Public sector human resources

Providing a collaborative platform for researchers to develop their research, expert knowledge, co-authorship networks, and grant applications

Purpose and objectives

The Public Sector Human Resources special interest group (SIG) seeks to advance the field of study of public sector human resource management by addressing current research deficits. Members publish research that strives for excellence in theory, methods and original contributions to their field of study.

Our SIG provides a collaborative platform for researchers to develop their research, expert knowledge, co-authorship networks, and grant applications. We facilitate round table discussions and debates, within and outside the IRSPM’s annual conferences, to advance study on public sector human resource management.

We also support new and emergent research, especially from early career researchers and doctoral students, by providing a platform for knowledge exchange, debates, constructive feedback, and testing methodologies and ideas.

While we are a newer SIG, established in 2018, we have had an excellent series of good quality submissions for each conference, often accepting more than 20 papers and providing opportunity for learning and lively debate.

Key dialogues

We take an expansive interpretation of the theme of public sector HRM, but some of our key areas of interest include:

  • Comparative perspectives on whether the public sector HRM paradigm is working
  • Change trajectories for Public Sector HRM under public sector reforms
  • Pandemic challenges and crisis for the management of public sector human resources
  • Reflection on how the HRM paradigm will look after the pandemic. What will be the trajectory in our traditional fields of interest such as gender, leadership, decent work, street level bureaucrats, performance, emotional labour, and change
  • How do we advance our field of study through comparative studies and collaboration?

Recent activities

The IRSPM Public Sector Human Resources Special Interest Group held a webinar on 11 December 2020. The SIG webinar was billed as, 'Join the Conversation: Challenge of Covid-19 and Impact on Public Services'. The webinar conversation covered two themes:

  1. What are the major challenges for public service human resources in your country/region during the pandemic; and
  2. What are your predictions on what your public service will look like in 12 months time?

The webinar was opened with a talk by IRSPM President, Prof. Jenny Lewis, and followed by a discussion of the themes of the webinar. A report which captures the interesting and insightful discussion can be found here.

Given various geographic locations of SIG members and time zones, the first webinar was organised for the Africa and European time zone. We expect to have further webinars across other time zones in the foreseeable future.

Recent achievements

A snapshot of some recent achievements include:

  • Hosting panels at other conferences, targeting a wider audience of public sector researchers and practitioners (including Gender Work and Organization conferences, and the Association of Industrial Relations Academics Australia and New Zealand
  • A 2018 interactive workshop, organized by SIG members from Scotland and Australia, to consider the role of social innovation in public service human resource management in the 2020s.
  • Several special issues of journals convened by SIG members, in the Australian Journal of Public Administration and Public Management Review.
Linda Colley

Linda Colley

CQ University, Australia

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