Leadership, Change and Conflict: An Examination of Informal Human Resources Theory for Policy Capacity

Bobby Thomas Robert Cameron


In recent times, academics and practitioners have focused on the optimal processes and capabilities required to increase an organization’s policy capacity, but there is little research on the human resource theory adopted by practitioners to improve public policy and its development. This article presents the results of a 2018 case study of policy capacity involving thirty-one interviews with civil servants in a small provincial government in Canada.  An informal theory of policy capacity and human resources centering on leadership, conflict management, change management, and analytical capabilities is articulated using the language of practitioners. For practitioners, the findings of this article provide guidance and context for human resource strategies for policy capacity. The article concludes that there is an opportunity for academics to expand the paradigmatic boundaries of human resources research in public administration for the purposes of improving policy capacity.


Qualitative, case study, semi-structured interviews, public sector, sub-national, Canada, Prince Edward Island

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@Canadian Political Science Review (CPSR). ISSN 1911-4125