Macao residents and civil servants believe that in leading positions in public administration it is more important to be loyal to the motherland and the Macao SAR than to have skills or experience in the field, according to a study conducted by the Youth Commission of the Federation of Civil Servants of Macao Macao
Loyalty to the motherland and Macao SAR or professional qualifications and experience? According to the study published in the Revista da Administração Pública, the most important thing to assume a leadership position in the Civil Service is to be loyal to the motherland and Macao.
The survey was carried out between June and September 2022, among civil service workers’ associations (51 percent) and residents who were approached on the street (49 percent), with a total of 1,838 valid surveys collected.
The classification of the questions was carried out using the Likert scale, the calculation method being: “1 = Not absolutely important, 2 = Not important, 3 = Reasonable, 4 = Important, 5 = Very important”.
And it was based on this scale that “loyalty to the Country and the Macao SAR” obtained the highest score from respondents (4.50) in a ranking of 26 skills. Not far behind were “discipline, integrity and dedication to the public” (4.47); “duty of confidentiality” (4.43); and “good political sensitivity” (4.43).
Interestingly, the four skills considered least important were “good performance at work” (4.12); “organization and coordination capacity” (4.12); “long professional experience in the area in question” (4.11) and, finally, “having academic qualifications at the level of a degree or higher” (4.05).
Noteworthy for the “reasonable use of public funds”, which occupies only 15th position, with a score of 4.20.
When assessing the 15 most important skills for both residents and civil service, there are few differences. It should be noted that Civil Service workers place more value on the “duty of confidentiality”, while residents attach more importance to “political sensitivity”.
The “Study and Analysis of the Skills and Qualities of the Management and Leadership Personnel of the Macao Special Administrative Region” carried out the survey in order to form a management and leadership team adapted to the perspectives of society and adequate “to the expectations of the population” .
At the conclusion of the study, the authors state that the regulation of the criteria for appointing leadership positions is “relatively simplistic, focused mainly on management experience and civic suitability”. Therefore, they point out that “there is still a certain distance compared to the different qualities required” in other countries or regions.
Moreover, “the results show that citizens particularly value the political awareness of management and leadership personnel, above all the notion that the interests of the country and those of the population are correlated, so the loyalty that one has towards the country is also the loyalty that one has towards the population”. However, they point out that “the loyalty shown to the country is not consistent with the idea of distancing the population, of indifference to their suffering, on the contrary, it is necessary to maintain the primordial spirit of serving the population”.
They also found few differences between the opinions of residents and Public Service workers, highlighting only that the former give more importance than the latter to the issue of political capacity, which includes skills such as: ability to define policy measures, political learning, study and implementation of policies. Both groups prioritized political quality, which included skills such as: loyalty to the People’s Republic of China and the Macao SAR, good political sensitivity and spirit of serving the public.
In view of the analysis of the survey results, four measures are suggested to improve the competence and quality of government officials. Firstly, “it is proposed to strengthen the regulation of skills and qualities of management and leadership personnel, especially factors associated with political quality and political capacity”; secondly, “reinforcement in the formation of the political capacity of management and leadership personnel”, realizing that technical knowledge is not enough, and it is necessary that the “execution of projects be accepted by society, especially when dealing with conflicting matters”; thirdly, “the creation of a mechanism for the rotation of management and leadership personnel in the corresponding political areas”, since “it is increasingly important to increase the capacity for political coordination in a transversal way and to promote the coordination of the various services for the execution of the policies”; Fourth and last, “it is proposed to strengthen the communication mechanism between Civil Service workers and management and leadership personnel, as well as their role as a consultant within the scope of internal policies”. This is because the survey shows that the residents’ view “is very similar” to that of Civil Service workers.