Carroll, PGH, Managing globally: the issues faced, Proceedings of the Public Policy Network Annual Conference , 29-30 January 2009, Australian National University, Canberra EJ (2009) [Refereed Conference Paper]
The neglected, but increasingly important role of international activities in the work of Australian ‘domestic’, departments and agencies was the focus of two papers by Carroll in 2007 and 2008. The first reviewed the available literature, indicating how little attention had been paid to these activities and, in addition, established the fact of the rapid growth in such activities with a case study of the growth and development of DEST’s activities (Carroll 2007). The second examined the extent of the international activities of departments and agencies in the Australian Commonwealth Government and how those activities were organised (Carroll 2008). The aim of this paper is to continue the examination of those international activities by identifying and examining the challenges faced by Australian government departments and agencies as they expand their international activities. Its focus is upon departments other than those that have a specialized, largely international role, such as DFAT, for it is in these organizations that international activities have grown most rapidly in recent years.
The paper argues that, while the challenges faced varies by organization, there are a number of significant, common and recurring issues, notably those related to organizational design, strategy, funding, staff recruitment and workloads and intra- and inter-departmental coordination. It is based on a detailed survey of the primary and secondary literature and, most importantly, a series of interviews undertaken by the author with those responsible for international activities in the Commonwealth Government in 2007-08.