We recently moved our readers to a new system. You may need to reset your password here to login.
Not a member ? Join here for free.
Forgot your password?
Home People & Capability Broader spans of control pushing out specialists
Text size :
PEOPLEDeborah Blackman, Tanya Hammond
DEPARTMENTSAustralian Public Service Commission
The push for specialists to move into management jobs has seen a diminution of specialist talent in the public service. Managing is a distinct skillset, so don’t assume people skills are learned by osmosis.
The shift towards generalist skills in the public service in recent years may have had some negative impacts.
The increasing expectation that one must become a manager to remain in the senior ranks has undermined specialist knowledge in the Australian Public Service, according to public sector human resources experts.
The push to broaden spans of control, which started with gusto about five years ago, has led to specialists leaving the public service, says HR consultant Tanya Hammond.
In an effort to make organisational structures more “efficient”, people who were employed as specialists have increasingly been told they need to be in charge of other staff in recent years. This inevitably means some people unsuited to managing others have ended up in management positions — to the detriment of both their subordinates and themselves.
Receive unlimited access, get all the latest public sector news and features, plus The Juice, our daily news update sent direct to your inbox.
The Mandarin is where Australia's public sector leaders discuss their work and the issues faced within modern bureaucracy. Join today to discover the latest in public administration thinking and news from our dedicated reporters, current and former agency heads and senior executives.
David Donaldson is a journalist at The Mandarin based in Melbourne. He's previously written for The Guardian and Crikey and holds a masters in international relations.
Read Related Content
The APSC counts all EL2 and EL1s in an agency in that agency’s management profile regardless of whether they are a specialist or otherwise. This has then led to a false debate about span of control with little consideration for the complexity of particular roles. The genesis of this debate really goes back to the removal of professional and technical classifications in favour of the “one size fits all” APS classification structure. In agencies that require deep technical mastery it presents a real problem often with the even more ridiculous outcome of outsourcing.