GV4D5      Half Unit
Organisations, Power and Leadership

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Patrick Dunleavy (CON.5.19)


This course is available on the MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy and MPA in Public and Social Policy. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Modern governance involves leaders in the public sector (and also in firms, NGOs, aid agencies etc.) in balancing the exercise of power with the development of organisational culture and institutions, and the management of coalitions and delegations of power to sub-leaders.  Power involves both resources and coalitionality and power is complex because it means both overcoming resistance in conflicts of interest and helping organisations and collectivities to achieve actors' common goals.  Similarly, leaders must fit with, sustain and develop existing organisational and institutional strengths, while also often seeking to reform their processes or change their direction of development.  Finally, leaders as generalists need to work effectively with delegates who possess far more information and expertise on specialist matters.  This half-unit course explores these areas of tension and negotiation of leadership by analysing one policy-making case study per week, in tandem with relevant theory and analysis papers.  Each session includes an introductory lecture/talk, plus student-led discussions of that week's practical case and key analytic readings.


20 hours of seminars in the MT.

There will be ten combined lecture/seminar sessions, each lasting two hours, during the MT.

Formative coursework

Students are encouraged to complete formative versions of the case analysis (due in December) and of the final essay (due in January) and to discuss them with Professor Dunleavy during MT.

Indicative reading

A full reading list will be distributed at the beginning of the course.


Useful preliminary readings are:


J. Dryzek and P. Dunleavy, Theories of the Democratic State (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009); H. Mintzberg, Structure in Fives (Prentice Hall, 1983); V. Lownes and M. Roberts, Why Institutions Matter: The New Institutionalism in Political Science (Palgrave Macmillan, 2013); K. Dowding, Encyclopaedia of Power (Sage, 2010) [skim]; J. S. Nye, Powers to Lead (Oxford University Press, 2008); T. Dewan and R. Hortala Vallve, 'The Three A's of Government Formation; Appointment, Allocation and Assignment', American Journal of Political Science (2011, 55 (3), 610-62) 


Essay (65%, 4000 words) in the LT.
Other (35%) in the MT.

A Case Analysis of no more than 2,000 words will count for the "other" 35% of the assessment for this course.

Student performance results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

Classification % of students
Distinction 16.8
Merit 78.7
Pass 4.5
Fail 0

Key facts

Department: Government

Total students 2014/15: 96

Average class size 2014/15: 16

Controlled access 2014/15: Yes

Lecture capture used 2014/15: Yes (MT)

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course survey results

(2011/12 - 2013/14 combined)

1 = "best" score, 5 = "worst" score

The scores below are average responses.

Response rate: 69.1%



Reading list (Q2.1)


Materials (Q2.3)


Course satisfied (Q2.4)


Lectures (Q2.5)


Integration (Q2.6)


Contact (Q2.7)


Feedback (Q2.8)


Recommend (Q2.9)