A Content Analysis of Municipal Employee Handbooks in the Commonwealth of Virginia




Soares, Stephanie M.

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Purpose: The purpose of this Applied Research Project is three-fold: first, this research develops a practical ideal model employee handbook by adapting one developed by Rebecca Short (1997) and Neftali Garcia (2002) and expanded upon by Shanna Brown (2013). Second, the model is used to assess 16 city employee handbooks in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Finally, based on this assessment, recommendations to improve the quality of the handbooks are made. Method: This research uses content analysis as the sole data collection method. Content analysis studies in this research are the city employee handbooks. A systematic random sampling was taken of handbooks in four city classifications (small, medium, large, extra-large) in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Each handbook was evaluated against the ideal handbook model and a rating assigned to each component. Findings: Overall, city employee handbooks in the Commonwealth of Virginia need improvement. It is recommended that the handbooks be updated to include legislation such as the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, as well as equal pay and anti-discrimination legislation. The handbooks also need to include updated maternal/paternal leave policies and social media use guidelines, define bullying, and provide information about union membership prohibition for public employees.


An Applied Research Project Submitted to the Department of Political Science, Texas State University, in Partial Fulfillment for the Requirements for the Degree of Masters of Public Administration, Summer 2018.


human resources, practical ideal, practical ideal employee handbook, employee handbook, personnel administration, personnel manual, gauging, Virginia, Commonwealth of Virginia, content analysis, Public Administration


Soares, S. M. (2018). A content analysis of municipal employee handbooks in the commonwealth of Virginia. Masters of Public Administration, Texas State University, San Marcos, Texas.


Rights Holder

Rights License

Rights URI