Mental Health and Work | OECD READ edition

This working paper from the OECD is well worth a read. The research highlights some pioneering practices in different OECD countries.

via Mental Health and Work | OECD READ edition.

Personally, I struggled with the paper and found it too generalized. For me, it came across as a summary of the research literature. However, there were two fundamental weaknesses. Firstly, the paper did not adequately differentiate between theory and empirical research. Secondly, the research paper was anchored too narrowly in terms of literature. For example, I would have expected to see reference to the enormous body of research in the area of business administration, in particular in relation to the following areas:

  • Strategy, and
  • Work

The primary title is ‘Mental Health and Work’ but the secondary title is ‘Achieving well integrated policies and service delivery’. I accept that there is a reasonable overview of parts of the mental health literature but the paper is very weak on achieving integrated policies and effective service delivery.

Most importantly, the working paper comes across as written by academics without recent experience of the realities of life for both the mentally ill and the challenges of the contemporary work force. The research ignores context, which in my view is critical.

Context includes widespread excessive austerity, with governments increasingly facing polarization of political opinion – the extreme left and extreme right are on the rise – politicians of the center are struggling. As has been highlighted repeatedly in this blog, over the last four years, governments’ reform of the public sector bureaucracies have been largely ineffective. Yet this working paper is arguing in favor of greater bureauracy, rather than training more mental health practitioners.

Apart from a clear perspective in terms of methodology (either in terms of objectivity or subjectivity), the biggest weakness in this paper is that it is not anchored in strategic analysis. This blog has long argued for more grand strategy and less policy on the hoof but politicians play for short-term political wins.

As an expert in delivering strategy and effective change, I found the paper very light on best practice in delivery change.

Whilst this review has been rather critical, the paper cites some excellent examples of good practice, like for example in Australia.

Overall, I would have expected an internationally acclaimed think-tank, like the OECD ,to be capable of more effective research, like the quality of say the IMF (the International Monetary Authority).

Of course, I am happy to be challenged?

Any thoughts?

Tories position their election message in the middle of the road | Politics | The Guardian

This is a good article from the Guardian and well worth a read. Check it out!

via Tories position their election message in the middle of the road | Politics | The Guardian.

David Cameron‘s problem is that his government has been rather strong on austerity and light on compassion. Irrespective of where he pitches his tent, he will trying to offer more of the same. The most negative aspects of the Tory campaign will be targeted at Labour, focused at their leadership quality and their economic record. Cameron might like to follow Germany‘s Angela Merkel but he does not really have her qualities, especially tenacity and the ability to lead a grand coalition. If we accept the likelihood that there will be no overall winner then a coalition of one or more parties must prevail.

So perhaps the campaigners need to be thinking about forming another coalition or indeed a grand coalition?

Any thoughts?