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Annex 2: Project methodology

Case studies were undertaken in seven APS agencies (see Table 1) to better understand the enablers and impediments to high performance in agencies.

Table 1: Case studies used in this study
Organisation size Organisation type
Large Policy
Large Policy
Large Operational
Large Operational
Medium Policy
Medium Operational
Small Regulatory

Data was collected using the following methods:

  • Documentary analysis: Internal documentation such as reports and performance management documentation were obtained so that each system could be clearly understood. Public documentation such as government publications and annual reports were obtained from organisational internet sites.
  • Secondary data: Secondary data was analysed through using State of the Service Report (SOSR) data (including a series of new questions specifically on performance management).
  • Semi-structured interviews and focus groups were undertaken where participants were asked a series of questions to establish which factors enabled or impeded the achievement of high performance and what was their impact on high performance. As at 1 December 2012, the project had an overall sample of 226 participants (see Table 2).
Table 2: Overall participant sample
Phase / Level Operational Middle manager Senior manager Total
Semi-structured interviews 0 48 42 90
Focus group 71 65 0 136
Total participants 71 113 42 226

Consultations were also conducted with the following:

  • ACT, NSW and VIC Performance Management Networks;
  • Senior Human Resource leaders (multiple forums); and
  • APS employees within the GovDex Community of Practice.