The object of analysis is the perception of competition for positions in the public sector by the organizers, participants and direct observers. The research shows quite clearly that the competitions are recognized as merely a facade institution. Their course is usually, in the opinion of the respondents, contrary to the assumptions and official declarations. In this paper I present symptoms and analyze reasons for this state of affairs. I make the assessment of the described situation from the point of view of principles of meritocracy and efficiency of human resources in the public sector. I accept the assumption that a condition for effective performance of certain functions of the institution is the way it is perceived by social actors. An important role is played by the following factors: (1) acceptance of the values on which the institution bases its business, (2) consistency between the formal and informal rules, and (3) relative significance attached to the institution by those who create it and use it. Based on this assumption, I look for answers to the question of the need and the possibility of using the competition as an effective and reliable mode of selection of managers in the public sector. I take into account the socio-cultural-political context of, social actors who puts in a specific situation, which I called „collision rules”. The organizers and participants of the competitions are experiencing specific dilemmas for non-compliance of rules in force in the private and the public sphere.