Department of Public Administration and Management

Prof JS Wessels

College of Economic and Management Sciences
School of Public and Operations Management
Department: Public Administration and Management
Professor
Tel: 012 4296099
E-mail: wessejs@unisa.ac.za

Qualifications

  • DPhil (University of Pretoria)

NRF Rating

C2

Fields of academic interests

As part of an on-going search for understanding the meaningfulness of Public Administration knowledge, his research focuses on the trustworthiness (quality, quantity, ethics and integrity) of that knowledge and its methods, as well as its antecedents and consequences of meaningful knowledge. Therefore, Prof Wessels specialises in Public Administration research methodology, research ethics and postgraduate research supervision. His research interests are also in the methodological preparation of Masters and Doctoral students, the selection of appropriate research methods for research projects, higher education policy and ethics in Public Administration.

He is co-editor of and contributor to the scholarly books: Reflective Public Administration: Context, Knowledge and Methods, Reflective Public Administration: Ethics (2014), Reflective Public Administration: Views from the South (1999), and editor and contributor to the textbook South African Human Resource Management for the Public Sector (2005 and 2011).

Prof Wessels has also authored and co-authored more than 40 publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as 19 other publications, reports and scholastic contributions.

Books

Chapter contribution to books

Editor of books

Book review

Scientific journal editorial work

Peer reviewed articles for the following scholarly journals:

  • International Review of Administrative Sciences
  • Meditari Accountancy Research
  • Politeia (Journal of Political Science and Public Administration)
  • Journal of Public Administration
  • Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe (Journal of Humanities)
  • Administratio Publica
  • Southern African Business Review
  • The Journal for Transdisciplinary Research in Southern Africa
  • Journal for Transdisciplinary Research
  • Methodological Innovations

Journal articles

Wessels, J.S, & Vollgraaf, H. (1990), SAIPA-Tydskrif: Doel, redaksionale struktuur en beleid, inhoud en formaat. [SAIPA - Journal: Aim, editorial structure and policy, content and format] SAIPA - Journal of Public Administration, 25(1):39-54

Paper presentations

Presentation of papers at international conferences

  • 2017. The transformation of the accounting profession in South Africa: Reflections on forty years’ encounters with the profession (With E Sadler). Meditari Accountancy Research Conference 2017, Kwansei Gakuin University, Okasa, Japan. 30 September 2017
  • 2017. Public Administration sense-making: in search for a shared meaning for different contexts. Public Administration Theory Network Annual Conference, (Tension and Transition: The New Frontiers of Public Administration), June 1st-4th, Laramie, Wyoming
  • 2016. The most pressing public administration challenges to be addressed in the curricula of institutions of higher education. Paper delivered in Theme 3 (Building Public Service Human and Financial Resources Capacity) at the 2016 IIAS–IASIA Joint congress
    in Chengdu, China, 20–23 September 2016.
  • 2016. Public Service Quality Improvement Research: No potential to harm human subjects? in Working Group 1 at the 2016 IIAS-IASIA Joint Congress in Chengdu, China, 20-23 September 2016
  • 2016: Research Ethics Governance in Higher Education: A quest for ethical leadership. Dr RG Visagie and Prof JS Wessels. Paper read in the Theme: Innovative Leadership for Complex Governance Transitions. 15th International Winelands Conference: Governance of Transitions in a Complex World.
  • 2016: Public Administration research: knowing what you do not know you don’t know. Paper read in the Epistemology/Ontology Panel 3: Conventions Critiqued. Public Administration Theory Network Annual Conference. May 20-22, 2016. San Antonio, Texas
  • 2015: Small Talk versus Smart Talk: Providing Accounting Content and Emotional Support in a Distance Education Course. Paper read on 23 October 2015 at the 14th World Conference on mobile and contextual learning, Venice Italy (17-24 October 2015). (Co-author: AA van Rooyen)
  • 2015: The implications of the New Brunswick Declaration on Research Ethics, Integrity and Governance for Public Administration research. Paper read at the annual conference of the International Association for Schools and Institutes of Administration.7 July 2015, Paris, France. (Co-author: RG Visagie)
  • 2015: The human spirit as a necessary condition for higher education: A risk assessment. Paper read on 30 March 2015 at the annual conference of the Public Administration Theory Network (PatNet), Vancouver, Canada.
  • 2014: Research ethics review applicable to Public Administration research: A risk perspective. Paper delivered in Working Group 1 at the IASIA Annual Conference 2014 in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, 30 June 2014-5 July 2014. (Co-author: Dr Retha Visagie)
  • 2014: A discipline-relevant conceptual framework for research ethics review in economic sciences. Paper presented at the International Workshop on Scientific Misconduct and Research Ethics in Economics Izmir, Turkey: 21-22 August 2014 (Co-authors: Prof Mike van Heerden and Dr Retha Visagie)
  • 2014: Research ethics risks within the context of institutional risk management. Paper read at the International conference on Corporate Governance and Integrate Thinking. 9-11 September 2014. Henley-on-Thames, England. (Co-author: Dr RG Visagie)
  • 2014: Risk, Risk Management and Risk Disclosures in Higher Education: An Open Distance Learning Perspective. Paper read at the International conference on Corporate Governance and Integrate Thinking. 9-11 September 2014. Henley-on-Thames, England. (Co-author: Prof Elmarie Sadler)
  • 2013:Fostering research integrity through institutional research ethics policies: The case of the University of South Africa. Paper presented on 8 May 2013 at the 3rd World Conference on Research Integrity, Montreal, Canada. (Co-authors: Dr Retha Visagie and Prof Mike van Heerden)
  • 2013: Fostering research integrity: challenges for Public Administration Research. Paper presented at the 2013 Joint Conference of IIAS-IASIA, 1-6 June 2013, Manama, Bahrain. (Co-author: Dr Retha Visagie)
  • 2011: Methodological preparation or Public Administration Scholars in South Africa. Paper read at the Bi-annual International Postgraduate Supervision Conference (18-21 April 2011) at Spier Estate, Stellenbosch.
  • 2011:  A core curriculum for a Master's of Public Administration (MPA) Qualification – Some considerations for a developmental state. Paper read in Working Group 1 at the annual conference of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA) on "Improving Administrative Sciences Worldwide". 12-18 June 2011, Rome Italy.
  • 2010: Relevant scholarly research for added citizen value. Paper read at the 12th International Winelands Conference on Leadership for Added Citizen Value, 17-19 March 2010, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • 2010: Institutional affiliation and the selection of research methods in Public Administration: a South African perspective. Paper read in Working group 1: Education and training programme: aligning missions and quality at the 22nd IASIA Annual Conference, Bali (Indonesia) 12-17 July 2010
  • 2009: Methodological challenges for postgraduate research supervision: A  Public Administration case study. Postgraduate Supervision Conference: Research & Practice. 27-30 April 2009, Stellenbosch, South Africa. Organised by the Centre for Higher & Adult Education, University of Stellenbosch.
  • 2008: Public Administration scholarship without condition – a South African perspective. Paper presented on 30 May 2008 at the 21st Annual Meeting of the Public Administration Theory Network (PATNet). Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia
  • 2008: Research by South African Public Administration scholars: what are they analysing and how? Paper read on 18 April 2008 at the 11th International Winelands Conference on Public and Development Management. Stellenbosch, South Africa. (With J.C. Pauw and X.C. Mkhonto)
  • 2007: Transforming the public service for serving a diverse society: can representativeness be the most decisive criterion? Paper read on 3 July 2007 at the Seventh International Conference on Diversity in Organisations, Communities and Nations, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (3-6 July 2007).
  • 2006:  South African trends in Master's and Doctoral research in Public Administration. Paper read at the International Conference on Postgraduate Supervison: The State of the Art and the Artists. 23 - 26 April 2007. University of Stellenbosch. South Africa.
  • 2005: The challenges of knowledge production by researchers in Public Administration: A South African perspective. Paper to be read at the Conference “Knowledge Production and Higher Education in the 21st Century”, Bergen, Norway August 31- September 2, 2005.
  • 2006: The role of higher education in developing and retaining the best for the public service -- a South African perspective. Paper read during the annual Conference of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, Warsaw, Poland, 5-8 July 2006 (with L.C. van Jaarsveldt)
  • 2003: Public Administration Research ... A South African Masquerade, paper read at the 16th annual conference of the Public Administration Theory Network (Patnet), Anchorage, Alaska, USA. 19-21 June 2003.  The theme of the conference was “Masks ... Boundaries”.
  • 2002: Access in distance learning: learning challenges,  paper read at the XV Annual Conference of the Asian Association of Open Universities Access & Equity: Challenges for Open and Distance Learning, 21-23 February 2002
  • 2000: Accountable criteria to assess responsive learning material in Public Administration. Paper read at the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA) at Beijing, China, 10-13 July 2000.
  • 1999: Equipping public officials to cope with the ever-changing future challenges. Paper read at the Annual Conference of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration (IASIA) at Birmingham, England, 19-22 July 1999.
  • 1998: Civil service commissions in Britain and its dominions: common historical origin, different destinies, paper read at the BISA/PSA Political Science Group's Workshop-Conference on The Dominion Concept: Inter-state and Domestic Politics in the British Empire, held from 21 to 25 July 1998 at the University of Warwick, England.
  • 1996: Professional education and training for public servants: the role of the university, paper read with V.A. Clapper during the annual conference of the International Association of Schools and Institutes of Administration, 30 June - 5 July 1996, Durban.

Presentation of papers at domestic conferences

  • 2017: Informed Consent in Public Administration Research: A Matter of Autonomy. (co-authored with Dr RG Visagie). Paper read at the Annual conference of South African Association of Public Administration and Management (SAAPAM), Empangeni, KZN. 3-5 April 2017.
  • 2017.  The supervisor as coastguard: A reflection on the role of the supervisor in the methodological preparedness of doctoral candidates (co-authored with XC Thani and RG Visagie). Paper read at the Postgraduate Supervision Conference, Spier Wine Estate, Stellenbosch (29 – 31 March, 2017)
  • 2016. The human spirit as a necessary condition for higher education: a risk assessment. Leading Change Conference. University of South Africa. 7th September 2016.
  • 2016. Evidence based policymaking: Knowing what you do not know you don’t know. Presented at the ASSADPAM Annual Conference, Cape Town, 26th October 2016.
  • 2016. Research Ethics Governance in Higher Education: A quest for ethical leadership. 15th International Winelands Conference. Stellenbosch, 31st March 2016. (With Dr R.G. Visagie)
  • 2015. Case Study Research Design in Public Administration: A Conceptual Framework. Annual conference of ASSADPAM. Johannesburg, 19 November 2015. (With J N Zongozzi)
  • 2014. The reduction of the human spirit in higher education: a risk assessment. Paper presented at a conference on Tertiary Education and the battle for intelligence. 31 October 2014. University of Pretoria.
  • 2011: Methodological preparation or Public Administration Scholars in South Africa. Paper read with XC Thani at the Bi-annual international Postgraduate Supervision Conference. 18-21 April 2011. Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • 2010: Institutional affiliation and the selection of research methods in Public Administration: a South African perspective; Annual Conference of the Association of Southern African Association of Departments and Schools in Departments of Public Administration, 21 September 2010, Pretoria
  • 2010: Relevant scholarly research for added citizen value. Paper read at the International Winelands Conference on Leadership for Added Citizen Value. 17-19 March 2010. Stellenbosch, South Africa.
  • 2009: Master of Public Administration - Improving Public Value. Lessons from Australia and New Zeeland. Paper read on 10 September 2009 at the ASSADPAM Conference on Public value in a Developmental State: Innovative Teaching, Training and Practice? Conference hosted by the Stellenbosch University
  • 2008: Implications of the Higher Education Qualification Framework for the Masters of Public Administration. Paper read at Annual General Meeting and Conference of ASSADPAM, 28-29 October 2008, University Of The Free State, Bloemfontein.
  • 2007: Trends in South African Master's and Doctoral Research. Annual Conference of the Association of Southern African Departments and Schools of Public Administration and Management (ASSADPAM), 30 May 2007 -1 June 2007. Windhoek, Namibia

Professional positions, fellowships & awards

Membership of academic, professional and scientific associations/ organisations

  • Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns
  • Public Administration Theory Network (PatNet)
  • South African Association of Public Administration and Management (SAAPAM)

 

Special awards

  • NRF: C3 Rating (2006)
  • NRF: C2 Rating (2012)
  • NRF: C2 Rating (2018)
  • Researcher of the year: School of Management Sciences, Unisa (2009)

Projects

Masters students:

 Doctoral students:

Other

Research Focus Areas

He is the lead researcher for the research focus area “Knowledge and methods of Public Administration”.


His research focuses on improving the relevance, influence, quality and integrity of Public Administration research, has crystallised in the following three research streams:

  • Sound Public Administration Research Design and Methods
  • Ethical considerations in Public Administration research design  
  • An environment conducive to meaningful Public Administration knowledge

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