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ANZSOG Research project to improve Leadership Capability Planning for the QLD Public Service

26 March 2024

News and media


As the public sector environment becomes more complex the issue of leadership development becomes more important for public services that want to increase their capability.

ANZSOG is collaborating with the Queensland Public Service (QPS) and the Centre for Social Impact (CSI) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) on a research project to address system-wide challenges of leadership development, including career transitions and generational transformation in the context of capability planning for the QPS.

This project was developed as part of ANZSOG’s Research Model and recognises that the long-term success and resilience of the public sector across Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand relies on building and sustaining leadership capability (Coaldrake 2022).

Queensland is large, diverse, and geographically dispersed and also facing challenges with an aging workforce and increased environmental disruptions. New technology and data capabilities create further challenges that need to be addressed. Leadership skills and capabilities need to reflect the unique nature of the Queensland context and reflect its diversity.

In this context, enhancing leadership capability and managing leadership transitions is crucial for public sector organisations to maintain stability, navigate complexity, and safeguard service continuity (OECD, 2019; Thodey, 2019). The project is framed by leadership development training as a continuum across career stages. QPS are seeking to understand how leaders manage and are supported at key leadership transition points.

The research, led by Dr Bradley Hastings and Dr Christian Criado-Perez from CSI, is being conducted in three phases. An interim evidence review – Leadership Capability Framework for the Queensland Public Sector – Interim Evidence Review – has recently been completed, comparing leadership enablement approaches from across several jurisdictions, as well as gathering insights on QPS’s existing leadership foundations.

It found that traditional leadership frameworks, such as the existing QPS framework, tend to outline a ‘one-size fits all’ pathway for leadership and describe a linear set of steps to progress up the leadership ladder. This linear perspective does not reflect real-world development and can unintentionally create structural career progression barriers for young people, women, regional leaders, people with disabilities, and people from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Traditional frameworks also tend to prioritise individual leadership capabilities, while overlooking relational capabilities (e.g. developing a shared leadership philosophy) that empower teams to excel. As an alternative, and a precursor for QPS, it presents a well-researched and developed framework (the Wallace 2D framework) which uses a relationship-focused leadership approach to provide better opportunities for all workers in QPS to thrive through progression up the leadership ladder. The second phase will be a mid-project solution review with QPS, with a focus on generating dialogue on the evidence that matters and enabling the final report to be tailored to Queensland’s context. The third and final phase of this project involves the development and demonstration of leader development simulation technology tailored to the QPS context.

This project provides a unique opportunity to explore leadership in context, as well as considering what tailored capabilities and approaches for Queensland will ensure there is a pipeline of leaders for the sustainability and ongoing capacity of the QPS. This project has cross-jurisdictional value, as public sector leaders consider how best to steward their organisations and secure leadership capacity into the future.



Coaldrake. Peter (2022), Let the Sunshine in, Review of culture and accountability in the Queensland Public Sector, available via: https://www.coaldrakereview.qld.gov.au/assets/custom/docs/coaldrake-review-final-report-28-june-2022.pdf?refresh

OECD (2019), Recommendation of the Council on Public Service Leadership and Capability, available via: https://www.oecd.org/gov/pem/recommendation-on-public-service-leadership-and-capability.htm

Thodey, David (2019), Independent review of the APS Final Report, Our public service, our future, available via: https://www.pmc.gov.au/publications/independent-review-australian-public-service