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Simply the Best Workplaces Redux

OVERVIEW

In 2003 the Business Council of Australia (BCA) commissioned Daryll Hull and Vivienne Read to undertake field work on the “best” workplaces in Australia, as defined by BCA members, using BCA criteria of “excellence”. This seminal work resulted in the formulation of a framework of fourteen attributes for best workplaces within the Australian work environment. In the decade since this work was published there have been other studies on workplace productivity and workplace leadership in Australia.

CAN WE STEP INTO THE SAME RIVER TWICE?

The pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus stated: ever-newer waters flow on those who step into the same rivers. Loosely transliterated the idea is that it is not possible to revisit the past as knowledge always move on.  History flows like a river and new data, ideas and values overtake past thinking. Given the passing of the last decade, and the volume of newly published studies in workplace matters, what may we find if we step into the river carrying the 2003 study with us?

The research question is: are the conclusions of the 2003 study still valid today, or have they been overtaken by new ideas and new studies?

A comprehensive search of literature published on Australian workplace productivity since 2003 was undertaken in early 2014. From an analysis of in excess of 100 selected papers and refereed journal articles locally and overseas it appears that the underpinning ideas of the 2003 research remain constant. There have been no obvious studies published that contradict the 2003 findings, there are several articles that affirm them and even more articles which cite them as baseline guides/affirmation of their own work.

For example, the 2003 study (originally  published on-line as a “Working Paper”) has been cited at least 34 times in 10 years as a reference for articles, books and refereed commentaries across a range of academic disciplines and topics across the past decade. The 2003 study continues to be cited today.

(Google Scholar 2014 http://scholar.google.com.au/citations?user=sdgFehoAAAAJ&hl=en )

There are dozens of positive current references to and citations of the 2003 study using a basic Google search under “Simply the Best Workplaces in Australia”. They range from articles in A Star Journals, submissions to government inquiries, blogs, references in book chapters, magazine and newspaper articles, and citations by commercial consulting groups who have used the 2003 work in the field. They are spread across Australia and overseas. Something in the study continues to resonate with people about the findings of the 2003 study.