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Public Management and Organisations (English)


Admission requirements

Only students admitted to the Premaster PA are entitled to follow the course.


This course provides basic knowledge on public organisational theory. Public organisations are an integral part of the public sector and influence the daily life of citizens. The realm of public organisations is complex. What is expected of them and what task is fulfilled by their employees? How are they equipped to execute their tasks properly? How do they interact with the citizen, politics and the administration? To which norms do they have to adhere? What is the role of leadership in public organisations?
Issues that will be discussed are:

  • Theories on the organisation of the Public Sector

  • The relations between politics and administration

  • Effectivity and efficiency in the Public Sector

  • Leadership and organisational culture

  • Public – private dichotomy

  • The role of governance and regulation

Course objectives

  • Students have acquired the ability to use concepts and models that are used when studying public organisations.

  • Students understand the intricacies of the relation between citizens, politics and administration.

  • Students are aware of the role of leadership and leadership techniques in public organisations.

  • Students have acquired insight into the role of public sector norms and regulation.

  • Students have acquired insight into the way the bureaucracy and politicians (co-) operate.

  • Students have acquired knowledge about the way the public and private sector perform different roles.

  • Students can compare and apply the theories and concepts studied to a case.

  • Students can write a text in which they develop a line of argumentation in a structured, critical and analytical manner.


On the right-hand side of the programme front page of the Prospectus you will find links to the timetables and uSis.

Mode of instruction

This course consists of interactive lectures that are combined with students’ independent study of the literature.

Total 140 hours of which:

  • 14 contact hours

  • 126 hours of self-study

Assessment method

The assessment method of this course consists of two partial evaluations:

  • Mid-term assignment (30 percent of the grade)

  • Final paper (70 percent of the grade)

To pass the course, students need to have a minimum of 5.5 in both components.
Partial grades are only valid in the current academic year; partial grades will not remain valid after the exam and the resit of the course.

Reading list

Rainey, H.G. (2014, 6th edition). Understanding and Managing Public Organizations. San Fransisco: Jossey-Bass. The 5th edition can also be used for this course, but not earlier versions.

Additional readings, accessible via the library, will be communicated on Brightspace at the beginning of the course.


Register for every course and workgroup via uSis. For this course, students will be enrolled by the programme. In uSis you can access your personal schedule and view your results.

Leiden University uses Brightspace as its online learning management system. After enrolment for the course in uSis you will be automatically enrolled in the Brightspace environment of this course.


A.V. Lerusse MSc