Homo Subjectivus: Shoehorning customer-centric reform into the subjectivities of Abu Dhabi's public administrators
The thesis developed a model for rooting government reform in indigenous worldviews.
(View a 3 minute summary of my thesis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vqLLzwE_Ihg)
Supervisors: John Raine and Karin Bottom
My doctoral research sought to gain insight into the processes and conditions by which different groups of public administrators make sense of public management reform and internalize ‘a new way of doing things’ - within the empirical context of Abu Dhabi Government’s customer-centric change initiative. First, the thesis laid out a theoretical conceptualization of shared meaning-making in public sector organizations. Second, the thesis employed Q Methodology and a Cultural Reference Group to empirically investigate the ideational processes by which groups of public administrators fitted into their subjective systems of meaning those tenets of reform that they valued as meaningful. The thesis illuminated these processes by developing a socio-cognitive model.
By way of conclusion, the thesis suggested that other governments might usefully adapt this model to their local contexts in order to map existing subjectivities among public administrators. Such mapping might help to prepare for particularly challenging, alien or counter-intuitive change initiatives, and thereby better inform the design of public management reforms that are likely to be more effective because they would be in closer harmony with local worldviews and value systems. It would allow particularly non-western governments to develop reforms that are rooted in a society’s own system of values and norms, and mirror local history, culture, and religious or philosophical traditions. The findings have contributed to an enhanced understanding of the subjective constructions and normative values that public administrators share at a group-level, and how these impact on the opportunities for meaningful reform.
Following a ten-year professional career as a public policy specialist working for various governments across the world, I switched to an academic career in public management and governance in 2011, and embarked on a PhD study program at the University of Birmingham in the School of Government & Society. My main research interests lie in new conceptual models for public management and political governance, which are rooted in a society's own system of values and norms, and mirror local history, culture, and religious or philosophical traditions. This is no small challenge, however, given the lack of practical theories in public management beyond those based on western values. Throughout the last four years, alongside my own research, I have been teaching classes on public policy, public management and political governance at undergraduate, postgraduate, and post-experience levels (the latter including programmes for public managers and elected politicians, for example, the Jamaican Minister of Local Government). I have also been much involved in academic publishing by working as an associate editor and publishing in academic journals and textbooks. I have completed certificates for both face-to-face and online teaching, and currently deliver classes via both channels. I am fluent in English and German, proficient in French and Ancient Latin, and have basic knowledge of Arabic and Twi (Ghanaian Akan language).
- 2010 – present: PhD Government & Society, University of Birmingham, UK
- 2001 – 2002: MSc Contemporary Political Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), UK
- 1997-2000: BSc International Studies (Honours), Drexel University, USA
- 1988-1997: Abitur (Equivalent to A Levels), Gutenberg Grammar School, Germany
- 2015: Certificate for effective online teaching, Wiley Publisher, Chicago, USA
- 2012-2013: Level 4 Teaching Qualification (PTLLS), East London College, UK
- 2008: Project Manager Qualification (PRINCE), London, UK
- 2010: Certification Diploma on Balanced Scorecard, Abu Dhabi, UAE
- 2010: Monitoring & Evaluation Certificate, World Bank, UAE
- Public administration, public management and political governance (non-western & western)
- The scientific study of subjectivity and Q Methodology
- Situated agency and sensemaking in organizations
- Interdisciplinary cultural analysis (drawing on political science, development studies, international relations, organization theory, cognitive and social anthropology, social psychology, and social phenomenology)
- Mixed methods research and interpretive research methodology
- MSc in Public Management (2011-present)
- The Foundation of Politics (2013)
- Masters in Public Administration (2014-present)
- Public Management and Governance in a Changing World (2015)
- The Copenhagen Forum of academic specialists in public management teaching and research at postgraduate level
- Political Studies Association
- International Society for the Scientific Study of Intersubjectivity
- American Society for Public Administration
- Institute of Leadership and Management
- Institute for Learning
- Balanced Scorecard Practitioner Network
- International Federation of University Women
Dadze-Arthur, Abena and John Raine (2015) ‘Experiential learning and teaching at a distance: How different an experience?’, Paper presented at The Copenhagen Forum Annual Workshop on Public Management Teaching and Research at Postgraduate Level, Copenhagen Business School, Copenhagen, Denmark, 4th – 6th November.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2014) ‘Homo Subjectivus: Shoehorning customer-centric reform into the subjectivities of Abu Dhabi's public administrators’, Paper presented at The Copenhagen Forum Annual Workshop on Public Management Teaching and Research at Postgraduate Level, Erasmus University, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 29th – 31st October.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2014) ‘Homo Subjectivus: The Human Factor in Public Administrative Reform in the Case of Abu Dhabi’, Paper presented at the United Nations Public Administration Network (UPAN) Workshop on Non-Western Public Administration, 22nd Annual Conference of the Network of Institutes and Schools of Public Administration in Central and Eastern Europe (NISPAcee), National University of Public Service, Budapest, Hungary, 22nd-24th May, 2014.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2013) ‘The Human Factor: Public Management Reform in Abu Dhabi Government’, Paper presented at the 29th annual Conference of the International Society for the Scientific Study of Subjectivity, VU University, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 5th-7th September.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2013) ‘Made in the West, converted by the East: Institutionalizing customer-centric public services in Abu Dhabi Government’, Paper presented at the Political Studies Association Annual Conference, City Hall Cardiff, Wales, 25th-27th March.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2012) ‘Made in the West, adapted by the East: Institutionalizing customer-centric public services in non-Western states ‘, Paper presented at the Political Studies Association Graduate Network Conference, University of Oxford, UK, 24th November.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena and Raine, John W. (2016, forthcoming) ‘Experiential learning and teaching at a distance: How different an experience?’ In Liddle, Joyce and Diamond, John (eds) Experimental Learning in Public Management Development, Critical Perspectives in International Public Sector Management, Vol.5, Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena and Skelcher, Chris (2016) ‘Democratic governance: the role of politics and politicians’. In Bovaird, Tony and Loeffler, Elke (eds) Public Management and Governance, 3rd edition, London: Routledge.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2012) ‘Reflective teaching in further and adult education’, Educational Research and Evaluation: An International Journal on Theory and Practice, 8 (8) [DOI: 10.1080/13803611.2012.718504].
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (accepted subject to minor revisions) ‘Homo Subjectivus: The human factor in public administrative reform (in the case of Abu Dhabi Government)’, Public Management Review, forthcoming.
Professional and other publications:
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2008) Putting people into public services - better regulation and inspection, London: National Consumer Council.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2008) Engaging people in healthcare regulation - a route map for action, London: National Consumer Council.
Cullum, Phillip and Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2007) 'Doesn't the consumer know best?' In David Walker (ed) Regulating right, Solace Foundation Imprint, The Guardian.
Craig, Gary; Dadze-Arthur, Abena et. al. (2007) National Evaluation Report - Sure Start and Black and Minority Ethnic Populations, London: Department for Children Schools and Families.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2004) ‘Three Menus – Yet no single recipe! Active Labour Market Policies in the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark’. In Working Brief, 157, pp.19-21.
Dadze-Arthur, Abena (2003) ‘What Works With Offenders?’ In Working Brief, 148, pp.15-19.