at the classification system
that more appropriately should have been directed toward
federal pay.76
The following section provides a short summary of
important events in federal compensation, leading up to
legislation enacted during the study period, and of particu-
lar importance to the study.
Federal Compensation Legislation
In 1840 President Van Buren established the ten hour
work day for federal employees on public work without reduc-
tion in pay; and in 1868 Congress enacted legislation estab-
lishing the eight hour work day for government laborers,


workmen, and mechanics. Between 1875 and 1887 pension
plans, paid vacation, and profit sharing plans were intro-
duced in American industry. The first workman's compensa-
tion law for federal employees was enacted in 1908, followed
by the Civil Service Retirement Act of 1920. The 30s wit-
nessed the passage of legislation providing for payment of
prevailing wage-rates to laborers and mechanics in federal
construction projects (Davis-Bacon Act); the establishment
of the first national labor policy to protect the rights of
workers to organize and to elect their representatives for
collective bargaining (National Labor Relations Act); the
provision of old-age, survivors, and disability insurance
(Social Security Act); the establishment of wage and labor
standards on government contracts of $10,000 or more (Walsh-
Healey Act); and the establishment of the forty-hour week, a
minimum hourly wage, and overtime pay for employees in in-
terstate commerce (Fair Labor Standards Act) 7^
Legislation in the 40s included the Wage and Salary
Stabilization Act, passed during World War II, which froze
wages; and the Labor-Management Relations Act (Taft-Hartley)
which guaranteed labor the right to collective bargaining on
wages, hours and working conditions. Automatic cost-of-
living wage adjustments and guaranteed annual wage increases
were included in a four year contract between General Motors
and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO) in 19507
In the 1960s federal employee unions were granted


66
the right to bargain collectively with government agencies,
but not to strike; pay difference based on sex was pro-
hibited (Equal Pay Act); and the Service Contract Act pro-
vided protection for employees of contractors furnishing
79
services to federal agencies.
Of particular significance to the present study, is
the Federal Salary Reform Act of 1962, which formally ex-
pressed the principle of pay comparability between federal
and private employees, and called for an annual report com-
paring federal statutory rates with salaries for similar
work in the private sector. This Act was followed by the
Federal Pay Comparability Act of 1970 which established pro-
cedures for adjusting pay by executive action, thereby
eliminating the need for new legislation to affect changes
in federal salaries. These two acts and the associated
effects on pay will be discussed further in subsequent para-
graphs.
Additional compensation activities in the 70s in-
cluded the establishment and abolishment of a Pay Board,
authorized under the Economic Stabilization Act, whose func-
tion was to set and administer wage and salary policies; the
passage of an Act to establish the Pension Benefit Guaranty
Corporation (Employment Retirement Income Security Act);8* and
the passage of the Wage and Price Stability Act which au-
thorized the President to establish a Council on Wage and
Price Controls.


Wage Comparability
The preceeding synopsis of historical events in the
field of federal compensation included the Federal Salary
Reform Act of 1962 and the Federal Pay Comparability Act of
1970. Both of these acts deal with external comparability,
or comparability of pay in the federal service and in pri-
83
vate industry for similar work. The present section will
describe the background leading up to these acts, and prob-
lems associated with their implementation. This discussion
will serve as background for the assessment to be presented
in Chapter VII comparing the salaries of the study group
with those performing similar activities in private industry
and across the federal government.
The Classification Act of 1923 and 1949 emphasized
the achievement of "equal pay for equal work" within the
federal service. The primary concern was to achieve inter-
nal alignment amongst, and across positions in the federal
service. The goal was to assure that all jobs in equal dif-
ficulty and responsibility would be at the same grade level.
Since the federal pay structure was tied to grades, the re-
sult was that jobs classified equally as to grade were paid
equally.^ Pay for the various grades was determined by
Congress under the Classification Act of 1923. There were
no overall adjustments in the pay structure from 1930 to
1945. The Pay Acts of 1945, 1948, and 1949 resulted in
greater percentage increases at the lower grades. Specific


68
constraints in 1946 and 1951 had a similar effect. The rate
changes in 1955 and 1958 were for a given percentage of
existing pay, thereby maintaining the compression between
salaries at higher and lower grades established by the ear-
lier actions. The relatively limited percentage increase at
the higher grades also resulted in a widening gap between
QC
federal and private sector salaries.
These actions resulted in recruitment and retention
problems, but it also alleged to have caused abuse in the
classification system. Average grade escalation, as dis-
cussed earlier,.was ascribed, to some extent, to overclas-
sifying to provide higher pay to accommodate for the lag-
QC
ging federal pay rates.
By the late 50s it was becoming evident that the ex-
ternal misalignment was threatening the internal alignment
of the federal system through pressure to raise grades; and
because of certain legislative changes specifically develop-
ed to solve parts of the external problem, such as starting
87
salaries for professionals. The resulting concern led to
numerous studies by various committees and commissions, in-
cluding the Hoover Commission of 1949 and 1955, and the
Gardiner, Young, and O'Connell Committees between 1956 and
1958. All groups concluded that federal pay should be com-
petitive with that of the private sector. Subsequent inter-
nal government studies led to a bill submitted by the Presi-
dent to Congress in 1962. The Federal Salary Reform Act of


69
1962 resulted from these activities. It provided for com-
parability between government and industry salaries, and for
88
linkage between the several federal salary systems.
By 1967 Congress had provided the means for estab-
lishing comparability in fact as well as in concept. They
provided for a retroactive 4.5 percent increase in 1967, and
gave the President authority to make additional adjustments
in 1968 and 1969 to achieve full comparability. Subsequent
proposals were made to allow the President to make continued
changes in pay scales to maintain comparability. The Fed-
eral Pay Comparability Act of 1970 resulted. The Act pro-
vides for a president's agent to prepare an annual report on
comparability, with recommended adjustments. This report is
prepared after consultation with representatives of employee
unions. An Advisory Committee on Federal Pay subsequently
provides a report to the President, based on a review of the
agents input, union views, and other pertinent informa-
tion. The President then publishes a comparability adjust-
ment by October 1st, or submits an alternate plan to Con-
gress by September 1st. The Act provides for the submission
of an alternate plan in case of a national emergency or
economic conditions affecting the general welfare. The
alternate plan becomes effective on October 1st, unless
either house disapproves it within the 30-day period, in
89
which case the comparability adjustment becomes effective.
During the period of 1972 through 1975, alternates


to the comparability adjustment were proposed. In 1972 an
amendment to the Economic Stabilization Act resulted in a
5.5 percent increase, rather than the recommended 6.5 per-
cent. In 1975 President Ford's recommendation of a 5.0 per-
cent increase, rather than the recommended 8.7 percent was
not approved. President Nixon's proposed postponement of
the October 1972 increase was rejected in Federal Court, and
90
his alternatives were disapproved in 1973 and 1974.
The means for achieving comparability, and the re-
sulting wage increases have resulted in continued discussion
and controversy throughout the 70s. In 1971 Gavett empha-
sized the likely growth of the concept despite implementa-
91
tion problems. The Tax Foundation in 1973 described and
discussed trends in the cost of federal personnel. The re-
port noted that pay policies resulting from legislation in
the 60s had offset reductions in the size of the federal
work force, and resulted in sharply rising costs since 1968.
It went on to state that the 13 increases in pay since 1962
presumably allowed achievement and maintenance of compar-
ability, and suggested that in some instances federal em-
ployees may be catching ahead rather than just catching
92
up.
A General Accounting Office report in 1975 directed
specific criticism at various aspects of the procedures for
calculating the comparability adjustment. It contained re-
commendations for more logical groupings of occupations,


71
geographic considerations, and the need for increased recog-
nition of the difference in performance of various employees
93
as they proceed through the pay schedule.
An article in the American Federationist in 1976 de-
scribed how Presidents Nixon and Ford used wording in the
Comparability Act to deny comparability adjustments.9^ As
noted earlier, Nixon's attempts were largely frustrated.
Havemann and Lanouette resummarized the comparabil-
ity issue in 1978, taking particular note of fringe benefits
and job security of federal employees, which are not favored
95
into the comparability equations. Reference was made to
an article by S. P. Smith in which she estimated the federal
pay advantage to be 13 to 20 percent in 1975.9 Civil Ser-
vice Commission officials took strong exception to Smith's
97
conclusions and the methodology used to develop them. The
General Accounting Office reported to Congress again in 1978
on problems associated with comparability procedures and
98
urged Congressional action.
Nelson-Horcher continued the debate on comparabil-
ity, discussing the proposition that federal employees are
paid more than those in the private sector, with more fre-
quent and higher increases, and with greater job security.
Of particular interest is information presented showing that
the 1980 medium pay of non-supervisory federal engineers was
greater than that of state, and metals and utilities engi-
neers, but less than that paid to engineers in the electron-


72
99
ics, chemical, aerospace and petroleum industries. Presi-
dent Reagan's reform proposal was also described. The re-
form plan responded to criticisms over the years, and pro-
posed that benefits as well as pay be considered in deter-
mining comparability; that pay and benefit levels be set at
94 percent of non-federal levels; that state and local em-
ployees be included in the comparing procedures; that white
collar employees be placed on a locality pay scale; and that
certain features of the blue collar pay system be changed to
bring it into closer alignment with industry wage practices.*0
It is against such a background of legislative
changes in federal, pay scales and criticism of the proce-
dures used in determining these changes, that the present
study takes place. As noted earlier, an attempt will be
made to assess what the concept of comparability, and
actions associated with it, have meant to the members of the
present study group.
Inflation
The relation between the subject of promotion and
inflation is not readily apparent. A relation between pro-
motion and salary has been established, with increased sal-
ary being a characteristic of promotion. It has also been
noted that salary may change without promotion, but relative
salary is determined by the grade achieved through promo-
tion, or a series of promotions.
Increased salary, resulting from a promotion, is


73
considered both a reward and a motivator. The significance
of that reward and motivator is believed to be associated
with its size.10^ During the 70s the significance of salary
increases, associated with changing pay scales or promotion,
was obscured by the high inflation rates. A salary increase
might, or might not, have resulted in an actual increase in
buying power. Consequently, to effectively assess the pro-
motion pattern, using the measure of salary, inflation rates
must be taken into consideration. The following paragraphs
describe just what that inflation condition was that existed
in the study period.
The Consumer Price Index (CPI) is used to indicate
the levels of inflation that existed during the study
period. The CPI reflects the average change in the retail
price of a selected "basket" of consumer goods.102
The Consumer Price Index with its emphasis on price
changes in the goods and services commonly used by individ-
uals was selected for use in the present study to assess the
effects of inflation on the federal salary structure in
general, and study group salaries in particular. Specific
CFI data will be presented in a subsequent chapter. It will
be seen that the overall change in the value of the dollar
between 1960 and 1981 was from $1.13 to $0.37, emphasizing
the requirement to consider inflation in any salary analysis
. .. . . 103
of this period.


74
Summary
Promotion is seen to be associated with increased
salary and responsibility. Employees are promoted as they
develop and increase their contribution within a given posi-
tion, or when they are selected for a different, and higher
level position. The salary increase associated with promo-
tion is only one of a number of types of salary increase. A
cost-of-living increase is another well-known type of in-
crease in recent years. As a type of salary increase promo-
tion is generally treated within the broader field of com-
pensation, which in turn is a major element of the field of
personnel management. Through its association with in-
creased responsibility and increased salary, promotion is
specifically related to the subjects of position classifica-
tion and pay systems.
Position classification is a system which uses
standards to place all jobs into a series of levels or
grades. As such it provides a means of equating widely dif-
ferent jobs for the purposes of providing equal pay for
equal work. The levels, or grades, provide a framework
with which to associate pay rates. The levels equate to
levels of responsibility, thereby a promotion involves mov-
ing from one level to a different level, or a different
grade. The system has been widely acclaimed and criticized.
A particular area of criticism results from the fact that an
improper salary can result from overclassifying a position


through intent or mistake. Some critics associate the con-
tinuing rise in the average grade of federal employees with
improper administration of the classification system.
Others associate the increase to an expanding economy, and
the increased need for specialized, professional, and higher
graded personnel in the federal service. The system can be
difficult to administer, particularly in such areas as re-
search and development involving professional disciplines.
The difficulty is associated with precisely defining the
job, and the fact that the individual's characteristics,
capabilities, and contributions are primary determinants of
the job level, rather than a prescribed set of duties. Be-
cause of such difficulties alternate approaches have evolved
for determining salary increases and promotions for profes-
sional work. The most widely used alternate is the career-
curve approach in which the individuals salary is deter-
mined by a combination of years experience and assessed
level of proficiency and potential. The Position Classifi-
cation System is used throughout the federal service. How-
ever, promotion administration in the study group is seen to
incorporate certain features of the career-curve approach,
at certain time for certain grade levels, while still adher-
ing to the requirements of the position classification sys-
tem. One well known compensation authority suggests the
possible combination of the two approaches, thereby hopeful-
ly achieving the advantages of both.


76
Pay in the federal system is referenced to the
structure established by classification legislation. This
involves eighteen grades, with a number of steps within each
grade. Congress establishes the pay for each grade and
step, or provides the procedures by which it is established.
Major activities involving federal pay in the study period
involved legislation, and pay increases to achieve compara-
bility of pay between federal and private sector employees
performing equivalent work. These activities were followed
by legislation to maintain comparability, including proce-
dures that did not involve new legislation for each change
in pay. The subject of comparability, and its implementa-
tion procedures resulted in much criticism, including alle-
gations that federal salaries exceeded private sector sal-
aries in many instances. Based on a critique of the proce-
dures involved, various refinements have been, and continue
to be, incorporated. During the 70s the comparability ad-
justments were considerable. Although they were being made
comparable to private sector salaries, the factor driving
both federal and private salaries was the high inflation
rates, which tended to obscure the real significance of sal-
ary increases.
Promotions are a prime determinant of salaries since
they determine the employees grade, and salaries are assign-
ed to grades. Salaries, on the other hand, represent a
quantitative reflection of promotion which can be used to


compare with other groups performing similar work, and
thereby assess the promotion pattern. Similarly, salaries
are amenable to correction for inflation conditions, to al-
low a more realistic assessment of both the promotion pat-
tern and federal pay.
Promotions, position classification, and pay are
seen to be closely interrelated in a variety of ways. As a
minimum, the foregoing discussions provide a perspective
from which to view the empirical aspects of the study, and
to explain and rationalize some of the information developed
therein. The following chapter returns to the development
of the empirical aspects of the study with a description and
discussion of the particular group selected for study.


NOTES CHAPTER II
^DIALOG Database Catalog (Palo Alto, Calif.: Dialog
Information Services, Inc., July 1981).
2
Thomas H. Patten, Jr. and Robert M. Madigan, Com-
pensation Planning and Administration, A Bibliography, 1960-
1980 (Scottsdale, Arizona: American Compensation Association,
1981).
3
Compensation Review.
PersonnelT
Personnel Administrator.
Personnel Journal.
Public Personnel Management.
4
F. F. Ridley, "Career Service: A.Comparative Per-
spective on Civil Service Promotion", Public Administration,
Vol. 61, No. 2 (Summer, 1983), p. 179.
5
Jay M. Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Management
and Labor Relations (Oak Park, Illinois: Moore Publishing
Co., Inc., 1980), p. 277.
^Robert E. Sibson, Compensation, Rev. Ed. (New York:
AMACOM A Division of American Management Association, 1981),
p. 105.
^Wendell French, Personnel Management Process (Boston:
Houghton Mifflin, 1964), p. 160.
O
Gordon McBeath, Organization and Manpower Planning,
(London: Business Books, 1969), p. 236.
q
David W. Belcher, Wage and Salary. Administration,
2nd Ed. (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1962),
p. 546.
^Thomas H. Patten, Jr., Pay: Employee Compensation
and Incentive Plans (New York: The Free Press A Division
of MacMillan Pub. Co., 1977), p. 282.
^Stanley B. Henrici, Salary Management for the Non-
Special ist (New York: AMACOM A Division of American Manage-
ment Association, 1980), pp. 174-175.
12Ibid., p. 169.
U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Federal Per-
sonnel Manual, Chapter 335, "Promotion and Internal Placement",
25 October 1973, p. 3.


79
14
Sibson, Compensation, p. 105.
15
Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Management and
Labor Relations, pp. 209-210.
lfi
Henrici, Salary Management for the Non-Specialist,
p. 161.
Richard I. Henderson, Compensation Management:
Rewarding Performance, 3rd Ed. (Reston, Virginia: Reston
Publishing Co., Inc., 1982), p. 216.
18
Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Management and
Labor Relations, pp. 59, 140.
19
Sibson, Compensation, pp. 97-106.
2Ibid., pp. 106-108.
21
Henrici, Salary Management for the Non-Specialist,
pp. 160-175.
22
Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Management and
Labor Relations, p. 267.
23
Ismar Baruch, Position Classification in the Public
Service, (Chicago: Civil Service Assembly, 1941, reprinted in
1965).
24
Harold Suskin (ed.), Job Evaluation and Pay Administra-
tion in the Public Sector, (Chicago: International Personnel
Management Association, 1977).
25
Jay M. Shafritz, Position Classification: A Be-
havorial Analysis for the Public Service, (New York: Praeger
Publishers, 1973).
nc ..........
U.S. Office of Personnel Management,'Federal Per-
sonnel Manual, p. 5. 27 28 29 30
27Paul Van Riper, History of United States Civil Ser-
vice, (Evanston, 111.: Row, Peterson and Company, 1958),
pp. 52-54, 151-152.
28Ibid., pp. 192-193, 219-223, 278.
29Ibid., pp. 296-304, 338-347.
30Ibid., pp. 425-428, 461.


80
31
U.S. Congress, House, Committee on Post Office and
Civil Service, Report on Job Evaluation and Ranking in the
Federal Government, 91st Cong., 1st Sess., House Report No.
91-28, Washington, D.C., 27 February 1969.
32
U.S., Congress, House, Job Evaluation Policy Act of
1970, Pub. L. 91-216, 91st Cong., 2nd Sess., 1970, H.R. 13008.
33
U.S., Congress, House, Committee on Post Office and
Civil Service, Subcommittee on Employee Benefits, Statement
of Philip M. Oliver, Director of the Job Evaluation and Pay
Review Task Force, 92nd Cong., 2nd Sess., 1972, pp. 7-8.
34
U.S. Civil Service Commission, Classification Prin-
ciples and Policies, Reprinted Edition, Personnel Management
Series No. 16 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office,
1976), p. 14.
35
U.S. Civil Service Commission, Position Classifica-
tion Standards, Section VII (Washington, D.C.: Government
Printing Office, 1977), pp. 13-32.
36
0. Glenn Stahl, Pub!i c Personnel Admi ni strati on,
(New York: Harper and Row Publishers, 1971), p. 78.
37
Wallace Sayre, "The Triumph of Technique Over Pur-
post", Public Administration Review, VIII (Spring, 1948),
VIII (Spring, 1948), p. 134.
38 -
U.S. Civil Service Commission, Classification Prin-
ciples and Policies, pp. 4-5.
39 . .
Shafritz, Position Classification: A Behavofial
Analysis for Public Service, pp. 29-34.
40U.S. General Accounting Office,:Classification of Fed-
eral White-Collar Jobs Should be Better Controlled, FPCD-75
(December, 1975), p. 6.
^Seymour S. Berlin, "The Manager, the Classifier and
Unwarranted Grade Escalation," Civil Service Journal (July-
September 1964), p. 1.
42Ibid., p. 2.
43U.S. Civil Service Commission, Grade Trend of Federal
Civilian Employment, Pamphlet SM 32-68 (June, 1969), p. 1.
44U.S. Office of Management and Budget, Control of Grade
Escalation in the General Schedule, Bulletin No. 72-4 (August 5,
vmy.


81
45
Recent Federal Personnel Cost Trends, Government
Financial Brief No. 24 (New York: Tax Foundation, Inc.,
December 1973), pp. 10-12.
46
U.S. General Accounting Office, Classification of Fed-
eral White-Collar Jobs, pp. 4-5.
^Ibid., p. 6.
4ft
HOIbid., p. 30.
49
Shafritz, Dictionary of Personnel Management and Labor
Relations, pp. 46-47.
50
MSC Report on Minimum Personnel Operations Plan, Attach-
ment to Letter, Frank A. Bogart to NASA Headquarters, BR/ Director
of Resources Analysis, Johnson Space Center, Personnel Office
Files, Houston, Texas.
51
Maxime A. Faget, Interview at Johnson Space Center.
Houston, Texas. July 1981.
52
Shafritz, Dictionary Of Personnel Management and Labor
Relations, pp. 46-47.
53
Henderson, Compensation Management: Rewarding Per-
formance, p. 216.
54
Belcher, Wage and Salary Administration, pp. 521-522.
55
Sibson, Compensation, p. 189.
56Ibid., p. 190.
57Ibid., pp. 192-194.
cp
Belcher, Wage and Salary Administration, p. 531. 69
69
03Ibid., p. 539.
60Ibid., p. 540.
^Edward N. Hay and Dale Purves, "The Profile Method of
High Level Job Evaluation," Personnel (September 1951) pp. 115-
124.
CO
Patten, Pay: Employee Compensation and Incentive Plans,
pp. 323-326.
CO
Sibson, Compensation, p. 199.