Public Management and Governance

This information is for the 2013/14 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Michael Barzelay

The course is team taught, with contributions from the the Department of Accounting and the Law Department.


This course is compulsory on the MSc in Public Management and Governance. This course is available on the MPhil/ PhD in Employment Relations & Org Behaviour and MPhil/ PhD in Management. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course is organised into three modules: (1) Developing the knowledge, methods, and skills to plan improvements in organisational field situations, (2) Using systematically developed accounting information outcomes for purposes of managerial control and governance, and (3) Developing and assessing the quality of program delivery and administrative decision-making from the standpoint of governmental self-restraint and the rule of law more generally. The main corresponding disciplinary perspectives are management, accounting, and law. The first module is contained within Michaelmas Term, whereas Lent Term is divided between the other two modules.

The Michaelmas Term module presents three frameworks for understanding organisational field situations in relation to their contexts, keyed to organisational characteristics, programme management and delivery activities, and planned organisational and programme change, respectively. The frameworks offer knowledge and methods for explaining the outcomes of organisational activity, programme implementation, and change initiatives. In addition to explaining outcomes, these frameworks are used to develop approaches and skills whose favours the design and realisation of improvements in organisational field situations involving public programmes and organisations. 

The first of the two Lent Term modules examines the evolution and use of systematically developed information about the behaviour of programmes and organisations for monitoring, decision-making, and governance purposes. The module explores financial management and organisational control concepts through recent developments in accounting literature and offers an introduction to methods, tools and techniques aimed at enhancing performance, managerial oversight and accountability in the public sector.

A final module examines the structuring and controlled use of public authority by legal officials in administrative settings, such as government agencies and regulatory bodies. Central issues include (a) how to fulfil the generic requirement that governmental entities receive well-formed legal mandates with clear legal objectives and (b) how to anticipate expectations that public authority will be exercised in fair and otherwise appropriate ways.


15 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour of lectures and 1 hour and 30 minutes of seminars in the ST.

Formative coursework

Michaelmas Term: one formative essay, and regular individual or group exercises.

Lent Term: two formative assignments.

Indicative reading

J. Bryson, Strategic Planning for Public and Non-Profit Organizations (2004);

J.E. van Aken, 'Design Science and Organization Development Interventions: Aligning Business and Humanistic Values' (2007)";

C. Heath, N. Staudenmayer, "Coordination Neglect: How Lay Theories of Organizing Complicate Coordination in Organizations' (2000);

J. Tendler, S. Freedheim, 'Trust in a World of Rent-Seeking: Health and Government Transformed in Northeast Brazil' (1994);

S. Kelman, Unleashing Change: A Study of Organizational Renewal in Government (2005);

Mark Moore, Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government (1995);

H. Mintzberg, Designing Effective Organizations: Structures in Fives, (1983);

Michael Barzelay, Roger Levy, Antonio Martin Porras Gomez, "The Reform of Financial Management in the European Commission: A Public Management Policy Cycle Case Study," (2011);

Hopwood, A.G., "Accounting and the Pursuit of Efficiency", in A.G. Hopwood and C. Tomkins (eds.),

Issues in Public Sector Accounting (Phillip Allan, 1984);

Chapman, C.S., Cooper, D.J. and Miller, P. "Linking Accounting, Organizations and Institutions", in C.S. Chapman, D.J. Cooper and P. Miller (eds.), Accounting, Organizations and Institutions. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009;

P.Miller, The Margins of Accounting (1998);

L. Kurunmäki, & A. Mennicken, Accounting for Failure, (2008).


Exam (50%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.
Project (15%, 2000 words) and essay (35%, 4000 words).

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2012/13: 35

Average class size 2012/13: 18

Value: One Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills