PP403      Half Unit
Public Management

This information is for the 2021/22 session.

Teacher responsible

Prof Martin Lodge and Mr Geoffrey Myers


This course is compulsory on the Master of Public Policy. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course will offer an intensive introduction into key literatures and themes in the study of public management. The emphasis will be on the trans-disciplinary literature dealing with public management in the context of developed and lesser developed world contexts. The course will cover, among other things, questions such as public sector reform, coordination and collaboration, control over bureaucracy, professionalism and public service motivation, performance management, crisis management, leadership, institutional capacity building, cutback management and organizational learning. The course will emphasise the key theoretical contributions and relate these to empirical contexts.


This course is delivered through a combination of lectures and seminars totalling a minimum of 30 hours across Michaelmas Term. This year teaching will be delivered through a combination of online lectures with seminars taking place in person where possible and where conditions allow.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce one exercise in Week 3 and one essay in Week 7.

The first piece is a short document (1200 words) offering a view on ‘what is public management’ (week 3). Feedback will be provided by week 5. This gives students an early opportunity to start writing and to consider the broader field of public management.

The other piece is a short essay (1500 words) to be completed by the end of week 7. Feedback will be provided by week 9. The essay will be based on a choice of questions. This will give students the opportunity to practice for their assessed essay and the online exam.

Indicative reading

Barber, M (2015) How to Run a Government, London, Penguin.

Emerson, K and Nabatchi, T (2015) Collaborative Governance Regimes, Georgetown University Press.

Hood, C (1998) Art of the State, Oxford, Oxford University Press.

Perrow, C (1984) Normal Accidents: Living with High Risk Technology, (New York, Basic Books)

Simon, H (1947/2013) Administrative Behavior, Simon & Schuster.

The given texts are preparatory reading only. A full reading list will be provided at the start of the course.


Essay (50%, 3000 words) in the MT.
Online assessment (50%) in the LT.

The online assessment will be administered via Moodle on a day of week 0 of Lent Term to be co-ordinated each year with other courses of the MPP degree with assessments at this time of year. Students will have a fixed window (e.g. 12-hour or 24-hours) within which to access the assignment questions and to respond to them. Once they have logged into Moodle and downloaded the questions students will have 2 hours to prepare and upload their answers. No outside research will be required. Questions will be based on topics covered in lectures and seminars.

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2021/22 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the differing needs of students in attendance on campus and those who might be studying online. For example, this may involve changes to the mode of teaching delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: School of Public Policy

Total students 2020/21: 47

Average class size 2020/21: 12

Controlled access 2020/21: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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