What is ‘public’ about public administration? Is ‘efficiency’ a core value for public managers? Does ‘the public interest’ exist? Can ‘public administration’ be described in a value free manner? Is ‘integrity’ a special value for the public sector? Or ‘client-orientedness’? These questions concern the very nature of public administration and they all relate to normative ideas. On the one hand, attention for values in the study of public administration is as old as the field itself, but on the other hand attention seems to be booming if we take into consideration the growing interest, among practitioners as well as academics, in administrative ethics and public values (in both policy-making and in management), and the increased awareness that the very concept we use to describe and discuss administrative matters are value-laden.
This course will focus on the normative foundations of the study of public administration in a broad perspective: what values are central to public administration and its study? The subject is a broad, in-depth introduction to the core issues regarding the (public) values used in administrative thought, with a focus on the most recent developments and debates.
dr. L. Fransen & dr. P. Overeem
Lectures, (sub)group seminar discussions, and assignments
Book: De Vries, Michiel & Pan Suk Kim (2011). Value and Virtue in Public Administration: A Comparative Perspective. London: Palgrave MacMillan (ISBN: 978-0230236479)
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Reader: recent academic journal articles on public values (details to be announced via BlackBoard)
Form of examination
Two writing assignments (details to be announced)
Final goal 1 Orientation on the content and foundations of various areas of public administration
Final goal 2 Academic skills
The specific objectives of this course are:
1. To familiarize students with the value based origins of (the study of) public administration.
2. To provide students with a overview of classic and contemporary research on (public) values in PA theory.
3. To present the students at an advanced level the theory-based analysis of normative questions and issues relating to the public sector.
4. Learn to reflect critically and write academically on public value questions in PA theory and practice.