IRSPM O’Leary Prize

  • Williamson, Sue (Recipient), Taylor, Helen (Recipient) & Weeratunga, Vindhya (Recipient)

Prize: AwardExternal award


The IRSPM Rosemary O’Leary Prize was inaugurated in 2019 to recognize excellent scholarship on women in public administration, broadly defined. It is named after Professor Rosemary O’Leary, an outstanding public management scholar in her own right and a previous IRSPM Routledge Lifetime Achievement Award winner.

This article was chosen for the substantial contribution it makes to scholarship on women and public administration. The paper provides novel conceptual perspectives by questioning the concept of the 'ideal worker' (typically attributed to men), yielding a significant contribution to the HR literature in public services and the digitalisation agenda in public management.

Drawing on a large database of 5000 Australian employees in a mixed methods design, the paper offers new and important empirical research on the benefits of hybrid working for disabled women and women with caring responsibilities. Drawing on Acker's ideal worker norm, the paper finds that these women are more productive working from home, without having to negotiate a compromise between being a public servant and a carer or disabled person. This paper provides a strong case for legitimising the emerging ‘multi-dimensional ideal worker’ in the hybrid world of work, which can only benefit all organizations and employees. The paper particularly stands out through its scholarly rigour and innovation. It makes an important, evidence-based contribution to reducing harmful gendered workplace practices which has the potential to substantially progress gender equality.

Sue Williamson, Helen Taylor and Vindhya are the 6th winners of this prize, which was decided upon by a panel of IRSPM board members: Professor Ileana Steccolini (IRSPM President and Chair of the Committee), Dr. Elke Loeffler and Dr. Annette Quayle, with the support of Eva Thomann, IRSPM Awards Coordinator.
Degree of recognitionInternational