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Role of IT in Public Administration


Admission requirements

Not applicable


The course focuses on IT challenges from a public governance perspective. This includes providing a basic understanding of the politico-administrative characteristics that distinguish public from private sector organizations and how these characteristics affect the challenges and opportunities of the use of IT in government.
Students will be introduced to Public Administration theories and the workings of government as well as different themes that are linked to the major problems identified for IT projects within government. The themes include aspects of leadership in the public realm, regulatory and collaborative aspects, the governance of new technologies, and public challenges in the big data age. Students will further have the opportunity to connect with government officials and private sector representatives to pitch ideas and discuss challenges that stakeholders currently face in the field.

Course objectives

The course aims at providing a deeper understanding of the issues, challenges and opportunities brought by the rapid changes in IT and its applications in government over recent years. By the end of the course, the you will:

  • have an understanding of the basic public administration concepts;

  • be able to write a policy recommendation based on real-world challenges in combination with theoretical insights;

  • understand public sector specific aspects of leadership, management and decision-making;

  • be able to identify key dynamics in government that facilitate or hinder IT implementation.


The schedule can be found on the Leiden University student website

Check MyTimetable (manual) and use your ULCN account to login.

Mode of instruction

The course is based on a combination of lectures, class discussions and some practical exercises. The lectures will present the background material for each session. Do not expect the lectures to cover each and every topic from the assigned readings. Instead, the lectures will be mostly focused on the more difficult and controversial issues. Hence, it is essential that you read the assigned literature in advance of the sessions.

Assessment method

❏ Bi-weekly discussion questions (10%)
Preparation of discussion questions for each lecture based on the assigned readings. Those questions will be used throughout the lecture to touch upon different aspects of the literature. ❏ Essay (30%)
The essay will address a question from the general public administration literature and its connection to IT-related challenges and should be treated as an assignment building up to the final paper. ❏ Final paper (60%)
The final paper builds on the essay.

Details about the essay and final paper will be made available via Brightspace.

The teacher will inform the students how the inspection of and follow-up discussion of the exams will take place.


The Brightspace page for the course will be the primary channel for information and communication on the course.

Reading list

The reading list will be made available via Brightspace before the start of the course.

Signing up for classes and exams

You have to sign up for classes and examinations (including resits) in uSis. Check this link for more information and activity codes.

Also enroll in Brightspace, as all further course information will be communicated via the its Brightspace page

There is only limited capacity for external students. Please contact the programme Co-ordinator

Contact information

Programme Co-ordinator: ms. Esme Caubo


Also register for every course in Brightspace. Important information about the course is posted here.