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This paper seeks to understand the relationship between decentralization and human resource management in Botswana and South Africa. The study is situated within the context of the New Public Management (NPM) that has influenced the Human Resource Management reforms that the two countries aspire to adopt. This study's main finding is that although strategic human resource management (SHRM) and decentralization are frequently assumed to go together and are both advocated by the BrettonWoods institutions, in the cases researched SHRM reforms have been accompanied by a tendency towards centralization. This implies a trade-off between SHRM and decentralization in Botswana and South Africa.
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