Smart work in the public sector: a study of the Australian Capital Territory Government

  • Edmund Chylinski

    Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


    Modern workplaces enable work to be conducted anywhere, at any time, and using any available devices, technologies and networks. This phenomenon is referred to as smart work, and this research explores this work culture in the public service context. Recent global events such as COVID-19 have renewed interest in different modes of working. However, there are some barriers to smart work, including poor information and communications technology, resistance to change, and loss of distinction between home and work life. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) rates highly as a knowledge city but scores poorly in smart work, thus establishing grounds for further enquiry. This is supported by statistics indicating low ACT Government (ACTG) smart work uptake compared with private and federal counterparts. This study examines employee motivations and constraints of smart work in relation to organisational change. It involves a survey of public service employees to gather statistical evidence and is supported by interviews with public service executives. This research uses a case study approach to explore change across seven directorates, and it uses Activity Theory to approach the research questions. This research makes several contributions to the smart work domain by exploring the reasons for the poor uptake of smart work in the ACT. While this research focuses on the ACTG, the recommendations and lessons are applicable to other Australian public service institutions in relation to attracting and retaining knowledge workers. This research contributes to practice by raising awareness and readiness, enhancing existing workplace policies and improving the governance of knowledge workers.
    Date of Award2023
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRichard Hu (Supervisor) & Laurie Brown (Supervisor)

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