Dr Abena F. Dadze-Arthur

Dr Abena F Dadze-Arthur

Institute of Local Government Studies

Contact details

School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Following a ten-year professional career as a public policy specialist working for various governments across the world, Abena switched to an academic career in public management and governance, and is currently a lecturer in the School of Government & Society at the University of Birmingham.

Abena teaches courses on various aspects of public management and governance to a) international distance learners, who complete the programme wholly online; b) in-house local government participants, and c) ‘on-campus’ students comprising a mix of full-time and part-time-registered practitioner students.

Abena's research mainly focuses on non-western and post-western public management approaches that are rooted in local subject positions, indigenous norms and values, locally embedded representational and performative practices, and mirror local history, culture, and religious or philosophical traditions, while promoting public engagement, accountability and effective public services.

Abena's other research interests fall out of the above, and include knowledge transfer and knowledge brokering within and across institutional and cultural boundaries.



  • PhD in Culturally Rooted Public Management, University of Birmingham, UK (2016)
  • MSc in Political Sociology, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK (2002)
  • BSc (Hons) in International Studies, Drexel University USA (2000)


  • Certificate for effective online teaching, Wiley Publisher, Chicago, USA (2015)
  • City & Guilds Level 4 Teaching Qualification (PTLLS), East London College, UK (2012)
  • Balanced Scorecard Certification Diploma, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2010)
  • Monitoring and Evaluation Certificate, World Bank, Abu Dhabi, UAE (2010)
  • Qualified Project Manager (PRINCE2), APM Group, London, UK (2008)


Abena spent 10 years working as a public policy specialist in governments across Europe, the Middle East and Africa, where she researched and developed government policy across a wide range of public service areas.  Her last professional roles included a three-year position as an Adviser to the Crown Prince's General Secretariat of the Executive Council in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, an appointment as Specialist Panel Advisor to the UK Government on 'Transforming Public Services around Citizens' in the Beacon Excellency Awards, and a position at UNESCO, where she was responsible for working with African member states on public participation policies. During her time as a public policy specialist, Abena’s work has always revolved around harnessing the power of people's shared values in order to achieve social innovation in government, improved public  management, and better public services.

Following Abena's switch to an academic career in public management and governance, her research interests revolve around culturally rooted public management approaches.  Accordingly, Abena's research fuses inter-disciplinary knowledge to advance the identification and analysis of new, non-western and post-western public management models and normative public policy.

Abena is fluent in English and German, proficient in French and Ancient Latin, and has basic knowledge of Twi (Akan language) and Arabic.  She is also a Certified Project Manager (PRINCE 2), a Balanced Scorecard practitioner, and holds a Monitoring & Evaluation Certification Diploma from the World Bank.


  • Public Management and Governance in a Changing World (master level)
  • Participation, Democracy and Governance (master level)
  • Managing Public Behaviour (master level)
  • Theories of Bureaucracy (master level)
  • Management Approaches in Complex Adaptive Systems (master level)
  • Influence, Advocacy, and Facilitation in Partnerships (master level)
  • International Public Management (master level)
  • Research and Study Skills (master level)
  • The Foundation of Politics (undergraduate level)


Research interests:

Starting from the premises that ‘man is a subjective animal’, Abena’s research examines the ways in which groups of people in the public sector make shared meaning, construct different ‘realities’ and choose behaviours at group-level.  Her research pursues the twin goal of (1) offering operational approaches to charting and mobilising particular local systems of meaning, and (2) conceptually consolidating the observations made within a particular real-life scenario to infer general patterns beyond the specific case.

In doing so, Abena’s research generally builds on the following:

  • International public management and governance
  • The scientific study of subjectivity
  • Situated agency and sensemaking in public sector organisations
  • Social behaviour change in the public sector
  • Inter-disciplinary cultural analysis (drawing on interpretive sociology, organisation theory, cognitive pedagogy, social psychology, cognitive-cultural anthropology, social phenomenology, post- and de-colonial theory)

Theoretical anchoring: Enactivist theories that conceptualize cognition as an integral part of embodied, situated and socially constructed sensemaking.

Methodological approaches: Constructivist-interpretative, Q Methodology

Empirical focus: non-western and post-western public administrations / public sector contexts



Dadze-Arthur, A. and Raine, J. W. (2017) ‘Experiential learning and teaching at a distance: How different an experience?’ In Liddle, J. and Diamond, J. (eds) Experimental Learning in Public Management Development, Critical Perspectives in International Public Sector Management, Vol.5, Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

Dadze-Arthur, A. and Skelcher, C. (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, A. (2012) ‘Book Review: 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].

Professional and other

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’. Working Brief, 157:19-21.