HR9736 - The Future of Public Service Work

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What will I learn on this module?

The future of public services is volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. Public services are changing, taking on new shapes, legal and regulatory forms. The organisation, nature and meaning of public service work is transforming. In this context, individual and organisational developers have a critical role to play both as strategic partners in public service organisations, supporting and developing front line employees as well as managers, and enabling change.
The module will help you engage with the management challenges involved in understanding the future of public service. It will explore issues concerning management of people, organisations and systems in public services in the context of complexity and wider societal transformations. The module will enable students to navigate this complex environment and understand the changing role of leadership and management, as public service moves from the ‘control’ and ‘standardisation’ paradigm of New Public Management to a world of bespoke public service, and shaping eco-systems in order that desired social outcomes emerge. The module will explore how broader social, economic, technological and political trends are transforming the nature and meaning of work, and the implications of these changes for workforce support and development, strategic workforce planning, public service motivation, diversity and inclusion.
Students will gain an understanding of key theories, concepts and models within the field of performance management, organisational behaviour and systems. The module will enable you to apply these to make sense of your own experiences in public service organisations, to recognise the importance of these aspects of management in an overall understanding of leadership processes, and enable you to apply them to your own leadership and management practice.

How will I learn on this module?

The module is delivered through a combination of tutor-directed learning, group learning and independent learning. In the taught sessions, an interactive approach will draw upon the directed learning undertaken and participants’ own experiences. Throughout, the emphasis will be on levels of participation, both individually and within small groups or teams.

Participants can therefore expect a reflective-practitioner approach to learning to be embedded in all sessions through undertaking activities, which facilitate them to apply theory to ‘real-life’ situations, critically analysing and making recommendations for appropriate ways forward for the organisation/individual. The module aims to provide impact to your day-to-day professional role and sessions will be structured to ensure that you can take the learning from the module and apply it directly in your workplace.

Directed learning will centre upon a range of activities including pre-reading, preparation for interactive activities and use of the discussion board on the e-learning platform.

An initial workshop will introduce you to the module, assessment and core topics. Subsequent to this you will be guided through a range of subject specific topics delivered over the period of the module. Key messages from these sessions will be available by video/podcast to support your learning outside of the classroom.

Independent learning will centre upon the students identifying and pursuing areas of interest in relation to the subject and by providing deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the subject through a range of learning activities that will include extended reading, reflection, research etc.

Critical reflection on knowledge, experience and practice underpins the learning and teaching philosophy along with the explicit development of competence. You are particularly encouraged to bring examples from the workplace into the classroom to share with each other and with the tutors. The module will also incorporate sessions delivered by external practice experts as well as from academic experts in the field drawn from the Business School.

You will participate in a learning set with your peers to facilitate a deeper discussion of the personal impact of the module contents on your individual professional practice and the application of learning into your own work organisation.

For those of you studying as a Degree Apprenticeship student the workplace will form a significant element of your learning. This will include weekly directed activities outlined in the module learning plan. These activities will enable reflection on learning from taught sessions and subsequent application through research into practice. Engagement with your learning coach and workplace manager/mentor will use these activities as a key element of discussion during coaching and review meetings.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

A range of approaches are adopted to accelerate your learning in this module.
During the first week of this module, you will receive information about the module and Teaching & Learning Plan. The teaching and learning plan (TLP) sets out
• Learning outcomes and overall module and programme aims
• Teaching, learning and assessment strategy
• Teaching schedule
• Directed reading references (text and journals) and core texts for the module

Further supporting this learner journey, the first taught session of this module will discuss the rationale and learning objectives of this module and how it contributes to your overall programme goals. The formative and summative assessment strategy will be outlined as will a refresher on key academic skills and resources critical to your success as a learner on this module. This session will also be available as a video/podcast for further reinforcement.

During this module your module tutor, a subject specialist, will provide academic support including:
• Delivering workshops
• Providing guidance in relation to assignments
• Development of key resources, made available through the VLE
• Specialist subject advice, particularly in linking your work to academic research, concepts and emerging knowledge in the field
• Assessing assignments and assess or review any other agreed summative or formative outputs as appropriate

For those of you studying on a Degree Apprenticeship you will also be supported by an Executive Coach who provides your consistent support throughout your Degree Apprenticeship. This Executive Coach will support with:
• Helping you to understand the requirements of this module and how it relates to your workplace context
• Helping you to understand how you can apply and evidence the knowledge, skills and behaviours covered in the module to your own practice in the workplace
• Visiting you at work and engaging with your manager and/or mentor to ensure alignment between your learning and opportunities for applying and demonstrating a positive impact in your work organisation.

E-Reading Lists
The module will also have an e-reading list which directs learners to specific reading for each session. This includes direct access to repositories, journal articles and other academic sources. You will also be provided with access to a significant set academic research sources via the Northumbria University library portal.
You will also have opportunities to receive formative feedback from your tutor in response to opinions you express and issues you raise during workshop sessions and face-to-face or online tutorials. These formative feedback sessions are formally scheduled at key points throughout the module.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

What will I be expected to achieve?

At the end of this module, you should be able to:

Knowledge & Understanding:
1. Demonstrate your knowledge of and critical understanding of the key concepts, models and theories in relation to the topics and themes covered in the module
2. Identify the opportunities and challenges relating to the changing nature of public service

Intellectual / Professional Skills & Abilities:
3. Research and develop strategies for systems and organisations linked to current and future public service needs
4. Demonstrate critical self-reflection to produce a personal and professional development plan

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
5. Demonstrate an appreciation of ethical dimensions of your own and others’ management practice in your critical reflection

How will I be assessed?

The summative assessment will consist of one end of module assessment – an evidence-based briefing report or equivalent (5000 words in total)

In the summative assessment, students will critically engage with a management challenge involved in understanding the future of public service in their public service organisation. They will explore a challenge concerning the management of people, organisations and/or systems in public services. Students will apply extant literature and research to make sense of this challenge, making recommendations for appropriate ways forward for the organisation.

This single assignment will assess all module learning outcomes.

Pre-requisite(s)

None

Co-requisite(s)

None

Module abstract

The future of public services is uncertain. Public services are moving to a world of bespoke public service. Broader societal trends are transforming the nature and meaning of public service work, with implications for workforce support and development, public service motivation, diversity and inclusion. The module will help you engage with the management challenges involved in understanding the future of public service. It will explore issues concerning the management of people, organisations and systems in public services. Using a research-rich learning experience, the module will enable students to navigate these changes and understand the changing role of leadership and management as public service moves to a world of bespoke public service. It will help students engage with the management challenges involved in understanding the future of public service, and enable students to apply key theories, concepts and models to make sense of their own experiences in public service organisations.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years Part Time

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2020

Fee Information

Module Information

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