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Public Management and Organisations (Minor PA)


Admission requirements

Only students admitted to the Minor Public Administration: Multi-Level Governance are entitled to follow the course.


This course provides an introduction to public organisational theory. Understanding the workings of public organisations is an integral part of understanding the functioning and output of the public sector. Public organisations are complex phenomena as they operate in a context where expectations are high and interests are diffuse. In this course, we answer questions such as how are public organisations equipped to execute their tasks properly? How do they interact with citizens, politics and administration? To which sets of norms do they have to adhere? What is the role of leadership in public organisations? The issues that we cover are:

  • The relations between politics and administration

  • Public – private dichotomy

  • Theories on the organisation of the Public Sector

  • Effectiveness and efficiency in the Public Sector

  • Leadership and organisational culture

Course objectives

After successfully completing this course, students should be able to:

  • Understand theoretical concepts and models that are used to study public organisations

  • Apply key theoretical concepts and models to a real life organisation

  • Formulate concrete policy recommendations to policy-makers

  • Critically review scientific readings in the field of public management


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the Prospectus you will find links to the timetables and uSis.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of interactive lectures that are combined with students’ independent study of the literature.

Total 140 hours of which:

  • 10 contact hours

  • 130 hours of self-study

Assessment method

The assessment method of this course consists of an individual portfolio.

To pass the course, students need to have a minimum of 5.5. Partial grades are only valid in the current academic year; partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

Reading list

During the course, we will use the following book: Hal Rainey (2014), Understanding and Managing Public Organizations. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass. 5th edition. The fifth edition is available as a free e-book through the university library. Students need to use the 5th edition or a newer edition.

We will also use additional readings that will be communicated prior to the start of the course via Brightspace. Additional readings should be located through the university library catalogue. Readings that cannot be found online will be provided by the course instructor.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course. Registration for this course is possible from Tuesday 11 July, 13.00h.
Minor students will be enrolled in a workgroup by the programme.
Do so on time, before the start of the course; some courses and workgroups have limited spaces. You can view your personal schedule in MyTimetable after logging in.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in MyStudymap you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.

After registration for an exam you still need to confirm your attendance via MyStudymap. If you do not confirm, you will ultimately be de-registered and you will not be allowed to take the exam.
More information on registration via MyStudymap can be found on this page.

Please note: guest-/contract-/exchange students do not register via MyStudymap but via uSis. Guest-/contract-/exchange students also do not have to confirm their participation for exams via MyStudymap.