Spring 2010 Course Description

Public Management

Instructor(s): William Spelman
Course: P A 384C - Public Management
(previously Public Administration and Management)
Unique Number: 62375
Day & Time: Fridays, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.355
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

Description: Good public managers do a lot of things well.


The complete list is longer, but you get the idea.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is that many of the best managers donít spend much time on management theories or philosophies. They canít even tell you why they do what they do. It just makes sense to them. This has led some to claim that good management is nothing but common sense, but they are wrong. Robert Fulghum didnít really learn everything he needed to know in Kindergarten. (Write a book? Cut a sweet deal with a publisher? I donít think so.) Crash Davis had a point when he claimed in Bull Durham, ďItís a simple game. You hit the ball. You catch the ball. You throw the ball.Ē But how many of us can hit, catch, and throw as well as Kevin Costner, much less Barry Bonds? In general, common sense ainít exactly common practice.

Why not? Because


This course canít substitute for a few decades of experience, but it can help you to broaden your knowledge of the public managerís basic repertoire, and improve your judgment as to when and how to use it. The best way to learn anything is to do it, so weíll be doing many of the same kinds of things in class that managers have to do in Reality. Through role playing, small group work, and discussion, you will find yourself organizing, persuading, empowering, calculating, negotiating, judging, even (one hopes) listening. You may find this a bit chaotic (again, weíre trying to be true to life), but I feel certain youíll find it better preparation for public service than reading great books.

And if, in the end, it still feels like common sense, then write a great book about it and become famous. But donít give the LBJ School any credit. That would spoil the illusion.

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