Posts Categorised: Public Administration

Co-Production of Public Services in Australia: The Roles of Government Organisations and Co-Producers


“This article adds to the emerging empirical literature on citizen co-production. Based on a telephone survey of 1000 Australian adults, it replicates a five-country European study focusing on three policy domains: neighbourhood safety, environment, and health. It shows that individually performed and closely reciprocal activities with high levels of private value are performed the most often, whereas group activities producing mainly public value are the least performed.”

Source: Alford, J., & Yates, S. (2016).  Australian Journal of Public Administration, and available from this link (subscription journal)

State of the Service Report 2016-17

Manly early morning surf boat/M. Hardy

“The recently published 2016-17 State of the Service Report reveals that the APS is well positioned to embrace the changes and challenges of the future of work. Some significant changes are on the horizon, while others are already here. To respond to these changes and challenges, the APS is ensuring that people with the right skills are employed in the right way, in the right job at the right time. We are a diverse workforce and working towards levels of representation that mirror broader Australian society. We engage in innovative and collaborative activities and are seeking to better manage the performance of our people. Many of us have taken up flexible working arrangements.”

Source: Australian Public Service Commission and available from this link (open access).

Strategy in the Public and Private Sectors: Similarities, Differences and Changes


“Strategic concepts and practices first evolved in the private sector, so they evoked much controversy when they migrated to the public sector from the late 1970s onwards. Partly this was about their (in)applicability to the distinctive features of government organizations, in particular their focus on public as well as private value, their situation in a political rather than a market environment, their almost exclusive capacity to use legal authority to achieve purposes, and the extent to which they often need to share power over personnel and resources with other public sector agencies.”

Alford, J.; Greve, C. (2017). Administrative Sciences, and available from this link (open access).

Collaborative public management and systems thinking



“Public management and administration researchers need to integrate the scholarship on collaboration through systems thinking. How do we define collaboration? How do we distinguish among the categories of collaborative public management (CPM), collaborative governance (CG), and networks? How do systems and institutional context shape collaboration in these categories?”

Source: Amsler, L. B., & O’Leary, R. (2017). International Journal of Public Sector Management, and available from this link (subscription journal).

It’s meaning making, stupid! Success of public leadership during flash crises



“Boin (2013) and others propose that public crisis leadership consists of several core tasks, among which crisis decision-making and meaning making stand out in “flash crises.” We however argue that successful leadership during a sudden crisis implies being visible and appealing to the public in need of hearing that the shattered world will be healed. When being visible and using the right rhetoric, public leaders are by and large automatically considered proficient crisis decision makers, that is “the right leader in the right place at the right time.”

Source: Helsloot, I., & Groenendaal, J. (2017). Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management and available from this link (subscription journal).

Wicked and less wicked problems: a typology and a contingency framework


Sunbaking/T. Fuller

“This paper addresses shortcomings in the scholarship about ‘wicked problems’, and suggests ways of tackling them. Firstly, accounts of these problems tend to ‘totalise’, regarding them as intractable masses of complexity, so conflict-prone and/or intractable that they defy definition and solution. By contrast, we put forward a more nuanced analysis, arguing that complex problems vary in the extent of their wickedness, via such dimensions as their cognitive complexity or the diversity and irreconcilability of the actors or institutions involved. We propose a typology of different forms of wicked problems.”

Source: Alford, J., & Head, B. W. (2017). Policy and Society, and available from this link (open access).

Structural Changes to the Public Sector and Cultural Incompatibility: The Consequences of Inadequate Cultural Integration

QEII in Sydney Harbour/E.Grimm

“In this paper, we explore the cultural issues associated with a structural change in the Australian Public Service. We argue that cultural differences across merged functions were disruptive and challenging to overcome. We posit, however, that these challenges were exacerbated by the lack of systemic effort to integrate cultures, thus impeding synergy realization. Our findings are consistent with the private sector literature that warns mergers and acquisitions undertaken with too much haste and without adequate planning can lead to cultural issues when not managed appropriately.”

Source: Buick, F., Carey, G., & Pescud, M. (2017). Australian Journal of Public Administration, and available from this link (subscription journal).

Preventing Dysfunction and Improving Policy Advice: The Role of Intra-Departmental Boundary Spanners



“It is well established in the public management literature that boundary spanners – people or groups that work across departments or sectors – are critical to the success of whole of government and joined-up working. In studying recent unprecedented change to central government agencies in the Australian context, our research identified that intra-departmental boundary spanners also play a critical role in the functioning of government departments, particularly during restructuring.”

Source: Carey, G., Buick, F., Pescud, M., & Malbon, E. (2017). Australian Journal of Public Administration, 76(2), and available from this link (subscription journal).

Emotional capacity in the public sector – an Australian review



“This paper presents a review examining an Australian public sector competency framework through the lens of emotional intelligence (EQ) to answer the question “To what extent is the concept of EQ used to facilitate NSW public sector reform?” The purpose of this paper is to accentuate the importance of emotional capacity as an important capability to achieve reform goals, recognising the public sector’s deep organisational history and accepting that change is an emotional event, and that people achieve change.”

Source: Charmaine Belfanti, (2017).  International Journal of Public Sector Management,  30/5, and available from this link (open access).

Gender diversity from the top: the trickle-down effect in the Australian public sector

Manly at dusk/Flickr

“Organisational strategies to achieve gender diversity have tended to focus on ‘bottom-up’ approaches such as mentoring or leadership training. We investigate an alternative ‘top-down’ approach: the trickle-down effect. We integrate theories from the psychology and management literatures to hypothesise a positive relationship between female representation at two levels. Data from 20 departments in an Australian public service were collected for the period 2002–2012.”

Source: Gould, J. A., Kulik, C. T., & Sardeshmukh, S. R. (2017). Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources and available from this link (subscription journal).