Increasingly, government is less involved in the delivery of public services. Services are contracted out and delivered by non-governmental and private organisations. Consequently, there have been significant changes to both the organisation of public services and the workforce requirements of the public service.
At the same time, there have been moves towards achieving high-performing government in ways that include adopting greater organisational agility, supporting innovation, greater intra- and inter-organisational coordination and collaboration, implementing systems approaches and adopting more flexible work practices.
All these initiatives require high levels of management and leadership capacities. In this theme, we bring together work on issues such as human resource systems, performance management, organisational culture, workforce development and project management to explore the types of changes taking place in relation to the capability of public services and the mechanisms required to deliver better outcomes – specifically, the changing nature of work and the capabilities needed for the future.
While recognising the importance of senior leadership, our researchers seek to understand how to support the development of organisational capability through the development of leadership and managerial skills at all levels of the organisation. The focus should be on attaining high performance, and we work with organisations to better understand their capability system and how it can lead to improved outputs and outcomes. We partner with organisations and undertake applied research to help build the knowledge and skills necessary for practitioners to implement our research findings. This is aided by our research which informs our Executive Education courses.
Our research is aimed at delivering:
Professor Deborah Blackman, Professor Michael O’Donnell and Dr Fiona Buick developed the Strengthening the Performance Framework for the Commonwealth Government. The partnership with the Australian Public Service Commission resulted in amended Public Service Commissioner’s Directives, a diagnostic tool, revised performance management approaches and capability development initiatives including the Crafting Conversation Masterclass focused on more effective performance conversations.
Dr Samantha Johnson, Prof. Blackman and Dr Buick studied the popular 70:20:10 learning and development framework, determining its efficacy in improving learning transfer. The reconceptualisation of the model has led organisations to seek assistance to improve their learning and development practices and, consequently, their learning transfer.
Managing expectations to create high performance government – Review of Public Personnel Administration
Deborah A. Blackman, Fiona Buick, Janine O’Flynn, Michael O’Donnell, Damian West
The 70:20:10 framework and the transfer of learning – Human Resource Development Quarterly
Samantha J. Johnson, Deborah A. Blackman, Fiona Buick
Enabling Middle Managers as Change Agents: Why Organisational Support Needs to Change – Australian Journal of Public Administration
Fiona Buick, Deborah A. Blackman, Samantha Johnson
Structural Changes to the Public Sector and Cultural Incompatibility: The Consequences of Inadequate Cultural Integration – Australian Journal of Public Administration
Fiona Buick, Gemma Carey, Melanie Pescud
Developing and Recruiting the Future Public Servant in Helen Dickinson, Catherine Needham, Catherine Mangan, Helen Sullivan (ed.)’s Reimagining the Future Public Service Workforce
Deborah A. Blackman, Samantha Johnson, Helen Dickinson, Linda Dewey
Miriam Glennie, Michael O’Donnell, Michelle Brown, John Benson
Successful policy transfer and public sector reform in developing countries – Policy & Politics
Lhawang Ugyel, Carsten Daugbjerg
Why Performance Management Should Not Be Like Dieting – Australian Journal of Public Administration
Deborah A. Blackman, Fiona Buick, Michael O’Donnell
Effective Practitioner-Scholar Relationships: Lessons from a Coproduction Partnership – Public Administration Review
Fiona Buick, Deborah A. Blackman, Janine O’Flynn, Michael O’Donnell, Damian West
Fiona Buick, Miriam Glennie, Helen Dickinson, Deborah Blackman, Sue Williamson, Vindhya Weeratunga and Massimiliano Tani
The Master of Strategic People Management is designed to develop middle managers. The program is based on relevant research at UNSW Canberra, including our research into Capability in the Public Service.
Middle managers are recognised as a key element of organisational change, yet most university programs don't focus on their specific people management challenges. This online program balances advanced theory with practical knowledge, offering the opportunity to develop strategy implementation plans which effectively integrate and utilise the people involved.
The program enables the successful incorporation of human resources into strategic plans and the achievement of desired organisational outcomes. The program adopts an organisational system perspective to enable more nuanced strategy and implementation formulation. There is a route to the Australian HR Institute (AHRI) accreditation.