Appendix 5 - Asia effective organisational capabilities

In this year's State of the Service agency survey, Australian Public Service (APS) agencies were asked to indicate their current and required1 positions on a four-level maturity model2 for key Asia-related agency capabilities such as leadership knowledge, qualified personnel, supportive agency culture and information sharing networks. These capabilities are critical to preparing the APS to meet the challenges of the future. The following table provides definitions of the four maturity levels for each of the eight key agency capabilities.

  Basic Standard practice Best practice Next practice
Leadership knowledge Senior management have some Asia-related skills and knowledge, but not as a business requirement. Senior management have Asia-related skills and knowledge, but these are not actively developed. Senior management have well-developed Asia-related skills and are provided the opportunity to enhance their skills. Senior management have highly-developed Asia-related skills and a strategy is in place for continuous knowledge improvement and sharing.
Leadership behaviours Senior management deals with the agency's Asian operations on an ad hoc basis. Senior management engaged in Asian operations, but not as major focus. Senior management committed to Asian operations with a long term outlook and strategy. Senior management committed and highly engaged in Asian operations while continuously improving knowledge.
Qualified personnel Qualified management and employees but without clear understanding of Asia government culture. Agency has management and employees with ‘Asia skills’ but these are not drawn upon and developed effectively. Management and employees are culturally competent and given opportunities to enhance their Asia-related skills. Management and employees are highly skilled in Asia-related skills and adaptable to working across cultures.
Local partnerships Agency builds up local presence in Asia from scratch through its Australian employees. Agency uses networks to engage Asian government partner and puts Australian managers on the ground. Agency invests in a long term partnership with Asian government and trusts local Asian staff to make decisions. Management see the value in long term relationship building and that invest in relationships that may not have an immediate outcome.
Supportive agency culture Employees are not engaged in the agency's Asian operations or do not see their value. A portion of employees involved in Asian operations understands its value, but without link to overall agency strategy. Employees as a whole believe in importance of Asia and see Asian work opportunities as valuable experience. Employees as a whole are highly engaged in agency's Asian operations and actively seek out opportunities to be involved.
Knowledge of local
government environment
Management have little to no knowledge of political context in which Asian government operates. Management are aware of the complexities of the local government environment but unsure of how to navigate, leading to issues with local partner. Agency works with trusted local partner or intermediary that effectively navigates complex government environment. Agency builds up network of trusted partners in Asia and knowledge of political and government environment across cultures.
Supportive systems and processes Agency does not capture experiences or learnings from Asian operations. Management communicate the issues and learnings from Asian engagement internally but in an ad hoc manner. Skills and experiences from Asian engagements are embedded in future agency practices. Management actively seek out ways to improve agency practices and share knowledge and experience internally and externally.
Information sharing networks with agencies and stakeholders engaged in the region Agency has limited or ad hoc networks with agencies or stakeholders engaged in the region. Employees have personal networks with agencies or stakeholders engaged in the region, but these are not systematised. Agency has formalised networks with other agencies or with stakeholders engaged in the region. Agency actively builds comprehensive networks at the leadership and working level with other agencies or with stakeholders engaged in the region.


1 The required positions for agency capabilities are the maturity levels necessary to achieve agency goals within the next three years.

2 A maturity model is a set of structured levels that describe how well the practices and processes of an agency can reliably and sustainably produce required outcomes. The maturity model presented here is based on the AsiaLink capability approach.