An inclusive public sector workplace

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2013-05

Authors

Lengnick-Hall, Rebecca Diane

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Abstract

This report explores the intersection between public management and workplace inclusion. At its core, workplace inclusion refers to an individual's ability to participate meaningfully and access opportunities within an organization, regardless of his or her unique identity (Mor Barak, 2005 & Prime et. al, 2010). The public sector is of particular interest to this author because of the types of services provided, populations served, and people employed by government agencies. Structural constraints, high expectations of transparency, and broad accountability to the public at large also make public sector organizations a unique management setting. Hill and Lynn (2009) developed a three-dimensional approach to public management that is one of the foundations of this report. In their framework, the three dimensions of public management are structure, culture, and craft. This framework is used in this report because it captures the complex environmental and individual factors that influence a public manager's ability to achieve organizational goals. Mor Barak's (2005) model for an inclusive workplace serves as the second foundation for this report because it is on the cutting edge of social work research. Her model combines both business and social work perspectives to capture the multidisciplinary nature of workplace inclusion. Supplementing these models, private sector research is discussed to illustrate the potential examples, benefits, and limitations of creating an inclusive workplace. The purpose of this report is to create a foundation for future empirical research and to offer an inclusive public management perspective to practitioners. It attempts to integrate models from different disciplines and apply private sector research to a public management context. This report operates under the premise that management practice can be enhanced when the strengths and unique perspectives of different disciplines--such as social work, business, and public management--are shared and integrated. An effectively implemented inclusive public sector workplace model has the potential to mitigate social injustice at the organizational level and enhance an agency's ability to fulfill its mission.

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