Enhancing Performance in the Australian Public Service: A Case of Co-production

Fiona BUICK, Deborah BLACKMAN, Damian West, Janine O'Flynn, Michael O'Donnell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The research-practice gap has been described as a “perennial problem” (Reed, 2009, p.685) in many fields. This gap emerges when either research findings are not translated appropriately into practice (Nutley, Walter and Davies, 2003) or the research is not seen to be relevant to the context it is designed for. This disconnect has led to many arguments for bridging the gap. In this paper we address explore whether the gap can be bridged to achieve mutual outcomes. We do this through the presentation of an example of a co-production partnership between researchers and practitioners which led to the development of a new performance management framework for the Australian Public Service (APS) and, based on that framework, a self-assessment Diagnostic which has been designed for use across the APS. Our argument is that establishing genuine co-production partnerships between researchers and practitioners is a challenging, yet not impossible, endeavor. Bridging theory and practice can, when understood and used strategically, provide great advantages. We argue that, to realize these advantages, there are some key elements which, if they are managed carefully, will support the development of successful co-production partnerships. In this paper we explore some of these key elements and highlight the lessons for other projects to draw on in order to meet the challenge of “double hurdles” (Pettigrew, 2001): bridging the relevance gap and enhancing the impact of research in practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-128
Number of pages6
JournalAcademy of Management Proceedings
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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