The delivery of public value as a key measure for the public sector requires a rethinking of how public management education is underpinned with an explicit agenda to create the management capability and the opportunity to create public value. (Quinn, 2016; Majgaard, Nielsen, Quinn and Raine, 2016).
In order to facilitate the translation of learning on 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. One area of program design worth a focus is on the nature and design of workplace-based challenges that allow program participants to utilised their learning through the integration of knowledge, skills, and attitudes which has the potential to deliver almost immediate change and improve value creation and/or capture within public organisations (Gardiner, 2008; Gulikers, Bastiaens & Kirschner, 2004).
Public sector management 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 with explicit use of workplace-based assessments to enable participants to apply theories and frameworks taught in the PSMP directly into their places of work to improve work processes, stakeholder engagement, and outcomes for their sponsoring organisations
The final capstone workplace project in the PSMP provides students 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 enhance service delivery to projects that seek to improve policies and address issues within the community and to deliver value to the public.
Students 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 looking for impact from their investment in developing their managers, application of learning directly into the workplace manifesting at a broader organisational level is an important consideration. For the managers who are undergoing the program, the learning activities and assessment tasks, with their emphasis on practical application and deep connection to job experience, facilitate the transfer of their new knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes to the workplace thereby enhancing their ability to create and deliver public value.