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Comparative Public Management


Admission requirements

This course is open to all students enrolled in the Master Public Administration (elective, max 30 students).


Christopher Hood defined public management as “the study and practice of design and operation of arrangements for the provision of public services and executive government.” This definition is taken as starting point for this course since (a) it is as good as any other and, more importantly, (b) it allows the discretion to go beyond the implementation/execution side of public management. In the Leiden master program students have been exposed to quite a range of comparative public management literature. The objective with this course is to bring that literature together in a broader framework that places the implementing/executing part of government activities (the operational level of analysis; intergovernmental management) in the larger context of the decision making arenas (the collective level of analysis; intergovernmental relations), and the underlying values upon which these decisions and actions are considered as legitimate and authoritative (the constitutional level of analysis; intergovernmental constitution). This larger environment includes the national, regional, and local levels, with specific attention for the political-administrative, social, and economic culture in which policy and management are embedded. It is very important that public management is not only understood and defined in terms of the toolkit from which the public manager (better is: civil servant) selects her/his instruments. As a study, public administration has really widened its scope since the 1970s, well beyond the initial instrumental orientation. However, with the advent of (new) public management (and that in contrast with public administration) this instrumental or technocratic element has increased. To be sure, there is room for instrumental and technocratic aspects of management, but without that being embedded in relevant contexts the study loses its legitimation.

This course is taught in an intensive formal of four weeks for a total of 16 hours. The following topics will be addressed by means of lecture and discussion. Both students and instructor are encouraged to raise topics for discussion in relation to the lecture.

Course objectives

At the end of this course the student:

  • will have in-depth knowledge of concepts and theories regarding comparative public administration and management;

  • will understand why government look alike in terms of structure, while they vary in terms of functioning;

  • will be able to assess the structure and functioning of their own political-administrative system in relation to that of others;

  • will have improved her/his academic writing skills by means of various papers.


On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website and timetables, uSis and Blackboard.

Mode of instruction

This course is taught in an intensive format of four weeks for a total of 16 hours class time. Both students and instructor are encouraged to raise topics for discussion in relation to the lecture.

The detailed course content can be found in the syllabus.

Course Load

140 hours total:

  • Lectures: 16 (8×2) hours.

  • Self-study: 124 hours (including reading / research for the paper)

Assessment method

Two 3-4 page reflection papers, double-spaced, due respectively on Tuesday June 13 andJune 20 about the literature prescribed for that week wherein you reflect upon the content of these readings. Do not summarize the chapters, but reflect upon what it made you think about.

A 15-page, double-spaced, paper wherein you compare anything that is of interest to you. This comparison can be between two different policy areas in a country of your choice, or between two similar policy areas in two different countries, or about policy responsibility in a specified area between two different levels of government (e.g. local and national), or between two public organizations, etc. Should you be unsure about what is acceptable as a comparative paper, do not hesitate to contact me at

Reflection paper (2x): 30%
Individual paper: 40%

You can find more information about assessments and the timetable exams on the website.
Details for submitting papers (deadlines) are posted on Blackboard.
On the Public Administration front page of the E-guide you will find links to the website, uSis and Blackboard.

Students will be permitted to resit an examination if they have a mark lower than 5.5 or with permission of the Board of Examiners.

Resit written exam
Students that want to take part in a resit for a written exam, are required to register via uSis. Use the activity number that can be found on the ‘timetable exams’.


The Blackboard page will be available at the latest 2 weeks before the start of the course. All course materials will be communicated through blackboard.

Reading list

Jos C.N. Raadschelders, Eran Vigoda-Gadot (2015). Global Dimensions of Public Administration and Governance. A Comparative Voyage. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 576 pp., $110,- (ISBN paperback 978-1-119-02619-8, ebook 978-1-119-02612-9).


Use both uSis and Blackboard to register for every course.

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.

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

Contact information

Dhr Prof dr. J.C.N. Raadschelders