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Spring 2013 - 62725 - PA384C - Public Management

Instructor(s): Bacon, Kevin
Unique Number: 62725
Day & Time: M 6:00 pm -9:00 pm
Room: SRH 3.212/221
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information
Course Overview

This course provides substantive instruction in administrative policymaking and implementation. It is usually taken during the first year. Students are introduced to the role and method of administration in meeting policy expectations, resolving issues, responding to new requirements, and evaluating performance. The course covers the following topics: organization structure and bureaucracy, management issues and processes, managerial psychology, managing diversity, leadership, strategic planning, interorganizational relations, administrative law, human resource management, labor relations, personnel administration, performance measurement, program evaluation, information management, and ethics of public service. Each section of the course uses a different aspect of public administration or public management to emphasize these topics. The objectives of the course are achieved by using case studies, simulation exercises, class visitors, and practical exercises which complement the assigned readings and class discussions.

Section Description

What does the course cover?

I built this course from two basic assumptions:

  1. Throughout her or his career, every LBJ graduate will be called upon to manage and lead groups of people in accomplishing important work. You will usually do so on behalf of some larger organization. You should prepare for this work.
  2. The design of public policy must consider the issues of implementation (or management). As Alexander Hamilton warned us over 200 years ago in the Federalist Papers, “…a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must in practice be a bad government.”[i]

My goal is to give you an overview of some of the main ideas in management and an opportunity to talk about and practice some of the concepts you will need as you move through your career. We’ll talk about the real-world challenges of leaders and managers face in implementing public policy.

This course introduces students to management principles and practices, with a focus on public agency administration. We begin with a discussion on the nature of public administration and move to organization theory and the effect of structure on administrative behavior. We will also examine the “people” side of government organizations as well as management and leadership within organizations. Many case studies are examined in depth to provide real life context for the course content.

The course is designed to go beyond a conceptual framework of public management by also helping students develop the knowledge, insights and skills necessary to manage and to lead public sector organizations. Students will also work in small group settings on a number of management skill-building exercises, such as “supportive communication” and “managing conflict”.

The course requires extensive reading and class preparation as well as a high level of participation in class. Student assessment will be based on class participation, two team presentations, five short written assignments, one 15-page paper and oral presentations. There will be no final examination. In addition, individuals and small teams of students will make presentations in class on a variety of management topics.

For a syllabus contact me at

[i] Alexander Hamilton as quoted in The New Public Service, Paul C. Light, Brookings Institution, 1999, page 2.