Professor Michael Hess

School of Business
+61 2 6268 8093


Room 119
Building 27
UNSW Canberra at ADFA


Professor Michael Hess is an academic in the School of Business at UNSW Canberra.

Professional and Teaching Experience

Professor Hess came to UNSW@ADFA after a career in Australian academic institutions.  His most recent appointment was as Professor of Management in the University of Tasmania where he was one of the founding members of the Australian Innovation Research Centre.  Prior to that he was Reader in the Asia Pacific School of Economics and Management and Director of Graduate Studies in Development Administration at the Australian National University.  Professor Hess has also held tenured appointments at the University of New South Wales and the University of Western Australia.

Professor Hess has taught courses at undergraduate and postgraduate level in Strategic Management, International Business Management, Human Resource Management, Industrial Relations and Labour History.

Current Research

Professor Hess has longterm research interests in economic development and community participation as well as in Business and Labour History. 

He is currently involved in research projects on:

  • recovery after the Crisis on Bougainville (Papua New Guinea) and how various sectors of the community are participating in this;
  • the development of the 'community agenda' and social innovation in public management; and
  • business and labour history in regional economies.


Research Experience

Professor Hess began his research career in the field of industrial relations with a focus on ‘developing’ economies.  His interest in industrial relations included work on the development of industrial organisations and has been extended to an interest in the history of both business enterprise and union organization.  These interests continue with projects on the history of business and labour currently focused on Tasmanian cases where issues of regional development have particular significance.

For the last decade Professor Hess has researched new practices in public sector management and especially those arising at the interface between governments and communities.  This work has concentrated on understanding how community focused approaches can enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of public service delivery.  This research is distinguished by its focus on unpacking the theoretical underpinnings of rapidly changing public management practices.  Collaboration with practitioners has been a central part of it and it has feed into policy considerations in several Australian State governments.

A major aspect of Professor Hess’s research experience has been in the supervision of higher degree research candidates and mentoring younger academics.  Assisting early career researchers to develop projects which can be successfully completed within formal qualifications, for publication or for research grant application remains one of his most worthwhile academic activities.

Book Chapters

Hess M, 2009, 'The National Civic Council and the Tasmanian Branch of the Liquor Trades Union in the 1970s', in Oliver B (ed.), Labour History in the New Century, edn. Original, Black Swan Press, Perth, pp. 143 - 153

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2007, 'Governance and Community Strengthening – a case study from Victoria, Australia', in Social Capital, Lifelong Learning and the Management of Place, edn. Original, Routledge, London, pp. 41 - 50

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2006, 'New research instruments for government: measuring community engagement', in Duke C; Doyle L; Wilson B (ed.), Making Knowledge Work: Sustaining Learning Communities and Regions, edn. Original, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education, Leicester, UK, pp. 67 - 83

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2005, 'Localisation in Contemporary Public Management', in Smyth P; Reddel T; Jones A (ed.), Community and Local Governance in Australia, edn. Original, UNSW Press, Sydney, pp. 226 - 244

Hess M; Imbun BY, 2003, 'Papua New Guinea', in Zanko M; Ngui M (ed.), Handbook of Human Resource Management Policies and Practices in Asia-Pacific Economies, edn. Original, Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham UK, pp. 285 - 338

Hess M; Adams D, 2002, 'Knowledge and Networks in the New Public Administration', in Knowledge, Networks and Joined-up Government, Centre for Public Policy, Melbourne, pp. 15 - 38

Journal articles

Hess M; Maidment E; Gima K, 2016, 'Establishing the Bougainville Mining Workers' Union, 1969-1976', Journal of Pacific History, vol. 51, pp. 21 - 42,

Hess M; Maidment E, 2014, 'Industrial conflict in paradise: making the Bougainville copper project construction agreement 1970', The Economic and Labour Relations Review, vol. 25, pp. 271 - 289,

Adams DJ; Hess M, 2010, 'Social Innovation and Why It Has Policy Significance', The Economics and Labour Relations Review, vol. 21, pp. 139 - 156

Hess M, 2010, ''We made a good team ...; Establishing the Federated Liquor and Allied Industries Employees Union i Tasmania', Tasmanian Historical Studies, vol. 15, pp. 131 - 150

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2010, 'Operationalising place-based innovaion in public administration', Journal of Place Management and Development, vol. 3, pp. 8 - 22,

Hess M, 2009, 'Against all odds:Establishing the Miscellaneous Workers Union in Tasmania 1949-59', Labour History, vol. 96, pp. 101 - 116

Hess M, 2008, 'Community as a factor in union organization’', Journal of Organizational Change Management, vol. 21, pp. 497 - 510

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2007, 'Innovation in Public Management: the role and function of community knowledge', The Innovation Journal, vol. 12,

Hess M, 2007, 'Ray Tilley of Birchalls: innovation in the book trade', Tasmanian Historical Studies, vol. 12, pp. 91 - 110

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2006, 'Innovation and the Interface between Local Community and Global Economy', Public Administration Today

Hess M, 2003, 'Governance and Knowledge in the Post-Market State', Canberra Bulletin of Public Administration, vol. 109, pp. 33 - 36

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2003, 'Public Sector Reform and the Public Interest in Australia', Asian Journal of Political Science, vol. 11, pp. 22 - 39

Hess M; Adams D, 2002, 'Knowing and Skilling in Contemporary Public Administration', Austral;ian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 61, pp. 68 - 79

Byrne M; Hess M, 1992, 'Shipping's New Industrial Relations: A View from Below', Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 34, pp. 580 - 588,

Hess M, 1983, '‘In the Long Run …’: Australian Colonial Labour Policy in the Territory of Papua and New Guinea', Journal of Industrial Relations, vol. 25, pp. 51 - 67,

Conference Papers

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2007, 'Social Innovation and Public Policy', in Social Innovation and Public Policy, 5th PASCAL Observatory International Conference, University of Pecs, Hungary, presented at 5th PASCAL Observatory International Conference, University of Pecs, Hungary, 23 September 2007 - 25 September 2007

Conference Presentations

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2006, 'Locality based innovation and community knowledge in public management', presented at 6th Annual Hawaii Internaitonal Conference on Business, Hawaii, 25 May 2006 - 28 May 2006

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2006, 'Theorising the link between locality and innovation in public administration', presented at Building Stronger Communities – New Learnings, Better Governance, Future Directions, Pascal Social Observatory/RMIT Melbourne, 14 July 2006

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2006, 'The Public Administration of Social Capital in Australia', presented at Governments and Communities in Partnership: from theory to practice, Centre for Public Policy, University of Melbourne, 27 September 2006 - 30 September 2006

Hess M, 2005, 'Network Governance in participatory processes', presented at Workshop Towards an Inclusive Society: Shaping the Policy Process, Division of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations, New York, 13 July 2005 - 15 July 2005

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2005, 'Measuring Community Engagement', presented at International Conference on Engaging Communities, Brisbane, 14 August 2005 - 17 August 2005

Hess M; Adams DJ, 2005, 'Researching Community Capital for Public Management: some Victorian experience', presented at PASCAL/OECD Conference Making Knowledge Work, Stirling University, 25 October 2005 - 28 October 2005

Working Papers

Hess M, 2006, Employment and Labour Markets, Public Affairs Group, AusAid, Canberra, A.C.T., Pacific 2020, Background paper, http://dx.doi.org