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Management in International Administrations


Admission requirements

This course is for Master students of Public Administration, track International and European Governance only.


International organisations play an important role in world politics. But how do these organisations work? How do they become independent and legitimate actors? How do they manage a multinational staff? This course looks inside international organisations by focusing on their administrative bodies, that is, on international bureaucracies such as the European Commission or the United Nations Secretariat.

The course tackles a set of fundamental challenges faced by international administrations: gaining autonomy and legitimacy from member states, building expertise, ensuring that staff is representative in terms of nationality and gender, and managing staff with different ethnic, cultural and educational backgrounds. It also looks at how these organisations innovate and reform themselves.

The course combines the discussion of organisational challenges with the application of these issues to a number of real-world cases, ranging from diversity management in the International Monetary Fund to how international organisations seek to preserve their legitimacy when confronted with major crises such as the covid pandemic or the war in Ukraine.

Course objectives

By the end of the course, students will have:

  • Knowledge and understanding of key theories and concepts relating to the management of international organisations and networks.

  • Advanced knowledge and understanding of the distinctive nature and challenges of governance and management in an international and multi-level setting.

  • Ability to identify and apply relevant theories to analyse real-world cases within international administrations.

  • Ability to prescribe solutions to management problems in international administrative contexts based on in-depth organisational analysis.

  • Ability to present results of research and case analyses to managers and relevant policy-makers.

  • Awareness of the challenges of working in a multinational environment, including in leadership positions.


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

Mode of instruction

The course consists of seminars, group work and self-study. Attendance during the seminars is compulsory.

Assessment method

  • Recorded presentation prepared in groups (20% of total grade).

  • Blog post prepared in groups (20% of total grade).

  • Individual paper (60% of total grade).

Partial grades for this course can be compensated; to pass the course the weighted average of all partial grades must be at least 5.5.
For this course, partial grades from the academic year 2022-2023 will remain valid.

Reading list

To be announced on Brightspace.


Register yourself via MyStudymap for each course, workgroup and exam (not all courses have workgroups and/or exams).
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.

Registration for this course is possible from Wednesday 13 December 13.00h

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.

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.


Dr. J. Christensen
Dr. F. Bulfone