Professor Michael Barzelay

Professor Michael Barzelay

Professor of Public Management

Department of Management

020 7955 6846
Room No
MAR 4.28
Key Expertise
New public management, executive leadership, public management

About me

Michael Barzelay has been an academic at the LSE since 1995. As Professor of Public Management, he became a member of the Department of Management at its inception in 2006 and served as Head of Department in 2013-15.

The preparation for Professor Barzelay’s academic career included an undergraduate degree at Stanford University, where he designed his own interdisciplinary major, entitled Studies of the Developing World. His graduate work was undertaken at Yale University, where he first earned a Masters’ in Public and Private Management (MPPM) and then a PhD in Political Science. His doctoral dissertation supervisor at Yale was Charles E. Lindblom. Professor Barzelay’s doctoral dissertation, The Politicized Market Economy: Alcohol in Brazil’s Energy Strategy, was published by University of California Press. He started teaching and researching about public management at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government as an Assistant Professor of Public Policy in 1985.In 1992, his first book on public management, Breaking Through Bureaucracy: A New Vision for Managing in Government was published by UC Press, with translations in Chinese and Spanish

At LSE, Professor Barzelay’s research initially centred on public management policy-making and change, beginning with his Wildavsky Lecture at University of California, Berkeley in 1997 and the 2001 publication of New Public Management: Improving Research and Policy Dialogue (also published in Spanish).This book’s research agenda on public management policy change led to two journal symposia and additional articles, written in collaboration with academics from Brazil, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and the US. This line of research also resulted in an article about designing case study research projects, as well as in receiving the Naschold Award for Excellence in Public Management Research.

Throughout the past 20 years, Professor Barzelay has been working on research to expand professional knowledge about public organizations and professional practice within them. The first major step in that direction was Preparing for the Future: Strategic Planning in the U.S. Air Force, which received the Louis Brownlow Book Award from the US National Academy of Public Administration. An important further step was “Learning from Second-hand Experience: Methodology for Extrapolation-Oriented Case Research.” The culmination of this work is Public Management as a Design-Oriented Professional Discipline, published by Edward Elgar in September 2019. This manifesto book presents a full-fledged design for public management being a professional discipline that expands professional knowledge through research and that strengthens problem-solving competencies about public organizations and especially their management, through the discipline’s teaching and learning enterprise.

He has been sharing these ideas as they developed over the past several years through an LSE Knowledge Exchange and Impact funded project, especially in developing faculty who can provide leadership in strengthening the design-oriented professional discipline of public management with a focus on Latin America. These ideas are encapsulated in a short video.

Professor Barzelay has served in editorial roles for leading scholarly journals that cover public management: Governance: An International Journal of Policy, Administration, and Institutions, and the International Public Management Journal.  He is presently a co-editor of Perspectives on Public Management and Governance, published by the Public Management Research Association (PMRA) and serves on the editorial boards of Policy Design and Practice and Evaluation and Program Planning 

Professor Barzelay was awarded a Doctor Honoris Causa in Political Science by the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland, for his outstanding research in the field of public management and governance, in particular his contributions to theory development and the internationalization of the field as well as his explicit interdisciplinary approach.   

In the course of his career, Professor Barzelay has held visiting academic or research appointments at Yale School of Management, the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota, the Management Research Center of Ėcole Polytechnique in France, the Japan International Cooperation Agency Research Institute, the Australia New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG), the U.S. Federal Executive Institute, the Brazilian School of Public and Business Administration (EBAPE) of the Getúlio Vargas Foundation, ESADE Business School, and the Autonomous University of Barcelona.  He has consulted to numerous public institutions, including the World Bank, the Interamerican Development Bank, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Spain's Ministry of Finance, and Brazil's Ministry of Planning, Budgeting, and Management.


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Information Systems and Innovation Faculty Research Group

Expertise Details

New public management; executive leadership; public management; administrative reform; governmental oversight; strategic planning; customer service; performance management