SPMA 13th annual international conference focuses on leading a changing landscape towards service first

Posted on November 24, 2021

The University of Pretoria’s School of Public Management and Administration (SPMA) hosted its 13th Annual International E-Conference on Public Administration and Management on 28 and 29 October 2021.

Established in 1993, the SPMA has held a series of international conferences, of which this year’s was the first virtual conference. The hosting of international conferences provides a platform where academics, students, researchers and practitioners discuss topical issues affecting public management and administration locally and internationally. This year the SPMA hosted the event with the theme ‘Leading a changing landscape towards service first: how should public organisations as complex systems adapt?’

The main objectives of the event were exploring the interrelationship between the theoretical perspectives on public administration and management, and the application thereof in a changing world. The event kicked off with a plenary session, with Prof Rod Rhodes, Director of the Centre for Political Ethnography at the University of Southampton, as the keynote speaker.

This was followed by a panel discussion addressing current issues relating to public administration in cases where governments have declared their intentions to play a developmental role in society.

The panel consisted of Prof Michiel de Vries from the Radboud University in Nijmegen, Prof Michel Tshiyoyo from UP’s School of Public Management and Administration, Prof Martijn van der Steen from the Netherlands School of Public Administration in The Hague, and Prof Catherine Althaus from the Australian and New Zealand School of Government.

The conference consisted of 12 sessions with 58 papers presented over the two days. Apart from local academics and practitioners attending the conference, representatives from Africa, the United States of America, Europe and the United Kingdom also delivered papers. “The conference was considered an overwhelming success, according to the post-conference survey. Interestingly, 54 % of participants preferred contact sessions while 46% preferred virtual conferences, and the SPMA plans to host events in both formats during 2022,” said Prof David Fourie the acting Director.

Published by Charmaine Galante

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