Manual Lessons in Leadership: Meeting the Challenges of Public Service Management

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Contents:
  1. Executive Leadership Program - Register now for Cohort 24!
  2. Public sector conference
  3. Executive Summary and Recommendations
  4. Public service reform in Ethiopia: Challenges and gaps post-implementation

He writes on foreign affairs for The Globe and Mail and he is a frequent contributor to other media. She was the Massey Lecturer in and a Trudeau Fellow. She was awarded the Molson Prize by the Canada Council for an outstanding contribution by a social scientist to public debate. She is a member of the Order of Canada and the Order of Ontario. Speak to a member of our team. Call 1. Reserve a seat - pay later. The topics were presented in a way that encouraged dialogue and debate and this really enhanced the learning experience. The professionalism of staff involved with the Public Executive Program was exceptional.

The Conference Centre facilities are excellent and I really appreciated the uniqueness of the lifestyle activities that encourage you to step outside your comfort zone. The caliber, expertise and experience of the session leaders were outstanding — and their passion and enthusiasm for public service was invigorating. I would recommend this program to my senior manager colleagues and encourage them to embrace the opportunity to learn in such a supportive environment. The subject matter was relevant and helped me to understand current domestic and global dynamics from diverse perspectives.

The high-calibre participants came from a wide variety of backgrounds, and their insights were integral in creating an invaluable and dynamic learning experience. Toll free Queen's Executive Education. With great expertise in governance, auditing, financial management, human resources management and other areas, our specialists can help your organisation to identify and solve its problems and shape its future. View list of Consultancy Services. The IPA Library has a comprehensive collection of material on management and business studies.

It houses books and journals on a wide range of subjects including law, politics, economics, management, accounting, criminology, the EU, healthcare, finance, local government and sociology. IPA librarians are on hand to assist students in their studies and their search for information. The Library provides information, reference and lending services to IPA students, members and staff.

The Institute of Public Administration enjoys an excellent reputation for providing consultancy and other services to public service bodies around the world. The Institute's International unit has worked with governments and public sector bodies in many countries, including Zambia, Montenegro, Cyprus and Russian Federation. For more information, explore our International page. These include a seat auditorium, lecture and seminar rooms, and computer labs. High workloads were perceived by staff, particularly when the reduction in staffing was used as a strategy to reduce the costs 25 , 26 , Senior managers reported that they had to manage the turnaround process over and above their day to day responsibilities and that they were also required to invest a large proportion of their time, energy, and efforts in responding to the demands of inspectors and external agencies.

Thus, once the engagement process eased, as a result of improvements in performance, many managers felt a high degree of relief 34 , Both Protopsaltis et al. Middle managers felt frustrated, as they were continuously being asked to meet targets without the time to stand back and plan to improve the processes.

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Some positive mobilizing and motivating the staff workplace and changing attitudes of staff towards patients and negative staff frustrating impacts of turnaround strategies have also been reported 30 , implying that the effects of different turnaround strategies can differ across performance dimensions Some of the included studies noted that turnaround interventions might induce a range of unintended, adverse, and dysfunctional consequences for organizations, their staff and consumers 2 , 26 , 28 , Turner and Whiteman 34 argued that achieving a better CPA score became the most important priority for some local authorities.

Two negative consequences were identified: first, the local authorities were unwilling to criticize the government Compliance ; and second, local authorities focused on meeting centrally set targets heavily oriented to the CPA score possibly incompatible with the requirements of their local communities. In addition, organizations might be distracted from the focus on sustainable performance improvement. The tension between external criteria-based assessment and internal culture and the process of performance management were highlighted here.

It was shown that some organizations were willing to perform activities that were likely to result in positive responses from inspectors or auditors.

Public sector conference

Some leading participants attributed speedy improvement to deal with inspection and audit processes rather than turnaround strategies. They indicated an improvement in the level of cognition, capability, and capacity in dealing with audit processes.

Further investigation is needed to explore whether the improvement is attributable to the turnaround strategies or to gaining more capabilities and capacities to deal with central targets and audit processes. They also reported that the organizations needed to consider financial costs due to changes in both management and organizational restructuring and those 2 local authorities reported changes in their current budget priorities during turnaround.

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Ravaghi 28 also recognized 2 unintended and adverse consequences of implementing turnaround interventions believed to have had a negative effect on the hospital trust and service delivery to patients. These consequences were pressure and stress perceived by staff due to high level of workload, tunnel vision, and impact on quality of patient care. To the best of our knowledge, this was the first comprehensive literature review exploring both organizational failure and turnaround processes in public sector organizations.

It has distilled the available evidence within the public sector and compared it with the existing literature derived from the for-profit sector. We have highlighted key issues with regards to the theoretical framework and methods used in the studies and have summarized the results of the included studies on the symptoms and causes of failure, triggers for change, and turnaround interventions.

These are each discussed in turn below. As in the for-profit sector, 4 different types of markers of failure financial, physical, behavioral, and managerial were found in the public sector. Financial issues were not a crucial marker in the school sector, although there were some examples indicating the inability of schools to achieve a financial balance.

Only 2 studies 26 , 33 identified a link between markers and primary and secondary causes of failure dysfunction in organizational learning. It should be borne in mind that, except in very special circumstances eg, the occurrence of a disaster , a single factor can lead to a failure, whereas in other situations, several different factors contribute to a decline in performance. The most common internal secondary causes of failure were as follow: poor managerial leadership; poor operational management; poor performance management not evident in school settings ; cultural problems; insularity poor relationships with other stakeholders ; poor internal relationships; lack of staff engagement; and inattention to external warnings.

Poor political leadership was an important cause of failure in local government settings. As a result of the political context of the public sector, particularly in local governments, political issues eg, poor political leadership and poor political-managerial relationships were key contributing factors to organizational failure, although this was not a cause of failure in the for-profit sector.

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There were some differences between the symptoms and causes of failure between the 2 sectors, owing to the nature of the services provided and the context of provision. For example, decline in demand was not a contributory issue in performance decline in the public sector, although it was an important cause of failure in the for-profit sector. On the other hand, Walshe et al. Policy change, diverse service needs, and a poor socioeconomic situation high level of poverty and deprivation were the most important external factors contributing to performance decline and failure within public services.

In the health sector, policy change was perceived as the most evident external contributor to organizational failure, but the impact of contextual factors eg, socioeconomic factors has less been considered in the health sector. More studies need to be conducted in this area. This review found that both internal and external factors have made a contribution in initiating processes of change triggers within the public sector. Replacement of senior management was the most common internal trigger in all the included studies, and reports provided by external agents and concerns expressed by external stakeholders were the most common external triggers.

Reaction of organizations to the announcement of poor performance was also an important trigger. The findings of this review were comparable with the literature from the for-profit sector, although the role of external agents in diagnosing and triggering change was more common and of greater importance in the public sector than the for-profit sector due to the nature of public sector. It is vital to note that in all included studies, multiple factors rather than a single factor played a crucial role in the initiation of the process of change.

We found that 3 generic turnaround strategies reorganization, retrenchment, and repositioning , used in the for-profit sector, have been also used in the public sector, although the feasibility, frequency, and extent of use of these strategies have not been similar across the 2 sectors.

Reorganization strategies were the most common form of intervention used in the public sector, however, greater use of reorganization in public organizations did not result in better performance Although retrenchment strategies have been used in the public sector, particularly in health care trusts facing financial difficulties, their effectiveness has not been proven and it was the least used strategy in school settings.

The use of repositioning strategies to change the activities of the organization or expand its services by entering into new markets is often impossible for public service organizations, as providing objective services is mandatory due to the statutory obligations. However, in some cases we found that the responsibility for service provision of an organization was transferred to other organizations.


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The evidence in this area within the public sector is still limited, and existing studies are not comprehensive, so it is difficult to reach a firm conclusion on the effectiveness of these strategies. However, the limited evidence may provide important information for policymakers and managers charged with turning around poorly performing organizations. Limitations of this review: As outlined in the methods section above, a broad search strategy following consultation with 2 librarians from the NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination CRD was used to ensure that the maximum number of eligible studies was included.

However, owing to the diversity of the topic organizational failure and turnaround processes and the presence of under-developed search strategies for nonexperimental studies, some studies might have been missed. Limitations of included studies: As noted above, the principal research method used to study organizational failure and turnaround was the qualitative case study design, although the number of quantitative studies has increased since In some case studies, data were collected by interviewing only 1 informant, and so might not have provided a rounded view of the issue under question, and thus the potential for bias should be considered.

In addition, some studies used a retrospective approach, making recall bias selective recall a cause for concern. It should, however, be noted that Paton and Mordaunt 42 tried to use document analysis to support interviews in 2 out of 4 of their cases. This review highlights difficulties regarding the methodology of review of nonexperimental studies: searching particularly electronic databases ; quality assessment; and data synthesis.

Considering all these issues, it seems that more methodological development is required. The gap in linkage between symptoms and secondary and primary causes of failure in public sector organizations is also apparent from this review. So far it is not clear how the identification of the symptoms of failure can result in the diagnosis of secondary and ultimately primary causes of failure.

Similarly, it is unclear how diagnosis of symptoms and causes of failure can result in the selection and implementation of appropriate turnaround strategies. We also found that the existing literature on this topic lacks robust longitudinal studies, tracking over the time how organizations sustain their hard won improvements in performance. With respect to the effectiveness of the turnaround strategies, there remain gaps in the literature and evidence base. There is currently insufficient evidence about which turnaround strategy of the 3 broad generic types reorganization, retrenchment, and repositioning is the most appropriate to use, and in what contexts and circumstances the different strategies would achieve the best outcomes.

Moreover, how these turnaround interventions can be combined in different contexts is an important issue that is not explored fully in the public sector literature. This review also revealed a lacuna in the literature with regards to the role of external organizations in dealing with poorly performing organizations, as related to the initiation of the turnaround process, and supported both during the process and while the organization improves and attempts to sustain its improvement. The type of strategies used by external organizations and the duration of these interventions with regards to the type of poorly performing organization self-initiating and permanently poor performing were insufficiently covered by empirical studies, although 3 different kinds of relationship between external supporting organizations and poorly performing organizations have been defined by Jas and Skelcher 45 , using principal-agent theory.

Transforming leadership and performance in the public sector

It is clear from the review that several research studies in this area were not underpinned by sound theoretical frameworks. For example, most of the studies conducted in a school setting had not used or reported a theoretical framework or conceptual model.

Public service reform in Ethiopia: Challenges and gaps post-implementation

Moreover, the gap in the literature regarding the impact of contextual factors on organizational failure and the probability of success or failure of turnaround interventions within the public sector has been highlighted. Organizational failure and turnaround in public sector organizations: A systematic review of the evidence ch. Med J Islam Repub Iran. National Center for Biotechnology Information , U. Published online Dec Find articles by Hamid Ravaghi. Find articles by Russell Mannion. Find articles by Haniye Sadat Sajadi. Author information Article notes Copyright and License information Disclaimer.

Corresponding author: Dr Haniye Sadat Sajadi, ri. Received Dec This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 3. Abstract Background: Existing evidence with regards to the organizational failure and turnaround are derived from the private sector.

Introduction Over the last 2 decades, increasing political attention has been devoted to develop effective strategies to reform the financing, organization, and delivery of public services 1 , 2. Review of the literature Description of Studies Once duplicates were removed, the search identified 11 papers. Table 1 Summary of Included Studies. Open in a separate window.