Delivering public value as a key measure for the public sector is essential. To achieve this requires a rethink of how public management education is underpinned with an explicit agenda to create management capability and the opportunity to create public value.
In order to translate learning through a program into the delivery of public value, public management education programs need to scrutinise the pedagogical practices that inform the design and delivery of such programs. Indeed, they must scrutinise what works, why it works, and how it can be made better.
One area of program design worthy of focus is the nature and structure of workplace-based challenges within a learning program. This includes giving greater consideration to programs that allow participants to utilise their learning through the integration of knowledge, skills and attitude.
These factors have the potential to deliver almost immediate change and improve value creation within public organisations.
Does the training really offer ROI?
Programs like the Public Sector Management Program (PSMP) delivered by QUT are under increasing pressure to demonstrate a return on investment for public organisations sponsoring their managers’ ongoing education.
Central to the pedagogical design of the PSMP is the creation of public value through a work-based learning approach. This includes the explicit use of workplace-based assessments that enable participants to apply theories and frameworks taught in the PSMP directly into their places of work.
Outcomes of such an approach can improve work processes, foster greater stakeholder engagement, and lead to better outcomes for sponsoring organisations.
The final capstone workplace project in the PSMP provides learners with a significant opportunity to deliver public value which is aligned with the strategic initiatives of their organisation.
From inter-organisational initiatives that focus on improving internal processes, to enhanced service delivery, to projects that seek to improve policies and address issues within the community. Crucially, they also deliver value to the public.
Learners receive coaching and mentoring support from teaching staff throughout their project work, lifting the role of the PSMP from an educational platform to that of a creator of value for public organisations.
For the public service organisation wanting noticeable impact from the investment made in developing their managers, application of new learning across various levels of their organisation is important.
For managers who are undergoing the program, the learning activities and assessment tasks that emphasise practical application in the workplace are considered most valuable. This includes being able to facilitate the transfer of their new knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes ‘on the job’, thereby enhancing their ability to create and deliver public value.