Steve davies's Blog (389)

Submission to Bullying Inquiry : The Totalitarian Practices of Corporate Human Resources

For quite a while now I've been working on my submission to the Australian Government inquiry in to workplace bullying. It has been a lengthy journey and there have been many discussions. What I have attempted to do is paint a clear sociological picture of workplace bullying in the Australian Public Service.

To varying degrees my submission applies to organisations outside the APS. However, I have focused on the APS for one simple reason. The APS serves our Federal Government…


Added by steve davies on July 2, 2012 at 9:30am — 2 Comments

APS Bullying : Human resources as a total institution

It is good the see J.A James site APS Bullying featured in the PS News. The site contains information to assist APS employees who are targets of bullying.


In this post I want to focus on the use of psychiatric assessments. As J.A James points out on her web site:

"The worst form of victimisation is compulsory psychiatric referrals of genuine complainants under Public Service…

Added by steve davies on June 26, 2012 at 2:30pm — No Comments

Serendipity : Yammer does the Australian Taxation Office

Well, not really, but I must admit that I had a quiet laugh to myself when I read that Microsoft had acquired Yammer.


It brought back memories of what some of my former colleagues and I within the Australian Taxation Office called the 'Yammer event'. While the event obviously had some serious implications in terms of revealing the nature of the corporate culture of the ATO…


Added by steve davies on June 26, 2012 at 9:00am — No Comments

Let's end the abuse : Management 2.0 Hackathon Report

For some time I've been writing about the need to reform management - especially the public service variety. Certainly in relation to the Australian Public Service. Though clearly, management is also problematic in the private sector.

The bottom line is that management and leadership in many of our key institutions have just not kept up with the times. Worse than that, when you enter the corporate domain the picture gets bleak indeed. And just as you think things could not get…


Added by steve davies on June 20, 2012 at 8:20am — No Comments

CSIRO Workplace Bullying : Looking to the bigger picture

Another bullying site. Victims of Bullying, Harassment, and Victimisation in the CSIRO. Have a look at this site and, if you are in a position to do so, contribute.


Good to see of course. That being said it is important to look to the bigger picture. To wit, that there is a significant problem across government bodies regardless of whether they are formally a part of the Australian Public Service or…


Added by steve davies on June 14, 2012 at 9:29am — 2 Comments

Inquiry into workplace bullying : Methodological problems abound

While it is pleasing that the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Employment is inquiring into workplace bullying it is fair to say that the inquiry is starting out with some serious methodological flaws. Flaws, I suggest, that could compromise the veracity of the inquiry…


Added by steve davies on June 12, 2012 at 3:00pm — No Comments

Featured site : APS Bullying

In the course of working away on Public Integrity Australia the PIA team were introduced to APS Bullying. Otherwise known as Bullying, Harassment, Victimisation and Discrimination in the Australian Public Service.

Founded by JA James the site contains a great deal of legal information. To get started I suggest you read …


Added by steve davies on June 12, 2012 at 1:43pm — No Comments

Australian Public Service Reality Distortion Field

Some of my former Northern Territory Public Sector colleagues and I sometimes wondered whether our federal colleagues looked at matters through some sort of reality distortion field. Why? Because it was our observation that the closer you got to Canberra and the further you went up the hierarchy, the greater the emphasis on the political considerations.

Certainly, in terms of implementing the wishes of government the work of all public servants ultimately has political…


Added by steve davies on June 7, 2012 at 10:58am — 2 Comments

The internet Defence League and open government

The Internet Defence League looks pretty cool hey.

I could not agree more. Forward we march together in the fight against monopolies and vested interests who would rob us of Internet Freedom.

To me the notion of defending internet freedom raises some of the old questions around open government and enhanced democracy.

How much freedom?

How open should…


Added by steve davies on May 29, 2012 at 2:30pm — 1 Comment


With the Canberra GovCamp/Hack/Jam rapidly approaching it is time to change focus. A break from the darker side of life I've been involved in of late.

Time to take a look at the world of . . .…


Added by steve davies on May 28, 2012 at 11:30am — 1 Comment

Whistleblower Protection : Government Response

I have been reading the Government Response to to Whistleblower Protection. It makes interesting reading. The Government has agreed to introduce a Public Interest Disclosure (PID) Bill this year.

The Government has agreed to many of the recommendations and they do indeed provide a starting point for the development of the PID…


Added by steve davies on May 23, 2012 at 2:00pm — No Comments

Corporate Culture Assessment Tool

Oh no, not another survey I hear you saying.

Every time the issue of organisational culture comes up armies of consultants, along with human resource and organisational development practitioners, start mobilising. Surveys abound, all trying to get inside your head and tell you what the corporate culture should be.

And let's not forget the corporate communications people.

It's an old approach; a tried and failed approach. Why?  Because it's an…


Added by steve davies on May 21, 2012 at 3:05pm — No Comments

Taxation Office Engagement Survey FOI Request : The Cone of Silence

In December last year I submitted an FOI request to the Taxation Office concerning their employee engagement survey.

Please note that I submitted this request as I knew the Taxation Office's employee engagement survey closed off in 16 December 2011. Consequently, the timing was opportune.

My hope was that the Taxation Office would be forthcoming and collaborative to set a positive example to other APS agencies. However, despite that hope I also knew it was more…


Added by steve davies on May 17, 2012 at 1:25pm — No Comments

Managerial mobbing and the perversion of human resources

Last week I had lunch with a group of public servants and some of what was said was very disturbing. The topic of conversation centred on their experiences of managerial mobbing.


The dynamic appears to be this:


Employees are labelled 'cases' for human resources staff to deal with.


This labelling can take place for reasons ranging from asking critical questions. For example, questioning processes. Through to seeking to protect themselves from…


Added by steve davies on May 15, 2012 at 8:47am — 4 Comments

Australian Taxation Office - Ugly Managerial Culture Revealed

I am appalled at the level of systematic abuse Serene Teffaha has been subjected to by the Taxation Office. However, I am not surprised that this abuse has occurred. The ugly managerial practices revealed in Serene's post Silence is Consent are a reflection of the mindset and culture of corporate areas within the Taxation Office.

I believe in the value of the public…


Added by steve davies on May 15, 2012 at 8:30am — 3 Comments

Australian Public Service : The perfect storm

Full credit to the ACT Chief Minister Katy Gallagher, Canberra Liberals leader Zed Seselja and ACT Greens leader Meredith Hunter saying they did not want Canberra to bear the brunt of the government's savings measures. Canberra Times - Leaders unite for budget appeal.

However, these cutbacks are just the beginning. The Australian Public Service is caught…


Added by steve davies on May 11, 2012 at 10:59am — No Comments

Employee Engagement Surveys in the APS : The ATO in focus

I recently received a copy of one of the Taxation Office's engagement survey reports via snail mail from an unknown source. Such surveys are conducted in a variety of Australian Public Service agencies. The purpose of this post is to examine key aspects of the Taxation Office's report and share some observations.


The first matter to consider is the Taxation Office's views on organisational culture and employee engagement. Consider…


Added by steve davies on May 6, 2012 at 3:30pm — 1 Comment

Good News from the Australian Taxation Office

A while ago I submitted a Freedom of Information request to the Taxation Office to obtain information concerning requests that were denied. I did so due to reports that the Taxation Office was spending a considerable amount of money in this area and, as I have said before, they are a lead APS agency.


The more important reason for requesting such information is the fact that information concerning requests denied is another part of the picture concerning the treatment of FOI…


Added by steve davies on April 11, 2012 at 2:21pm — 1 Comment

ATO accused of systemic abuse of power - An abusive sub-culture?

It is fair to say that because of its' function the Taxation Office is going to come in for some unfair criticism. However, it is also true to say that some elements within the Taxation Office are risk averse to the point where they do not tolerate criticism. And let's be scrupulously fair here. The further you go up the hierarchy of any large organisation the more likely it is that internal politics and self preservation will come into play.


In fairness again, it is well…


Added by steve davies on April 10, 2012 at 10:30am — 8 Comments

Reflect - Learn - Act

Despite being an atheist (or maybe because of that), I think the looming Easter break provides an opportunity to reflect on the deeper aspects of life. Especially on those phenomenon and experiences that either divide or connect us.


With that in mind what I want to do in this post is put the current state of affairs within the Australian Public Service on a human scale. The bureaucratic corporate mindset and outdated notions of corporate management that pervade the public…


Added by steve davies on April 5, 2012 at 11:30am — 1 Comment

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