Area of Expertise
Public- and private-sector labor management relations; conflict management and alternative-dispute resolution; productivity and employee satisfaction
Robert Tobias teaches courses in public sector leadership in the Key Executive Leadership Programs. He also teaches facilitation and team development, conflict management and alternative dispute resolution, and managing labor management relations. Finally, he is the Director of the Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation which brings together members of Congress, political appointees, career federal executives, union leaders, consultants, and academics for the purpose of resolving difficult public policy implementation issues. President Clinton nominated and the Senate confirmed him for a five-year term as a member of the Internal Revenue Service Oversight Board. Tobias received the Paul P. Van Riper Award from the American Society for Public Administration “In recognition of his outstanding contributions to both the theory and practice of public administration” and the Warner Stockberger award from the International Public Management Association for Human Resources for “outstanding contributions in the field of public sector personnel management at the federal level.” He has also been elected as a Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. Tobias was selected by Thomas Ridge, secretary, Department of Homeland Security, and Kay Coles James, director, Office of Personnel Management to the Human Resource Management System Senior Review Advisory Committee. In addition, Comptroller General David Walker appointed Tobias to the congressionally created Commercial Activities Panel. Tobias is a frequent contributor to Federal Times, Government Employees Relations Report, and Government Executive magazine on current federal sector public policy implementation issues. In September 2010, his Institute for the Study of Public Policy Implementation and the Partnership for Public Service released the 2010 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government report. The 2010 analysis was similar to those released in 2003, 2005, 2007, and 2009. Best Places to Work provides a relative ranking of 31 large agencies, 34 small agencies, and 224 agency sub-components on overall employee engagement, as well as in 10 work environment categories, including effective leadership, performance-based rewards and advancement, family-friendly culture, and benefits. This year’s government-wide index is up 2.7 percent, and since the initial rankings in 2003, the index is up 7.4 percent. For the fifth time in a row, the primary driver of job satisfaction in the federal space is effective leadership (see:http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/demographics/large/leadership).Conventional wisdom holds that the greatest influence on an employee’s satisfaction is his or her immediate supervisor (see: http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/demographics/large/leadership_sub_supervisors).However, it was initially discovered in the 2009 Best Places analysis that the quality of the agency’s senior leadership has more impact on the overall score. That trend continued in 2010 in the Best Places rankings (see:http://bestplacestowork.org/BPTW/rankings/demographics/large/leadership_sub_leaders).