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Public Organisation and Policy Theory


Admission requirements

Only Premaster students can take this course.


This preparatory master course provides basic knowledge on public organizational theory and policy theory. The course is divided into three parts: the first three weeks are used to address public organization theory, especially as it applies to the problems and opportunities of public management. The next three weeks will be used to deal with theories of public policy: especially on the determinants and on the social and institutional context of policy-making. The last three weeks focus on the problem of policy implementation in street-level bureaucracies. The literature in this course examines main concepts associated with public policy and organizational theory, and identifies and discusses major authors and scholarly works associated with this field.

Course objectives

In the end of the course, students are expected to have acquired the following knowledge and skills:

  • knowledge about the main concepts, theories and authors in the field of public organisations and public policy,

  • appreciation of the variety of different analytical angles how public organisations and policy may be examined,

  • a skill to apply a theoretical approach on analyzing a real life situation / case study
    writing an effective (short) academic paper.


The Blackboard site for the course will be made available on 3 September and the course starts officially on 16 September. By the start of the course students must have their books ready (at least the first book, by Denhardt), they must have registered for the Blackboard site, and have familiarized themselves with the organisation of the course as presented on the Blackboard site.

Mode of instruction

This is an E-module taught via Blackboard, based on guided readings and including some (online) group work. No meetings are planned for the course.

Assessment method

Two mid-term exams and one final paper.


The course runs on the Blackboard site. The site is ready for use one week before the beginning of the course.

Reading list

  • Denhardt, R.B. (2010) Theories of Public Organization (6th edition, international). Belmont: Thomson Wadsworth / Cengage, Inc. The earlier editions (5th or 4th edition) can be used also.

  • Howlett, M., Ramesh, M., Perl, A. (2009). Studying Public Policy: Policy Cycles and Policy Subsystems, 3rd edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press. (The earlier 2nd edition can also be used.)

  • Lipsky, M. (1980). Street-Level Bureaucracy: The Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Service. New York: Russel Sage Foundation.

  • Additional readings in the form of journal articles will be announced on the Blackboard site.


Via Blackboard. The Blackboardpage opens on September 2nd.

Contact information

Maarja Beerkens
Tel: +( 0)71 527 3751

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