Fall 2008 Course Description

Public Management

Instructor(s): Kevin Bacon
Course: P A 384C - Public Management
(previously Public Administration and Management)
Unique Number: 64740
Day & Time: Tuesdays, 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Room: SRH 3.110
Waitlist Information:For LBJ Students: UT Waitlist Information

Description: What does the course cover? I built this course from two basic assumptions:
1) Throughout her or his career, every LBJ graduate will be called upon to manage and lead groups of people in accomplishing important work. You will usually do so on behalf of some larger organization. You should prepare for this work.
2) The design of public policy must consider the issues of implementation (or management). As Alexander Hamilton warned us over 200 years ago in the Federalist Papers, “…a government ill executed, whatever it may be in theory, must in practice be a bad government.” (Alexander Hamilton as quoted in The New Public Service, Paul C. Light, Brookings Institution, 1999, page 2)

My goal is to give you an overview of some of the main ideas in management and an opportunity to talk about and practice some of the concepts you will need as you move through your career. We’ll talk about the real-world challenges of leaders and managers face in implementing public policy.

This course introduces students to management principles and practices, with a focus on public agency administration. We begin with a discussion on the nature of public administration and move to organization theory and the effect of structure on administrative behavior. We will also examine the “people” side of government organizations as well as management and leadership within organizations. Many case studies are examined in depth to provide real life context for the course content.

The course is designed to go beyond a conceptual framework of public management by also helping students develop the knowledge, insights and skills necessary to manage and to lead public sector organizations. Students will also work in small group settings on a number of management skill-building exercises, such as “supportive communication” and “managing conflict”.

The course requires extensive reading and class preparation as well as a high level of participation in class. Student assessment will be based on class participation, short written assignments, one 20-page paper and oral presentations. There will be no final examination. In addition, individuals and small teams of students will make presentations in class on a variety of management topics.

(For a syllabus, see my faculty assistant, Debra Moore at debra.moore@mail.utexas.edu)

What will you do in this course?



Why take this course?
  1. It’s a required core course (we might as well be honest)
  2. Implementation (aka: management) is at least as important as policy development
  3. You will learn skills that will help you throughout your career
  4. Everyone in the class has a chance to speak out and help all of us learn

Return to Fall 2008 Course Schedule