The High-Road in the Public Sector: Evidence from Canada
Drawing on a qualitative evaluation of performance management initiatives in four Ministries in Quebec, the paper outlines the conditions of success regarding the implementation of Autonomous Units of Services (AUS). In contrast with cost minimisation strategies prevalent in public health care and education, the cases under examination provide valuable illustrations of a high road path in public administration. Data indicate high level of performance both in quality, time reduction and customisation of service delivery, and high level of employee satisfaction with autonomy, task specification and performance evaluation. As outlined in other studies, communication and employee consultation appeared to be a key factor: the higher the transparency and employee involvement, the less organisational resistance to change. Although in highly unionised contexts, collective representation was not an obstacle to innovation, at the contrary. Ultimately, the paper points out that the flattening and changing role of intermediary management should be further investigated, critically questioning the conditions of managerial support to this emergent form of "lean management".
20th AIRAANZ Conference