Public Management

Course Description: 

Mandatory for all One-year MA students ( Students must take this or the Law and Public Policy course)

Elective for MPA and Mundus MAPP students

The course on focuses on public management reform, from the classical Weberian hierarchical system to recent modernisation programmes and the new governance. The first part of the course focuses on core concepts in public management, including public and private goods, market failures and policy failures, the tools of government, and debates about modernising public policy. The second part centres on Weber’s classical model of hierarchical public management and the critiques of this model. This includes analysis of the alternatives that became most prevalent as a range of governments sought to improve the economy, efficiency and effectiveness of public service provision: the New Public Management and New Governance. The third part of the course turns to the five most important sources of policy failure and policy disasters – inadequate preparation, poor incentive structures, veto players, implementation failure and compliance problems. The concluding session is dedicated to crisis management. 

Learning Outcomes: 

The course is designed to provide students with specialized knowledge and skills pertaining to disciplines of public policy and public administration. The overreaching objective is that students master analysis of different models of public administration and the sources of policy failures. Students will explore the history of public management reform, from the first efforts to establish professional hierarchical bureaucracies to more recent reforms oriented toward efficient and effective delivery of public services. They will gain some experience in identifying policy problems, choosing appropriate analytical tools, and analysing contemporary issues. Upon successful completion of the course students should be in a position to engage critically with the research-based literature on public management, and develop well-reasoned positions on proposals for public policy reform. Strong student should be able to assess the economic, ethical, social and political dimensions of public policy proposals, and evaluate policy reforms using criteria such as efficiency, effectiveness, transparency, accountability, legality and legitimacy.

Assessment: 

The course work consists of three elements: in-class work, class presentations and a written essay in the form of a policy paper.

  1. In-class work includes participation and discussion in the seminars. This is on a pass/fail basis.
  2. Class presentations account for 30% of the final grade. Presentations are done individually or in groups. The in-class presentation should take no more than 12 minutes, and be supported by a one or two-page policy briefing note (max 600 words, all included).
  3. The final policy paper (max 3000 words, all included), written individually, will make up 70% of the final grade.

 Class attendance is obligatory: 

  • Each 100-minute session counts as one class, missing it counts as one absence.
  • Excused absences must be cleared in advance and/or supported by documentation (e.g. a medical note) e-mailed to the SPP coordinator.
  • Each un-excused absence will result in a reduction of the final grade by one step, for example from a B+ to a B, then from a B to a B- etc.  
  • Unexcused absences require completion of a missed class assignment within one week:  a 500-word review of the core reading for that class.
  • The first two unexcused absences will not result in a grade reduction if an adequate missed class assignment is submitted before the deadline.