The purpose of this paper was to identify common themes from archival records related to innovation in the Australian Public Service (APS). A thematic analysis was conducted to review and evaluate archival records which consisted of transcripts from senior manager presentations at Innovation Month seminars from 2014 to 2018 and other related official documents. This empirical study addressed innovation from the leaders’ perspective, reflecting upon their experience. Analysing themes within archival records helped to gain insights from various perspectives of leaders on how they regard an innovation agenda for the APS. Three themes emerged from archival records: (1) innovation characteristics; (2) drivers of innovation; and (3) barriers to innovation. Synthesis of these drivers and barriers can provide important insights for senior APS managers on how they can enhance their organisations’ ability to innovate in order to respond to digital disruption challenges and opportunities. Variety of perspectives with leader’s perceptions informs about authors’ selection of the research question among consistent patterns and legitimates the salient themes as input for QSR NVivo 11.
Leadership plays a vital role in building the process, structures, and climate for an organisation to become innovative and to motivate team expectations toward innovations. This study explores the leadership styles that engineers regard as significant for innovation in the public sector. Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) was conducted to identify the principal leadership styles influencing innovation in the Australian Public Service (APS), using survey data extracted from the 2014 APS employee census comprising 3 125 engineering professionals in Commonwealth of Australia departments. EFA returned a two-factor structure explaining 77.6% of the variance of the leadership for innovation construct. In this study, the results from the EFA provided a clear estimation of the factor structure of the measures for leadership for innovation. From the results, the two factors extracted were transformational leadership and consideration leadership. In transformational leadership, a leader values organisational objectives, inspires subordinates to perform, and motivates followers beyond expected levels of work standards. Consideration leadership refers to the degree to which a leader shows concern and expressions of support for subordinates, takes care of their welfare, treats members as equals, and displays warmth and approachability. These findings highlight the role of leadership as the most critical predictor when considering the degree to which subordinates strive for creativity and innovation. Both transformational and consideration leadership styles are recommended to be incorporated into management training and development programs. This study also recommends that Commonwealth departments recruit supervisors who have both of these leadership styles before implementing innovative projects.