Researchers at UNSW Canberra’s world-class School of Business are looking to bolster their partnerships with the public sector, defence services and non-governmental organisations in order to ramp up research outcomes so that both employers and employees can adapt to future challenges and opportunities.

“We’ve all been exposed to the monumental impacts of the COVID pandemic and for the most part society traversed the immediate challenges successfully, but it also uncovered a wide range of ‘sleeper’ issues and topics in relation to how modern organisations operate,” UNSW Canberra Public Service Research Group (PSRG) Director, Associate Professor Sharron O’Neill said.

“There is a real need for more research, guidance and trusted advice on the modern-day issues facing businesses, the public sector, NGOs and the defence sector.

“A lot of the issues and challenges we’re seeing have been brought about or exacerbated because of the pandemic but the fact is they are now here forever, and organisations need to adapt; and pretty quickly.”

One example of the ‘sleeper’ issues brought to the fore by the pandemic and being researched by the UNSW Canberra School of Business is flexible working.

Led by Dr Fiona Buick in UNSW Canberra PSRG, the research is looking at how organisations can optimize the effectiveness of flexible working through adopting an outcomes approach that focusses on results, rather than when and where employees work.

“The effectiveness of flexible working requires more concerted management development to ensure managers have the knowledge, skills and support to manage their teams effectively and in a way that achieves desired outcomes,” Dr Buick said.

Another important piece of research being conducted by UNSW Canberra researchers is exploring why the COVID-19 vaccine uptake was low amongst disability support workers, and what support can be provided for these workers.

“We found higher levels of vaccine hesitancy in the disability support workers than we would expect from the literature. Many of the reasons behind this are related to a lack of trust in the government and a feeling that this employment group have been ignored by government in the emergency response,” said UNSW Canberra Professor Helen Dickinson.

UNSW Canberra’s call for research partners comes after it held a hugely successful research showcase at Canberra’s National Museum on 27 October where its School of Business researchers presented their latest research projects and outcomes over 120 representatives from the public sector, NGOs and the defence sector.

“Our School of Business researchers work on a diverse range of research topics and make important contributions on issues from leadership and capability, policy development and implementation; to the NDIS, biodiversity management, sports doping, work health and safety, supply chain and logistics, palliative care, defence, and much more,” Associate Professor O’Neill said.

“From the value of diversity, to effective public service management, the procurement and sustainment of critical assets, or mentally healthy work, our research explores practical solutions to the challenges faced by businesses and organisations around the globe.”

Organisations who may be interested in partnering with the UNSW Canberra School of Business can visit the website or email

Media contact: Damon Whittock; 0423 800 109;