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Human Resources and Organizational Behavior


Admission requirements

MPA students enrolled in the specialization Public Management and Leadership.


In this course, we study theories and state-of-the-art research in human resources and organizational behavior in public management. In the subsequent lectures and seminars, we follow multiple levels of analysis, from intended policies at the organizational level, through managerial practice at the team level and how these are being experienced and fit with employee motivation at the individual level.

The course builds on academic insights on strategic HRM, high performance work systems, employee motivation, and the management of diversity and inclusion, and seeks to link theories with practice in public organizations. We debate the impact of major challenges public organizations are confronted with - such as the financial crisis, changing demographics, and changes in the labor market - on HR-policies and line managers’ leadership. Against this background, we discuss the importance of strategic HRM and leadership in terms of bridging organizational goals (e.g., organizational effectiveness and performance), employees’ interests (e.g., employee well-being and satisfaction) and wider extra-organizational interests (e.g., external stakeholders’ interests, societal interests, public value).

Course objectives

After this course, students are able to:

  • understand and compare the key theories in the field of organizational behavior and human resources in public management;

  • critically evaluate state-of-the art empirical research in this field;

  • illustrate theories through reference to national and international cases;

  • critically comment on how the particular context of public organizations influences the management of HR and organizational behavior within public organizations;

  • use the insights from the course to motivate individuals and teams within a public organization.


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

Mode of instruction

This course consists of a combination of lectures and seminars with small assignments, and class discussions. The lectures are aimed to outline core theories and the state-of-the-art research on HR and organizational behavior in public management, and to elaborate the difficult and controversial issues. The seminars are aimed to stimulate a critical attitude, and to practice skills. In order to allow a fruitful and effective discussion, it is necessary students read the assigned literature in advance of each session. The assignments include both in-class assignments and assignments prepared in advance of the session, related to the literature of that week.

Course Load

Total course load = 140 hours

  • Attending lectures and seminars: 2 hours x 7 weeks + 2 hours x 4 weeks = 22 hours

  • Examination= 5 hours

  • Preparing seminars and weekly assignments: 6 hours x 7 weeks = 42 hours

  • Studying compulsory literature and preparing written exam: 71 hours

Assessment method

Written exam (70%) and a portfolio of weekly assignments (30%).

The final grade is the weighted average of the exam and the portfolio of assignments. Both the exam and the portfolio should be passed (grade of 5.5 or higher) in order to pass the course.

More information about participation in exams can be found in the Rules & Regulations.


Blackboard is the main tool for communication. The course page will be available at the start of the course.

Reading list

For each session, journal articles and/or other reading material are assigned. Journal articles are available through the UL library digital services. Other reading material can be accessed online or will be made available in class. The assigned literature should be read in advance of each session. Next to the compulsory reading material, suggestions for additional reading material are provided.


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 there.


Prof. dr S.M. Groeneveld