Practice panel

Connecting Public Management researchers and practitioners for improved outcomes

Purpose and objectives:

The Practice SIG facilitates an ongoing dialogue with researchers and practitioners about connections and challenges between research, policy and practice through conference papers, publications and special events. Public management research themes require the insights of practitioners and managers in the public sector, either by providing information (documents, interviews, surveys) or by direct involvement in research projects (joint sponsors, designers, funders).

At a time when public management is looking for innovative solutions in policy and practice to address the complex challenges which are constantly emerging, major disconnects between academic policy research and its implementation in public management remain widely recognized.

The Practice Panel promotes engagement and mutual learning to bridge the divide between public management researchers and practitioners, all of whom are attempting to develop better methods for tacking difficult challenges in a rapidly changing context of fiscal constraint and political instability. Established in 2008 and present at every subsequent IRSPM, this SIG has continued to grow and change in response to annual IRSPM conference themes. Our Panel attracts approximately 14 papers per conference and usually has 3-4 conference panel slots.

Key dialogues, presentations, and outputs:

The Practice Panel aims to bring together practitioners and academics around papers that describe successful collaboration across the research/practice divide or explore the factors that impede or facilitate fruitful knowledge-sharing and suggest ways these factors might be addressed.

SIG chairs and regular panel contributors organize regular, independent research dialogues focused on The Practice Panel’s key research themes. 2017 and 2018 saw regional workshops offered at centers in Queensland, Australia and across the U.K. In 2018 and 2019, the Panel organized a linked series of international sessions in Brisbane (Australia), Manchester (U.K.), Orlando (U.S.) and Wellington (N.Z.). These sessions diffuse local research and real-world public sector experience internationally, promoting best practice in managing dialogue between public sector researchers and practitioners.

Since the cancellation of the conference in Tampere, the panel members were invited to participate in  NETWORK GOVERNANCE AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES IN A COVID-19 WORLD , a virtual conference in which Government and community leaders in Norway and Australia shared experiences and reflections on the role of networks and digital technologies in responding to the challenges of COVID-19. Practitioners of public and community sectors in both Queensland (Australia) and Norway to reflected on their experiences, identify challenges and opportunities, and explore future collaborations in this new context.  Two universities ( University of Agder, Norway and Southern Cross University, Australia) co-designed and hosted the virtual conference and two IRSPM panels were involved: the Practitioner Panel and the Network Governance Panel. Christine Flynn, the Practitioner panel convenor, facilitated the panel session.

Multiple publications have resulted from papers presented over the years. Some recent research outputs from panel contributors include:

  • Flynn, C. 2019. “The Theory Underpinning Cross-Boundary Facilitation”, chapter in Crossing Boundaries in Public Policy and Management, Craven, L., Dickinson, H. Carey, G. Routledge, New York.
  • Flynn, C. 2019 “Towards the Craft and Practice of Facilitation across Collaborative Boundaries”, chapter in Crossing Boundaries in Public Policy and Management, Craven, L., Dickinson, H. Carey, G. Routledge, New York.
  • Kagan, C. and Diamond, J. (2019). University – Community Relations in the UK. Springer, New York and London (forthcoming). 

New members are welcome to join the panel by contacting any of the three co-convenors of the Practitioner panel.  There is no specific application process. We encourage practitioners from all levels of government and community practice to become part of the dialogue and reflection with academic members which explores ways to improve the outcomes by better understanding of academic research and practice implementation.

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