MG402      Half Unit
Public Management: A Strategic Approach

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Professor Michael Barzelay NAB 3.19


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 Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in African Development, MSc in Development Management, MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University), MSc in Public Policy and Administration and Master of Public Administration. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course is not available to students registered on Strategy and Change in Public Sector Management. Students should take either MG402 Public Management: A Strategic Approach or Strategy and Change in Public Sector Management. Students are prohibited from taking both together. 

Course content

The course provides a management dimension to the study of public administration and public program planning.  The course focuses on using purposive theories of directing, planning, coordinating and controlling – plus design-precedents from case studies -- to devise jointly-enabling mechanisms to tackle challenges in performing the management function in public programs and organizations.  Through class discussions and case assignments, the course develops the intellectually-disciplined competences of design-focused problem-solving, including sense-making, scenario and system designing, holistic practical reasoning, and written and in-person presentation. It also develops an ability to broker usable knowledge about managing in public programs and institutions, resulting from combining rigorous analysis of purposive theories of mechanism-intent phenomena with methodical interpretation of research case studies.  The course also considers the past and future of public management as a professional discipline.



30 hours of lectures in the LT.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Indicative reading

M.H. Moore, Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government (1995); H. Mintzberg, Designing Effective Organizations: Structures in Fives (1983); J. Tendler, Good Government in the Tropics (1997); M Barzelay & C Campbell, Preparing for the Future: Strategic Planning in the U.S. Air Force (2003); J Bryson, Strategic Planning for Public and Nonprofit Organizations (2011); Eugene Bardach, The Extrapolation Problem: How can We Learn from the Experience of Others? (2004); Joan E. van Aken, et al, Problem-Solving in Organizations (2007), Victor Bekkers, et. al., Jurian Edelenbos, and Bram Steijn (eds.), Innovation in the Public Sector: Linking Capacity and Leadership (2011); Booth, Colomb, and Williams, The Craft of Research (2006).


Essay (50%, 2500 words) and class participation (10%) in the LT.
Case analysis (40%) in the ST.

The assessment for this course consists of the following:

A 2,500 word individual essay (50% of overall mark)

A 2,000 word case analysis (40% of overall mark)

Class participation (10% of overall mark)

Key facts

Department: Management

Total students 2017/18: 35

Average class size 2017/18: 36

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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