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   Course Title    Comparative Public Administration
Lecturer    Vitalis Nakrosis
Institution    Vilnius University
Country    Lithuania


Aims

The course critically examines various models or approaches to public administration. The aim is to enable students to understand and evaluate rival theoretical approaches and analytical arguments about the nature and functioning of public administration. The theoretical arguments of the course are closely linked to empirical evidence. The course is comparative: the students should draw on empirical material from more than one country, including the CEECs.

In addition, the course aims to develop students’ analytical skills. The students should develop their capacity to assess critically the validity of general models and arguments in the light of empirical evidence from several countries. Particular emphasis is laid on the ability to argue, backing statements with data, and on appreciating different points of view about important issues in public administration.

Contribution to the program

This course entitled ‘Comparative Public Administration’ is the key compulsory course of the Fall semester in the Master’s Program of Public Administration and Policy at the Institute of International Relations and Political Science, Vilnius.

The successful completion of previous courses entitled ‘Introduction to Public Administration’ and ‘Comparative Research Methods’ from the Bachelor’s Program of Political Science are two main prerequisites for attending this course.

Structure

The course is divided into three main parts. The first part of the course examines major theoretical models and approaches (ideal models of public administration, models of public administration in the theories of the state, New Public Management doctrine and theory) to public administration.

The second part of the course examines various phenomena of public administration (organization, recruitment and training, co-ordination, relationship between career and elected officials, responsibility and accountability, public administration and interest groups) from a comparative point of view and sometimes by presenting theoretical models of ‘micro’ nature for their analysis.

The third part of the course examines public administration in the EU and the CEECs.

Classes

The course is designed to achieve these aims through a combination of lectures, interactive seminars (including oral presentations), essays and office hour appointments with the instructor.

The course consists of 11 lectures and an equal number of seminars. During the seminars students will be asked to work in small groups reporting back to the entire seminar group on their conclusions as well as to discuss relevant issues in the entire seminar group. In addition, each student will be asked to prepare at least one oral presentation for the seminar.

Finally, the students will be asked to prepare for every seminar by attempting to answer seminar questions. A good reading technique is to find the key arguments and headings complementing them with practical examples.

Reading

The reading list is divided into two main parts. ‘Core reading’ is the central reading for the topic; ‘optional reading’ is mostly related to particular national administrations, but also includes additional readings on the subject. Seminar questions are designed to illustrate some of the key issues concerning the subject and also provide examples of possible exam questions.

All reading materials for classes will be provided in a Course Compendium available at the library of the Institute of International Relations and Political Science. There is no single ‘course book’. Nevertheless, the main textbook is B. G. Peters (4th ed.) The Politics of Bureaucracy, Longman, 1995.

Assessment

The course assessment will involve a three-hour closed-book written examination sometime towards the end of term (the precise date will be selected by the students themselves), in which the students will be asked to answer three questions (counting 40 % toward the total mark).

The remaining 60 % of the total mark will be decided on the basis of oral presentations and constructive activity during the seminars (30 %) as well as the essay (30 %). In their essays the students can analyze either a theoretical research question or an empirical research question. In both cases the application of comparative research methods is encouraged.

All types of the assessment will be made according to the following checklist:

  • structure: the structure of arguments;
  • knowledge of the subject: the ability to remember previously learned material;
  • comprehension of the subject: the ability to grasp the meaning of learned material;
  • application: the ability to use learned material in new and concrete situations;
  • analysis: the ability to break down material into its component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood;
  • synthesis: the ability to put parts together to form a new whole;
  • evaluation: the ability to judge the value of learned material for a given purpose.

PART I

Class 1: The Study of Public Administration and Comparative Public Administration

Questions

What is public administration and comparative public administration?

What are the strengths of, and limits to, cross-national comparison in public administration studies?

L. Lundquist described the evolution of public administration studies as "from order to chaos". What "order" existed before and what "chaos" exists now in the studies of public administration?

Core reading

D. Waldo, "What is Public Administration’, in D. H. Rosenbloom, D. D. Goldman and P. W. Igraham (eds) Contemporary Public Administration, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1994.

B. G. Peters (4th ed.) The Politics of Bureaucracy, Longman, 1995, 'Introduction'.L.

B. G. Peters, 'Theory and Methodology', in H. A. G. M. Bekke, J. L. Perry and T. A. J. Toonen (eds) Civil Service Systems in Comparative Perspective, Indiana University Press, 1996.

Lundquist, 'From Order to Chaos: Recent Trends in the Study of Public Administration', in J-E. Lane (ed), State and Market: the Politics of the Public and the Private, Sage, 1985.

Optional reading

B. G. Peters and V. Wright, ‘Public Policy and Administration: Old and New’, in R. E. Goodin and H.-D. Klingemann (eds), A New Handbook of Political Science, Oxford University Press, 1996.

J.-E. Lane, 'The Concept of Bureaucracy', pp. 1-31, in J.-E. Lane, Bureaucracy and Public Choice, Sage, 1987.

Class No. 2: Ideal models of public administration

Questions

Where are the main functions of ideal models?

Discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each ideal model of public administration.

Does Weber’s model of bureaucracy remain an accurate description of modern public administration?

What are the main characteristics of a bureaucratic organization?

Core reading

Weber’s model of bureaucracy: E. Etzioni-Halevy, Bureaucracy and Democracy: A Political Dilemma, Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1985, Ch. 2.

Traditional model of bureaucracy: O. E. Hughes, Public Management and Administration: An Introduction, St. Martin's Press, 1994, Ch. 2.

Peters’ model of bureaucratic government: B. G. Peters, 'Public Policy and Public Bureaucracy', pp. 283-315, in D. E. Ashford, History and Context in Comparative Public Policy, University of Pittsburgh Press, 1992.

Optional reading

M. Weber, ‘Bureaucracy’, in J. M. Shafritz and J. S. Ott (eds) Classics of Organization Theory, Pacific Grove CA, 1987.

Class 3: Models of public administration in the theories of the state

Questions

Derive models of public administration from the theories of the state and compare them.

Core reading

P. Dunleavy and B. O’Leary, Theories of the State: the Politics of Liberal Democracy, New Amsterdam Books, New York, 1987:

  • pluralism, in particular sections 2.3-2.4;
  • new right, 3.3-3.4;
  • elite theory, 4.3-4.4;
  • marxism, 5.3-5.4;
  • neo-pluralism, 6.3-6.4.

Optional reading

Ch. E. Lindblom and E. J. Woodhouse (3 ed), The Policy-Making Process, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1993, Ch. 3 and 11.

Class No. 4: New Public Management

Questions

What are doctrinal components of the NPM according to Hood?

What are the origins of the NPM according to Hood and Aucoin?

What are main tensions and contradictions resulting from the application of cross-pressures in public management? Discuss centralization/decentralization, co-ordination/deregulation and control/delegation. How can they be reconciled in practice?

What are the main factors explaining the acceptance of the NPM doctrine?

The Western world has moved into the era of post-Weberian public administration thanks to NPM. Discuss.

Core reading

C. Hood, ‘A Public Management for All Seasons?’, Public Administration, Vol. 69, No. 1 (1991).

P. Aucoin, 'Administrative Reform in Public Management: Paradigms, Principles, Paradoxes and Pendulums', Governance, Vol. 3 (1990), pp. 115-137.

C. Pollitt and G. Bouchaert, Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000, Ch. 4 (‘Trajectories of Modernization and Reform’).

Optional reading

M. Barzley, The New Public Management: Improving Research and Policy Argument, Berkeley: University of California Press, forthcoming, Ch. 2 (‘The Case Study Literature on Public Management Policy’) and 3 (‘Comparative Analysis of Public Management Policy-Making’).

PART II

Class No. 5: Organization and structure of public administration. Recruitment and training

Questions

Is the distinction between the public sector and the society a useful one? To what extent should the civil service be representative?

How do the recruitment and training of public officials affect the functioning of a country's public administration?

Do public officials constitute an insulated elite with its own codes and ethos?

What is the significance of 'generalist' and 'specialist' traditions in public administrations?

Core reading

F. M. van der Meer and R. L. J. Roborgh, ‘Civil Servants and Representativeness’, in H. A. G. M. Bekke, J. L. Perry and T. A. J. Toonen (eds) Civil Service Systems in Comparative Perspective, Indiana University Press, 1996.

B. G. Peters (4th ed.), The Politics of Bureaucracy, Longman, 1995, Ch. 3-4.

E. C. Page (2nd ed.) Political Authority and Bureaucratic Power, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989, Ch. 3.

Class No. 6: Organization of the political executive and the co-ordination of its work

Questions

What are the main instruments of co-ordination in the executive? What are their advantages and disadvantages?

Modern government is essentially a collection of competing units and sub-units, not a coherent whole. Discuss.

The difficulties of political control of public officials arise from the lack of co-ordination between the different parts of the political executive. Discuss.

What factors strengthen or weaken the ability of political leaders to control their officials?

Core reading

B. G. Peters, 'Managing Horizontal Government: the Politics of Co-ordination', Public Administration, Vol. 76 (3), 1998, pp. 295-311.

R. Rose, 'Prime Ministers in Parliamentary Democracies', pp. 9-24, in G. W. Jones (ed.) West European Prime Ministers, Frank Class, 1991.

G. W. Jones, 'West European Prime Ministers in Perspective', pp. 163-178, in G. W. Jones (ed.) West European Prime Ministers, Frank Class, 1991.

Optional reading

G. Britain: A. King, 'The British Prime Ministership in the Age of Career Politician', pp. 25-47, in G. W. Jones (ed.) West European Prime Ministers, Frank Class, 1991.

Germany: G. Smith, 'The Resources of a German Chancellor', pp. 48-61, in G. W. Jones (ed.) West European Prime Ministers, Frank Class, 1991.

France: R. Elgie and H. Machin, 'France: The Limits to Prime-ministerial Government in a Semi-presidential System', pp. 62-78, in G. W. Jones (ed.) West European Prime Ministers, Frank Class, 1991.

R. A. W. Rhodes and P. Dunleavy (eds) Prime Minister, Cabinet and Core Executive, St. Martin's Press, 1995, Ch. 1 and 2.

Class No. 7: Public officials and political control by the political executive

Questions

What are the main instruments of political control by the political executive?

What factors determine the balance of power between officials and elected members of the executive?

Have we got government by officials or by elected members of the executive?

Core reading

B. G. Peters, 'Politicians and Bureaucrats in the Politics of Policy-Making’, pp. 256-282, in J. E. Lane, Bureaucracy and Public Choice, Sage, 1987.

E. C. Page (2nd ed.) Political Authority and Bureaucratic Power, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989, Ch. 8 and 9.

Ch. E. Lindblom and E. J. Woodhouse (3 ed), The Policy-Making Process, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1993, Ch. 6.

Optional reading

B. G. Peters (4th ed.) The Politics of Bureaucracy, Longman, 1995, Ch. 6.

Class No. 8: Public officials and wider political control, accountability and responsibility

Questions

Assess the effectiveness of different accountability arrangements and measures.

Why are parliaments so weak relative to their national public administrations?

What are the principles and features of ministerial responsibility? Its critique.

Five conceptions of accountability according to B. Stone.

What is the significance of a new accountability framework proposed by P. Barberis?

Core reading

B. Stone, 'Administrative Accountability in the Westminster Democracies: Towards a New Conceptual Framework', Governance, Vol. 8, No. 4 (1995), pp. 505-526.

P. Barberis, 'The New Public Management and a New Accountability', Public Administration, Vol. 76 (1998), pp. 451 - 470.

E. C. Page (2nd ed.) Political Authority and Bureaucratic Power, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989, Ch. 5.

Optional reading

B. G. Peters (4th ed.) The Politics of Bureaucracy, Longman, 1995, Ch. 8.

Ch. E. Lindblom and E. J. Woodhouse (3 ed), The Policy-Making Process, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1993, Ch. 5.

Class No. 9: Public administration and interest groups

Questions

Identify and compare main sources of power of elected representatives, officials and interest groups.

Have interest groups got greater power over public officials than elected representatives?

To what extent is the state 'autonomous'?

Core reading

E. C. Page (2nd ed.) Political Authority and Bureaucratic Power, Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1989, Ch. 6.

G. K. Wilson, Interest Groups, Basil Blachwell, 1990, Ch. 1.

Ch. E. Lindblom and E. J. Woodhouse (3 ed), The Policy-Making Process, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1993, Ch. 7-8.

Optional reading

G. Britain: G. K. Wilson, Interest Groups, Basil Blachwell, 1990, Ch. 3.

France: V. Wright, The Government and Politics of France (3rd ed) Routledge, 1989, pp. 254-293.

PART III

Class No. 10: Public Administration in the EU

Questions

In what way is the EU system of governance different from national administrations?

What is the style of EU public administration and policy?

How does the EU influence the performance of national administrations and the opposite?

Core reading

V. Wright, 'The National Co-ordination of European Policy-Making: Negotiating the Quagmire', in J. Richardson (ed.) European Union: Power and Policy-Making, Routledge, 1996.

M. A. Pollack, 'Delegation, Agency and Agenda-Setting in the EC', International Organization, Vol. 51, No. 1 (1997), pp. 99-134.

J. Peterson and E. Bomberg, Decision-Making in the European Union, St. Martin’s Press, 1999, Ch. 1 and 10.

Optional reading

S. Mazey and J. Richardson, 'Logic of Organization: Interest Groups', in J. Richardson (ed.) European Union: Power and Policy-Making, Routledge, 1996. (16)

W. Wessels and D. Rometsch, 'Conclusion: European Union and National Institutions', in W. Wessels and D. Rometsch (eds) The European Union and the Member States, Manchester University Press, 1996.

G. Edwards and D. Spence (eds) (2nd ed.) The European Commission, Catermill, 1997.

Class No. 11: Public Administration in Central and Eastern European Countries

Questions

What are the main directions of public administration reform in the CEECs?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of different civil service models? Is transition to the career-based civil service inevitable?

Core reading

J. J. Hesse, 'From Transformation to Modernization: Administrative Change in Central and Eastern Europe', in J. J. Hesse (ed.) Administrative Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe: Towards Public Sector Reform in Post-Communist Societies, Blackwell Publishers, 1993.

T. Verheijen, 'Public Management in Central and Eastern Europe: The Nature of the Problem', in T. Verheijen and D. Coombes (eds) Innovations in Public Management: Perspectives from East and West Europe, Edward Elgar, 1998.

T. Verheijen, 'NPM Reforms and other Western Reform Strategies: The Wrong Medicine for Central and Eastern Europe?', in T. Verheijen and D. Coombes (eds) Innovations in Public Management: Perspectives from East and West Europe, Edward Elgar, 1998.



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