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Public Management and Organisations (English)


Admission requirements

Only students admitted to the Pre-master are entitled to follow the course.


This course provides basic knowledge on public organisational theory. Public organisations are an integral part of the public sector and influence the daily life of citizens. The realm of public organisations is complex. What is expected of them and what task is fulfilled by their employees? How are they equipped to execute their tasks properly? How do they interact with the citizen, politics and the administration? To which norms do they have to adhere? What is the role of leadership in public organisations? What have been the developments in the past decades with regard to the way public sector organisations interpret their role in the proper execution of policies?

These questions are the basics and guideline for this Pre-Master course. A lot has been written on the unique position and the functioning of public organisations. The course gives an overview of the knowledge accumulated and which can give tools to answer to questions mentioned above.

Issues that will be discussed are:

  • Theories on the organisation of the Public Sector

  • The relations between politics and administration

  • Effectivity and efficiency in the Public Sector

  • Leadership and organisational culture

  • Public – private dichotomy

  • The place of a public organisation in its environment

  • The role of governance and regulation

The student will be able to develop his/her own vision about (the improvement of) the Public Sector, while using relevant theories. The aim is a better and more in depth understanding of the Public Sector. The course is a thorough introduction and a firm base to further study in the Master tracks at the Institute of Public Administration.

Course objectives

  • Students have acquired the ability to use concepts and models that are used when studying public organisations.

  • Students understand the intricacies of the relation between citizens, politics and administration.

  • Students are aware of the role of leadership and leadership techniques in public organisations.

  • Students have acquired insight into the role of public sector norms and regulation.

  • Students have acquired insight into the way the bureaucracy and politicians (co-) operate.

  • Students have acquired knowledge about the way the public and private sector perform different roles.

  • Students can compare and apply the theories and concepts studied to a case.

  • Students can write a text in which they develop a line of argumentation in a structured, critical and analytical manner


On the right side of programme front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Brightspace.

Mode of instruction

During the block there will be an online discussion seminar every other week, in which we discuss the prescribed literature by means of reading/discussion questions and in which there is room for questions. The digital platform we use will be communicated via Brightspace.

Assessment method

30% assignment
70% final assignment (paper)

From 2020-2021 onwards, partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

More information about participation in exams can be found in the Rules & Regulations.

Reading list

  • Hal Rainey (2014, 5th edition). Understanding and Managing Public Organisations. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass. (The fourth edition cannot be used for this course).

  • Christopher Hood (1991), Public Management for all Seasons. In: Public Administration, Volume 69, Issue 1, pp. 3-19, March 1991.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. Some courses and workgroups have a limited number of participants, so register on time (before the course starts). In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results. Registration in uSis is possible from four weeks before the start of the course.

From the academic year 2020-2021 Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrollment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


M.A. van der Hoek MSc