Title: Externe opleidingen in overheidsmanagement en de transfer van verworven kennis. Casestudie van de federale overheid.
Other Titles: External educational programmes in public management and the transfer of acquired competencies. Case study of the Belgian federal administration.
Authors: Broucker, Bruno
Issue Date: 8-May-2009
Abstract: This PhD-research project studies the application of acquired knowledge from educational programmes in public management to the workplace. This application is defined as ‘transfer of knowledge’ (Broad & Newstrom : 1992). Scientific research has demonstrated that transfer basically de pends on three basic variables, i.e. the individual, the organisational transfer climate and the quality of the programme (Baldwin & Ford: 1988). Since public management programmes haven’t been in the scop e of transfer research yet (Gilpin-Jackson & Bushe: 2007), it was d ecided to select the Public Management Programme (PUMP) of the Belgian f ederal administration as the central case to study. This programme has b een organised in 2001 for the first time under impulse of the Copernicus reform and has taken place since then (Broucker & Hondeghem: 2008) . The goal of PUMP is to contribute to the reform of the federal adminis tration and enable it to become a modern, good performing and highly qua litative administration by giving groups of civil servants the necessary knowledge, competencies, skills and attitudes to support this moderniza tion process. At the same time, PUMP wants to create an inter- and intra departmental network within the federal public sector (PUMP: 2009). In this research the educational programme is considered as an open syst em (Von Bertalanffy: 1973) wherein the stages of input, throughput and o utput may contain transfer stimulating and inhibiting conditions. This a lso means that the actual phase of transfer takes places in the system’s environment. The theoretical framework is broadened with theoretical pr inciples of the ‘eight field model’ of Kessels (Kessels, Smit & Keu rsten: 1996). This results into a holistic framework which makes it poss ible to have an overview of the whole case. Based on document analyses, a number of qualitative interviews taken amo ng the different stakeholders (universities, federal organisations, cabi nets) and the analysis of a survey taken from 300 participants (PUMP-edi tions 2001-2007), an answer has been formulated on three research questi ons. First, it can be concluded that transfer of PUMP in the federal administ ration actually takes place. The participants perceive the programme as useful, participate more in modernisation projects because of PUMP, see it as a necessity for the federal administration and perceive it as usef ul for their daily work and for the future of the federal public sector. The research demonstrated that the application of this knowledge isn’t straightforward, but that transfer of those kind of programmes can take place in different ways. It can be stated that the application of PUMP i s a hybrid form of transfer, with a positive impact, but not discussed i n advance in the organisation and unsystematic. The latter is an importa nt contribution to the theoretical debate on the definition of transfer. Second, the research wanted to identify transfer stimulating and inhibit ing conditions. The statistical analyses demonstrate that transfer of th e programme is basically influenced by individual characteristics and ch aracteristics of the educational programme. This means that the impact o f the organisation on transfer is non-existent, which implies that the l evel of transfer is suboptimal. It has also been demonstrated that there is a lack of external consistency, vagueness about the educational goal s and a lack of coordination. Those last aspects have probably an import ant transfer inhibiting impact. The results of the survey have provided an essential methodological added value to the scientific state of affai rs, by using and validating in a Belgian federal context an internationa lly validated instrument. Third, it was investigated how the transfer climate of the federal admin istration can be defined for the Public Management Programme. The climat e of the general administration seems to be neutral, which means that tr ansfer in the Belgian public sector isn’t encouraged, nor discouraged or forbidden. On the other hand it can not be stated that all federal orga nisations have the same neutral transfer climate. Some important finding s have demonstrated that certain organisations are more proactive with r espect to transfer than others.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: TH
Appears in Collections:Office for Educational Policy (-)
Public Governance Institute
Centre for Research on Lifelong Learning and Participation (-)
Education and Training

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