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Does actors' engagement with capacity-building training programs enable delivery of SDG-aligned public services? The case of senior public officials
journal contributionposted on 2024-02-06, 05:01 authored by Fara Azmat, Ahmed FerdousAhmed Ferdous, Faisal Wali, Mohammad MuttakinMohammad Muttakin, Mohammed Ziaul Haque
PurposeThis study examines whether engagement with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG)-focused specialized training programs enable senior public officials (focal actor) to collectively deliver on public services that have a transformational societal impact over time. Further, the study explores the factors that impede and facilitate the delivery of such services. The authors do so by using service mechanics theorization and drawing on the lens of actor and collective engagement.Design/methodology/approachThis study undertakes a longitudinal exploratory qualitative study design. SDG-focused training programs were delivered, as interventions, for two cohorts of senior public officials from Bangladesh in an Australian University in 2017 and 2019. In-depth interviews were conducted upon the training's completion and then after 8- and 12-month intervals to assess the short- and long-term impact respectively.FindingsAn empirical framework is proposed from the study findings. It shows that engagement – cognitive, emotional and behavioral – with SDG-focused specialized training programs enables focal actors (i.e. senior public officials) to engage other actors (other public officials, community members) in networks, facilitated the delivery of SDG-aligned public services. Such engagement results in a transformative impact that spans micro (individual), meso (organizational) and macro (societal) levels over time. Factors that impede and facilitate SDG-aligned delivery of public services are also identified.Research limitations/implicationsTheoretically, the authors contribute to the literature that relates to actor and collective engagement, SDG-focused capacity-building training programs and service mechanics. Practically, this study informs organizations about the ways that they can effectively engage their senior employees with capacity-building training programs that focus on sustainability.Originality/valueThis study is one of the few that connects the interface between public service delivery for enacting societal changes and SDG-focused capacity-building training programs through service mechanics theorization and using the lens of actor and collective engagement.