Investigating 'Wellbeing' as a Platform for Development: Outcomes from the WA Public Service Professions

Document Type

Conference Proceeding


Faculty of Business and Law


School of Management




Barratt-Pugh, L., & English, B. (2006). Investigating ‘Wellbeing’as a platform for development: outcomes from the WA Public Service professions.


This paper reports on the initial outcomes from a large ARC grant with multiple industry partners that is changing VET focus by investigating wellbeing within the police, teachers and nurses of WA. These professionals are significant subjects as they are instrumental within the community, dominate the public employee sector, and represent the complex role tensions associated with knowledge workers. The paper specifically focuses the implications for national VET in terms of managing workplace learning, rather than the functional organisation implications of the study. The study proposes that much training and learning activity in organisations is functionally derived, focuses upon formal inputs, and excludes vital informal and social interactions. This traditional perspective largely ignores the pervasive nature of organisational culture and informal interactions in shaping learning, extending identity, and mediating subsequent performance. The paper asserts through metaphor and literature the relational nature of organisational performance and then models such instrumental relations as a conceptual framework underpinning this study. This study involves the generation and distribution of a questionnaire to 21k police, teachers and nurses. In this paper, the focus of the analysis is upon the WA police. A review of the method indicates specific learning issues for researchers. The analysis indicates three specific issues that are informing subsequent developmental activity. The paper concludes by emphasising how understanding the key mediating influences of culture upon organisational actors is critically important when orchestrating learning and development within organisations and specifically professions who are instrumental in shaping our social standards.

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