PS, En, WP
Similarly tagged 200-level and 300-level courses. Students that do not meet this prerequisite should contact
the instructor regarding the required competencies before course allocation.
Over the last decades our daily life has increasingly been organised and managed. Some call this a regrettable
but inevitable process of bureaucratization: in a complex world we need structure through organisation and
management but at the same time it reflects a loss of personal independence. Thus organisation and management
both in the public and private spheres of life have become of the utmost importance and relevance. To assess
the positive and possible negative effects of this phenomenon is it necessary to get acquainted with the
basics of organisation and management theory. This course provides an introduction to organisation and
management theory. The emphasis will be on organisations in the public domain.
This course provides an introduction to organisation and management theory. The emphasis will be on
organisations in the public domain, including not-for-profit organisations, such as non governmental
The most important aspects of organisation and management will be discussed: the structure, culture and
strategy of organisations, the aims and means of Human Resources Management and the interactions between
organisations and their environment. The most important theoretical contributions to this field will also be
dealt with, like the theory on bureaucracy, the contingency theory and political and institutionalist
Finally, we will pay attention to the two faces of organisations: they are the origin of prosperity, knowledge
and joy, and the root of all evil: war, pollution and exploitation.
We need organisations to solve problems, but often these same organisations turn out to
be the sources of new problems. We will assess the positive and possible negative effects of these phenomena.
After successful completion of the course the students will have insight into and understanding of:
the importance and relevance of organisation and management for the public and private spheres of life;
the differences between public and private organisations and their management systems with respect to their
consequences for the structure and functioning of these different types of organisation;
the relevance of the societal and political-administrative context for public organisation and management;
topics as organisational structures and culture, leadership, organisational legitimacy and performance
improvement, the relation between organisations and their environment and management.
Besides, students are able to grasp and analyze organisational problems in the real world with a critical
understanding of organisational theories and insights.
Mode of Instruction
In the course we will use a mix of interactive teaching methods. The basics of public organisation theory will
be explained and discussed during some lectures, including several guest lectures. These core themes will
additionally be examined in a seminar like structure organised around individual assignments. These
assignments are meant to deepen the insight and apply organisation and management insights in real situations.
Students will give an individual presentation and have class discussions.
An individual presentation in which the students discusses a ‘classic’ article. Duration of the presentation:
15 min. The student can select the article from the reader The Sociology of Organizations, edited by Michael
J. Handel, or the reader Classics of Organization Theory, edited by Shafritz & Ott. Weight of the grade: *20%
*. The student must show that he or she has understood the discussed article well and is able to explicate his
or her arguments clearly. The exposition must result in some topics for discussion.
An individual paper in which the students analyses a ‘real existing’ public organization. This analysis must
include: a characteristic of the strategy, vision, mission, structure, culture, power relations and HRM-
practices of the organization; a description of the relations between the organization and the environment; a
SWOT-analysis (an analysis of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats of the organization). The
paper must run to 1.500 words. The student must hand in a hard copy of the paper at session 4b. Weight of the
An individual paper in which the student discusses a relevant topic that is chosen by himself or herself.
There is one condition: the student must use some additional literature, selected in consultation with the
instructor. This paper also must run to 3.000 words. The student must hand in a hard copy of the paper at the
end of the course. Weight of the grade: 40%.
The instructor will not grade presentations and papers that significantly exceed the prescribed time and
Active participation in class (20%).
Hal G. Rainey, Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, San Francisco; Jossey-Bass, (latest edition)
Robert B. Denhardt, Theories of public organization, Belmond, California, latest edition
Michael J. Handel (ed), The Sociology of Organizations. Classic, Contemporary, and CriticalReadings, Thousand
Oaks, Sage Publications
Recommended Literature & Other Sources (e.g. websites, Academic Journals, documentaries etc.)
W. Richard Scott, Organizations. Rational, Natural, and Open Systems.
Michael Reed & Michael Hughes, Rethinking Organization.
Christiane Demers, Organizational Change Theories.
Administrative Science Quarterly.
Week 1: The rise of the organised world
Week 2: The publicness and privateness of organisations
Week 3: Classical approaches to organisation and the management and the rational
model of organisations
Week 4: The decision making and structure of public organisations.
Week 5: Human relations and the culture of public organisations.
Week 6: Leadership and Human Resources Management in public organisations.
Week 7: Recent management doctrines.
Week 8: Reading and writing
Preparation for first session