Rodney James Scott

Rodney James Scott
UNSW Sydney | UNSW · School of Business

PhD

About

68
Publications
12,852
Reads
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531
Citations
Citations since 2017
41 Research Items
423 Citations
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Introduction
Professor Scott is the Chief Policy Advisor of the Public Service Commission of New Zealand, and Adjunct Professor at the University of New South Wales. He has been a fellow at Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard Universities. His research interests are broadly in public administration and public policy, with current projects on: collaboration, administrative doctrines, public service bargains, ethics, public service motivation, and institutional memory.
Additional affiliations
December 2019 - August 2020
State Services Commission of New Zealand
Position
  • Manager
January 2019 - present
UNSW Sydney
Position
  • Professor (Associate)
April 2018 - July 2018
University of Oxford
Position
  • Fellow
Education
January 2011 - July 2014
University of Queensland
Field of study
  • System Dynamics in Public Management

Publications

Publications (68)
Article
Group model building literature reports that participation causes mental model refinement and alignment, but no previous study appears to have examined whether these changes are enduring. This paper reports on a case study involving four groups using group model building tools that were evaluated immediately before, immediately after, and 12 months...
Article
Group model building (GMB) is a participatory approach to using system dynamics in group decision-making and problem structuring. This paper considers the published quantitative evidence base for GMB since the earlier literature review by Rouwette et al. (2002), to consider the level of understanding on three basic questions: what does it achieve,...
Article
Mental model change and mental model alignment are reported outcomes of group model building. Several explanations have been proposed for these changes. This paper explores the experiences of participants in group model building workshops where delayed evaluations suggested that lasting mental model change has occurred. Semi-structured interviews w...
Article
Strategy implementation has been identified as an area of system dynamics literature requiring greater attention. Most strategies fail to be implemented successfully, and processes for effectively implementing strategy are yet to be fully explained and explored. The reported interpersonal success factors for strategy implementation are reported out...
Article
Full-text available
System dynamics modellers sometimes involve decision-makers in the modelling process, a method known as “group model building”. Group model building has been associated with a number of different outcomes, and it is not clear which of these outcomes are important to clients. The public sector is a significant audience for group model building inter...
Article
New Zealand is frequently cited as the archetypical example of New Public Management (NPM), having gone ‘further and faster’ than other jurisdictions in radically reforming their public service in the late 1980s. These reforms have been credited with significant gains in efficiency and responsiveness, while introducing new challenges. Successive re...
Book
The question of how agencies can work together has been central to the field of public administration for several decades. Despite significant research, the process of collaboration can still be a fraught endeavour for practitioners. Nevertheless, agencies keep trying to work together because it is the only way to make progress on the biggest chall...
Research
Full-text available
Boundary crossings are inevitable. Governments divide themselves into smaller and more manageable administrative units, and invariably some problems cross agency boundaries. The challenge of joint working is not new or unique to the NZ public sector. Joint working takes a variety of forms. Collaborative practices can be arranged on a continuum from...
Book
New Zealand’s deceptively simple but effective program to improve public services New Zealand has long been considered at the forefront of public administration, experimenting with new ways of organizing and delivering public services. Even so, successive New Zealand governments had mixed results from using traditional public management tools to l...
Chapter
More so than in many countries, the public service in Aotearoa New Zealand has retained its role as a key source of policy advice to the government. The public service, arranged into departments, is tasked with providing advice across a huge range of topics in a coordinated way. However, each ministerial department has different functions and diffe...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
New Zealand is frequently cited as the archetypical example of New Public Management (NPM), having gone ‘further and faster’ than other jurisdictions in radically reforming their public service in the late 1980s. These reforms have been credited with significant gains in efficiency and responsiveness, while introducing new challenges and worsening...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Stewardship is a concept of increasing importance and centrality to public administration narratives across several countries. It is referenced in the foundational legislation for the public service of New Zealand, Canada, and Australia, and receives significant attention in the UK and US. It is New Zealand that has once again gone further and fast...
Article
Collaborative governance, despite being a fraught endeavour, is sometimes the only option for addressing cross-agency problems. From 2012 to 2017, the New Zealand government’s flagship programme was an inter-agency collaborative governance regime focussed on achieving outcome targets. An earlier study attributed the programme’s success to sociotech...
Book
In re-framing government management and operations, this compendium of seven essays highlights several key themes: Changing the nature of work focuses on government jobs best suited to shift virtually, the new “workday,” best practices, government as a model workplace, and workplace health, safety, and privacy; Reimagining how government delivers s...
Chapter
New Zealand is an island nation of five million with high rates of international travel. When COVID-19 struck, the country quickly recorded 1,500 cases. Following a public health response, community transmission of the virus was eliminated within two months. This success is best explained as an example of extremely high voluntary compliance. A “tea...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A central question of public administration is how public administrators make decisions within organisational frames and context. Public administrators cannot and do not make purely rational decisions based on means-ends models, and instead operate within bounded rationality. Motivational bounds are frequently implicit and culturally inculcated, bu...
Book
How do bureaucracies remember? The conventional view is that institutional memory is static and singular, the sum of recorded files and learned procedures. There is a growing body of scholarship that suggests contemporary bureaucracies are failing at this core task. This Element argues that this diagnosis misses that memories are essentially dynami...
Chapter
ystem dynamics modellers sometimes involve decision makers in the modelling process, a method known as “group model building”. Group model building has been used to support group decision making and collaborative governance. Group model building has been associated with several different outcomes; it is not clear which of these outcomes are importa...
Article
Governments have struggled with addressing problems that cross agency boundaries. Since 2012, the New Zealand Government has achieved significant success by holding groups of agencies collectively responsible for achieving intermediate outcome targets (the ‘Results Programme’). The Results Programme has been described as the most important change i...
Article
This paper explores the creation a more unified civil service in New Zealand with the Public Service Act 2020, which promotes the most profound changes to the public service since New Zealand’s New Public Management heyday in the late 1980s. Among its many reforms is an explicit attempt to foster a unified culture around a ‘spirit of service to the...
Book
Full-text available
New Zealand is currently going through a period of significant reform, which represents a fundamental challenge to the dominant 1980s paradigm, New Public Management. We are replacing New Public Management with something new and emergent. This report aims to engage in this philosophical discussion, through exploring the New Public Service paradigm...
Conference Paper
A permament public service is expected to act as a repository for lessons of past policies and programmes. Public management scholars regularly lament the decline of institutional memory over the past thirty years. Recent literature proposes a distinction between static institutional memory, an archive of the past, and dynamic institutional memory,...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Public administration literature has previously considered a range of explanations for public servant behaviours, including various intrinsic and extrinsic motivations. Social identity, a construct from sociology and psychology, suggests an interesting alternative or complement to these explanations. Social identity literature finds that individual...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
A permament public service is expected to act as a repository for lessons of past policies and programmes. Public management scholars regularly lament the decline of institutional memory over the past thirty years. Recent literature proposes a distinction between static institutional memory, an archive of the past, and dynamic institutional memory,...
Conference Paper
Many important policy problems cross boundaries; whether between government agencies, or between government and external parties. Collaboration has variously been described as the ‘holy grail’ and ‘philosopher’s stone’ of public management. It has been one of the most studied problems since the 1960s, and yet publication frequency in major journals...
Article
Despite considerable attention, helping agencies to work more effectively together is one of the most important contemporary challenges of public administration theory and practice. The New Zealand Better Public Services (BPS) Results program has been an unexpected success in this area and provides a positive case study. In 2012, the New Zealand go...
Conference Paper
Performance management literature has canvassed a broad array of performance levers – performance pay, career progression, intrinsic (public service) motivation, and more recently recognition and reputation. The emerging field of identity economics suggests an interesting alternative or complement to these levers. Identity economics proposes that...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Over the past thirty years, the public administration literature has repeatedly highlighted the problems modern public sectors face operating across organisational boundaries. While most collaboration literature emphasises culture, behaviour, and interpersonal relationships, this paper examines how formal collective accountability can help bind age...
Book
This book describes the cognitive and interpersonal effects of group model building, and presents empirical research on what group model building achieves and how. Further, it proposes an integrated causal mechanism for the effects on participants. There have been multiple previous attempts at explaining the effects of group model building on parti...
Chapter
Group model building describes a variety of methods for involving clients or stakeholders in the creation of a system dynamics model. Group model building appears to support a range of cognitive and interpersonal effects among participants. The mechanisms behind these effects are still unclear, though several explanations have been proposed. This c...
Chapter
Group model building describes a variety of methods for involving clients or stakeholders in the creation of a system dynamics model. This chapter reports on four case studies from the New Zealand public sector, using an observational study design and a commonly used post-workshop survey tool. The case studies show evidence of increased communicati...
Chapter
Group model building describes a variety of methods for involving clients or stakeholders in the creation of a system dynamics model. One outcome sought by clients is enduring consensus between participants. Group model building appears to support enduring consensus by altering and aligning the mental models held by participants about the problem....
Chapter
Different mechanisms have been proposed to explain cognitive and interpersonal effects of group model building. Five mechanisms were identified as plausible explanations in the context of the cases explored in this book: operator logic; system archetypes; modelling as persuasion; boundary objects; and cognitive bias. This chapter reports on intervi...
Chapter
Full-text available
Group model building describes a variety of methods for involving clients or stakeholders in the creation of a system dynamics model. There is empirical support for five different mechanisms used to explain the cognitive and interpersonal effects among participants. This chapter considers that these different explanatory mechanisms may describe dif...
Chapter
System dynamics consist of a range of related tools for understanding the behaviour of systems over time. It became in the 1950s, and continues to branch and evolve. Important tools include behaviour-over-time graphs, causal loop diagrams, stock and flow models, and simulations. Key concepts are variables, causal links, polarity, delay, feedback, s...
Chapter
Group model building describes a variety of methods for involving clients or stakeholders in the creation of a system dynamics model. One application is to support group decision-making. This chapter explores the outcomes that are sought or desired by clients commissioning group decision-making processes. Evidence is drawn from New Zealand public s...
Chapter
Group model building describes a variety of methods for involving clients or stakeholders in the creation of a system dynamics model. It has been the subject of extensive empirical study since 1988 using a variety of research methods. These studies present strong evidence that group model building supports increases in consensus, insight, communica...
Research
Full-text available
Since the 1980s, in New Zealand and the countries of the UK, there have been various attempts to deploy elements of New Public Management to address the traditional absence of externally driven incentives for those who work in public services. These attempts have included quasi-markets and various versions of accountability for performance against...
Article
The ability of the civil service to act as a reservoir of institutional memory is central to the pragmatic task of governing. But there is a growing body of scholarship that suggests the bureaucracy is failing at this core task. In this article, we distinguish between two different ways of thinking about institutional memory: one “static” and one “...
Chapter
https://www.anzsog.edu.au/resource-library/case-library/2018-198-1-interagency-collaboration-to-reduce-crime-in-new-zealand
Chapter
Strategy implementation has been identified as an area of system dynamics literature requiring greater attention. Most strategies fail to be implemented successfully, and processes for effectively implementing strategy are yet to be fully explained and explored. The reported interpersonal success factors for strategy implementation are reported out...
Article
The ability of the civil service to act as a reservoir of institutional memory is central to the pragmatic task of governing. But, there is a growing body of scholarship that suggests the bureaucracy is failing at this core task. In this article we distinguish between two different ways of thinking about institutional memory: one “static” and one “...
Article
Dr Robert Behn’s latest book is an important contribution to the public leadership literature. Important because it describes one of the major innovations of the past 20 years, and because it delves beneath the most obvious and tangible elements to explain the leadership behaviours that Behn argues are fundamental to its success.
Article
System dynamics models are typically used to simulate the behaviour of the problem system under discussion environment, to help understand and solve complex problems. Group model building is a social process for including client groups in the system dynamics modelling process. Recent evidence suggests group model building is useful in supporting du...
Book
Around the world, governments divide their operations into smaller administrative units (agencies). Each agency has a narrower focus and is therefore thought to be easier to manage. However, some problems cross agency boundaries, and addressing these problems requires agencies to work together. Most governments struggle to do this effectively. New...
Article
Carey and Harris present the concept of adaptive management as a practice for supporting effective collaboration, suggesting that performance information be used to modify actions. They observe that end-outcome performance information is less useful because of long delays between actions and effects, and recommend instead that the performance infor...
Chapter
Performance measurement is a hotly contested topic in government, the not-for-profit sector, and in interaction between the two. This chapter presents lessons from the use of impact measures in the New Zealand Government (the Better Public Services "Results" programme) as examples to be applied in other contexts. The chapter is available for free d...
Conference Paper
Capability reviews are a commonly used tool for improving agency performance. The Performance Improvement Framework (PIF) is an independent external capability assessment applied every four years to New Zealand public service agencies. PIF has two intended functions: as an assessment to measure agency capability, and as an intervention to improve a...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
New Zealand moved faster and further than other nations in implementing the New Public Management reforms. This created an efficient and responsive public service, where managers were enterprising in deploying the resources that they controlled. The system was less effective at addressing problems where responsibility spanned multiple agencies. In...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
New Zealand was seen as a leader in implementing the New Public Management reforms, which encouraged agencies to be enterprising in how they deployed their own resources. This created new challenges in addressing cross-cutting problems that spanned the responsibilities of multiple agencies. In 2012, the New Zealand government began a new approach t...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Many of the challenges facing today's public servants cannot be solved by agencies acting alone. In recent years there has been increasing attention paid to the opportunities and challenges of cross-agency work. This paper describes the organisational forms currently used in the New Zealand public sector to support interdepartmental work. The New Z...
Article
Full-text available
The Natural Resources Framework is a new approach to policy advice developed by the multi-agency natural resource sector in New Zealand. This framework has been implemented with some success, but also some teething problems. The framework is a ‘systems’ approach to understanding the interaction between the many actors in the natural resource manage...
Conference Paper
System dynamics modellers sometimes involve decision-makers in the modelling process, a method known as “group model building”. Group model building has been associated with a number of different outcomes, and it is not clear which of these outcomes are important to clients. The public sector is a significant audience for group model building inter...
Conference Paper
n September 2013, the seven agencies that comprise the New Zealand Natural Resources Sector agreed a process to analyse and develop strategic advice from a sector, rather than agency, perspective. A group model building workshop (using the qualitative system dynamics approach to systems thinking) was held in November 2013, with the following aim: M...
Conference Paper
The group-level goals of group model building have been described as alignment of mental models, consensus and commitment to a decision. Several explanations have been proposed to explain these changes. This paper tracks participants in four group model building interventions where delayed evaluations suggested that lasting mental model change had...
Conference Paper
Several studies that describe group model building interventions assert that these interventions can produce new insight. No previous study has examined whether these new insights are enduring. This paper reports on evaluation of four qualitative system dynamics interventions conducted 12 months after the interventions. The interventions each consi...
Conference Paper
Strategy literature reports communication quality, insight, consensus and commitment to conclusions as important in effective strategy implementation. These have also been reported as outcomes of “systems thinking” group model building workshops, suggesting possible applicability. This paper presents results of a systems thinking intervention to su...
Conference Paper
This paper presents the results of a group model building intervention to support the implementation of an organisation strategy in a New Zealand government department. Four separate three-hour ‘qualitative system dynamics’ workshops were conducted with department employees. Many authors have advocated the use of systems thinking in strategy devel...

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Cited By

Projects

Projects (6)
Project
Exploring public service reform trends of the past 20 years and exploring the emergence of a new model for organising public institutions and their employees.
Project
This project explores the impact of identification with groups, professions, and organisations on the behaviours of public servants. This includes natural and existing identities, as well as those deliberately created to achieve management goals. Public servants may more strongly identify with their profession, organisation, or being part of the public service, among other memberships (social identity complexity).
Project
Institutional memory is a core function of a permanent politically neutral civil service. Several authors have noted the decline of institutional memory in modern public service organisations (particularly under "New Public Management"). Further, as cross-agency and cross-sector working becomes the "new normal" for public servants, memory is no longer available to a single central institution. Our research distinguishes between static memory held in "records", and dynamic distributed memory shared through stories and lessons.