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Performance management and measurement have become cornerstones of how modern public sector organisations account for what they do. Yet as states, societies and economies have grown and developed in ever increasing complexity, since the end of the twentieth century new ways of thinking about the relationship between governments and their citizens have emerged. These developments have in part been a reaction to measurement-based managerial approaches, but also partly reflect a deeper concern regarding the apparent decline in citizens’ attachment to and respect for the practice of politics. This subject aims to provoke a wide ranging discussion about the role of ‘publics’ (citizens, users, clients, stakeholders, communities, etc.) in public policy and public services through critical engagement with an emerging paradigm of citizen-centred governance. Sometimes called Government 2.0, this approach to public policy and public administration is typically described as networked, collaborative and flexible, with service delivery arrangements which are personalised, choice-based and delivered through multiple channels.
This subject will equip public sector leaders with a theoretical understanding and practical toolbox of approaches to managing a major change management exercise in government. A range of case studies will be used to provide a step by step analysis of the challenges in driving major change. Understanding the underlying factors which lead to effective policy, process and program innovation in government is central to the capacity of governments to deliver better policy and better outcomes for the whole community. We will also critically examine the theoretical underpinnings of newer tools in policy making such as behavioural techniques (‘nudge’), randomised controlled trials and big data. This subject will seek to explain what drives public sector innovation and the structures, processes and individuals that promote and obstruct it. There is a focus on the role of government in driving large scale innovation and how to build a national innovation system that promotes technology and high wage economic growth for a nation.
Intended learning outcomes
Students who successfully complete this subject should be able to:
- Identify, compare, and explain key theoretical approaches underpinning public sector innovation and new approaches to citizen-centric public administration, with a nuanced appreciation of institutional and individual level factors that drive and hinder governmental innovation;
- Analyse the context in which innovations are developed and implemented;
- Appreciate the context(s) that modern public sector organisations operate in and the major reform movements that are underway in public sector management and public service delivery in order to expertly consider the range of actions available to public sector leaders to manage a process of change or lead innovation in their organisation or field of policy or service delivery (such as become more responsive to clients)
- Design and critique case studies of intense innovation or major adaptive challenges for the public sector involving new technology, electronic government, performance management, networks, market design and new models of regulation.
Students who successfully complete this subject should have:
- in-depth knowledge of the disciplines of political science and policy and administration, and the ability to examine governance, policy and public sector reform issues from other disciplinary perspectives.
- critical and strong reasoning skills, and creativity in applying theory and research methods to complex practical problems across diverse contexts.
- effective oral and written communication skills.
- an advanced appreciation of the Asian and Pacific regions, including Indigenous knowledge, cultures and values and sustainable futures.
- autonomy, self-motivation, self-direction and outstanding organisational skills to set goals and manage time and priorities.
- skills in self-assessment, self-awareness, reflective and lifelong learning, with an overriding commitment to personal and professional integrity.
Last updated: 31 January 2024