Conflict: Government and Policy Team Essay

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Case Study3 : The Poisoned Chalice:
By Matthew Mcdonald, University of New South Wales
Joseph had been a team leader for two years and felt he was ready to take the next step in his public service career. He had begun his career as a graduate trainee in the Department of Agriculture after completing a double degree in commerce and environmental science. After his traineeship he was offered permanency as a policy officer, eventually rising to the post of team leader. As a team leader Joseph felt he had gained the trust and respect of his four staff member and had learnt the basic skills of being a manager.
Joseph applied for various management positions within his own department without success. Undeterred, he applied for a position in
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However, as the days turned into weeks some major problems in the taskforce began to appear.
The first major problem was that other sections within the department were unhelpful and difficult to deal with when he made requests of them or sought to initiate collaborations. When he asked his staff why this was the case, the most common response was that the department had “had it in” for the taskforce as posing a threat to their own positions. The bad blood between the taskforce and the rest of the department made Joseph’s position vary difficult because he and his staff were heavily reliant on other areas of the department for their expertise, advice and assistance in order to manage the project successfully.
The second major problem was the taskforce itself, Joseph began to realize that the two teams were highly antagonistic towards each other. This was evident in taskforce meetings, where there was an obvious hostility between them.
Joseph also discovered that very little had been achieved since the taskforce was setup, and found that it was now well behind the government’s schedule. However, the full implications of Joseph’s predicament became apparent only after a revealing conversation with Alison, a junior member of the implementation team, while working back late one evening.
Alison told Joseph that the previous manager of the taskforce, John, had left the position because of the problems associated
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