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Work, Employment, Regulation and Governance Research

Working from Home

A/Prof Linda Colley is collaborating with Dr Sue Williamson UNSW Canberra, to conduct research on flexible working arrangements. Starting in 2018 this was supplemented with a survey of Australian public servants during the 2020 COVID lockdown. The 6000 responses made it one of the earlier and larger studies in Australia at that time.  Colley and Williamson aim to continue that work with the public sector unions covering 9 jurisdictions in 2021, to ask follow up questions around the sustained effects of working from home on teams and careers. The results to date indicate there have been significant productivity and employee wellbeing benefits in working from home, with managers expressing satisfaction with the outcomes.

Associated Professor Linda Colley has recently taken up a position Special Commissioner Equity and Diversity in the Queensland Public Service Commission (QPSC). She will continue as adjunct staff member at School of Business and Law, CQUniversity. She is commended for excellent contributions to research in the School and for her leadership of the WERG group.

The role of middle managers in progressing gender equality in the public sector.

This project considers the puzzle of ongoing gender inequality in public services, despite decades of policy and strategy.  It considers the role of middle managers, who have primary decision-making over human resource issues including recruitment, development, promotion and access to flexible working arrangements. The project was funded by the Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) $60,000 and industry partners $30,000 cash and $30,000 in-kind. Project investigators included A/Prof Linda Colley and Dr Sue Williamson (UNSW Canberra).

The research was conducted with four state public service partners, and the extensive fieldwork included policy analysis with a gender lens, 40 focus groups with more than 270 public service managers, and interviews with 21 senior public servants and HR specialists. The researchers worked with NZ colleagues to extend the project internationally.

From Hierarchy to high performance? Evaluating 30 years of Senior Executive Services

This project is funded by the Australian Research Council as a Discovery Project, with chief investigators A/Prof Linda Colley and Professor Brian Head (UQ). The project asks why, despite 30 years of reform, public service capacity continues to be questioned and found wanting, and evaluates whether Senior Executive Service (SES) schemes introduced in the 1980s have delivered superior performance. Thisstudy of all 9 Australian jurisdictions, across time, identifies: who the SES are; how they are employed; how their roles changed; and how they contribute to effective governance. The project will produce 9 individual jurisdiction histories, as well as a contemporary survey of SES officer views on issues form merit, to tenure, to mobility.

head shot of Angelo Capuano in a suit smiling at the camera

An educative approach in preventative equality law:

Can university policy and education design play a role in proactively addressing unlawful discrimination in education and employment on the basis of “disability” and “social origin”?


Tertiary students with disability and various social origins face a number of challenges at university and when attempting to enter the workforce after graduation. This project investigates how existing university policy and teaching practice exacerbates these challenges and creates inequalities on the basis of disability and social origin. These inequalities have capacity to filter into workplaces and influence workplace culture. This project aims to propose improvements to university policy and teaching practice which may enhance equality on the basis of disability and social origin in not only higher education but also in employment settings.

Head shot of Jacob Deem in a suit smiling at the camera

Recognise, but how? Public attitudes towards the constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians

Recognising First Nations People in the Australian Constitution is one of the most significant legal and political challenges of our time. In this New Staff Research Grant project, Dr Jacob Deem examined public attitudes towards establishing a First Nations Voice in the Constitution, finding substantial support for such a Voice. The results also showed that an alternative proposal, to legislate the Voice and not change the Constitution, attracted significantly less support. The project highlights the importance of community involvement and public education on this important issue.

Upamali Amarakoon Profile Photo

Dr. Upamali Amarakoon

Dr. Upamali Amarakoon is one of 14 research members of the WERG group. One project led by Upamali focuses on human resource management innovations to address attraction and retention challenges in regional small businesses (SBs). Regional SBs account for 34% of gross domestic profit and 44% of employment creation. Yet over 50% of regional SBs are challenged by employee attraction and retention issues. Based on regional Queensland, this project aims to develop an implementation guide for SBs to improve the nature of their jobs and work environment to address employee attraction and retention challenges.

Prof Quamrul Alam standing in front of his office bookshelf smiling

Professor Quamrul Alam - Professor of International Business and Strategy

Professor Quamrul Alam is one of the leading researchers in the WERG group. Quamrul has a PhD in Development Economics from Flinders University, a Master’s degree in Economics from Manchester University, UK, and a BA (honours) from University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. He joined CQUniversity in March 2018. Before joining CQUniversity Quamrul worked at Monash University, La Trobe University, Victoria University, The university of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

In his academic work, he has taught a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate business units, mainly in strategic management, international business, public management, and public policy. He has published over 60 journal articles, 18 book chapters and four books. He has edited two books in 2020 and 2021 published by Routledge. His articles have been published in the Thunderbird Journal of Business Review, European Journal of Management, Administration and Society, Public Administration and Development, Public Management Review, International Review of Administrative Sciences, Australian Journal of Public Administration, International Journal of Public Administration, Journal of Management History, South Asia, Journal of Banking and Finance, and Journal of Business Ethics. Quamrul has also supervised 19 PhD students to completion and is supervising ten RHD students at CQUniversity. At present, Quamrul is co-editing a special issue of Public Administration and Development. The main focus of his research is on public policy, public governance, corporate social responsibility, and regulation and governance.

Quamrul received six large research grants from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Australia. He also received grants from UNDP, Australian Dairy industry, Australian Grain Council. He has successfully conducted many funded research projects. After joining CQUniversity, Quamrul coordinated five executive leadership training programs for 125 Bangladesh public servants in 2018 and 2019. He is currently working with Grameen Australia on an ARC linkage grant application. He is also working on a project entitled ‘the impact of COVID-19 on the social and economic wellbeing of the East African communities in Victoria.