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EMG 3325 Public Administration

Course Description

Analyzes the nature of public administration, its structure and limitations; includes staff organization and chain of command, unemployment policies, personnel training and management, employees, organizations, and public relations

Course Objectives

Upon completion of this course, students should be able to

    • Explain what encompasses the field of public administration
    • Explain what it means to be a public administrator
    • Acknowledge that public administration is a wide-ranging and complex subject that involves core activities of government
    • Explain the core activities provided by highly trained public administration experts and specialized organizations
    • Explain the core purpose of public administration
    • Recognize that public administration encompasses a large and dynamic portion of government at all three levels of the federal system, engaging even in nonprofit and private enterprise

Week 1

Lecture: Overview of Public Administration


  • Define public administration
  • Explain the functional responsibilities within the public system
  • Discuss the concepts of democratic rule
  • Discover the similarities and variations between private and public business
  • Define the responsibilities of the public administrator
  • Discuss some of the broad challenges of public administration
Lecture: The Political Context of Public Administration


  • Understand how political dynamics affect the functionality and administration of public programs
  • Recognize and comprehend the different levels of government – federal, state, and local
  • Define and discuss the different types of city structure and management
  • Understand the policy process through various levels of government
  • Develop a sensitivity to the political process

Week 2

Lecture: Interorganizational Context of Public Administration


  • Discuss the relationships between government entities
  • Explain the history of the federal/local government relationship
  • Discuss the interactions of government and nonprofit organizations
  • Develop an understanding of the grant process and network
  • Relate the changing roles of government, public policy, and the effects on nonprofits and social service organizations
  • Develop an overview of management and operational characteristics of nonprofits
Lecture: Designing and Managing Organizations


  • Distinguish the development and application of general organizational and management practices
  • Comprehend the decision-making process within the governmental arena/shifting priorities
  • Identify and understand the organizational culture and learning
  • Differentiate the functions of management as defined by Fayol and Gulick

Week 3

Lecture: The Management of Human Resources


  • Develop an understanding of employee selection, hiring, and development in the public sector and our system of merit versus spoils-based employment/governmental relations
  • Grasp the application of the Civil Service Reform Act and the changes such legislation achieved
  • Identify assessment and accountability within the governmental structure
  • Outline management/labor relations and issues in government
  • Explore civil rights and Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Explain discriminatory practices

Week 4

Lecture: Leadership and Management Skills in Public Organizations


  • Discuss the concept of leadership versus management, structure, and power
  • Define the five bases of social power
  • Relate effective knowledge of communication and the application of appropriate practices
  • Develop a concept of delegation, motivation, and goal setting
  • Explain the dynamics of group interactions and decision making versus individual decision processes
  • Develop a process for resolving conflicts and negotiating/bargaining
Lecture: Ethics of Public Service


  • Discuss the definitions of right and wrong and the ethical questions posed in public service
  • Explain what is meant by morality and ethics
  • Explain how a public manager interacts with elected officials
  • Develop an understanding of the challenges of following orders versus doing the right thing, whistle blowing, and conflicts of interest
  • Explain the intent and importance of the Hatch Act

Week 5

Lecture: Administrative Reform and Technology


  • Explain the perceived weaknesses of government and why it needs to be reformed
  • Discuss how MBO affects operations
  • Relate the impact of technology on operations and service
  • Discuss how quality circles can improve problem solving and service delivery
  • Explain how recognition programs affect quality and productivity
  • Develop an appreciation for the human side of technological improvements

Week 6

Lecture: Planning, Implementation, and Evaluation


  • Develop an understanding how public policies and programs are conceived, defined, and implemented
  • Conceptually understand the planning process in general and as it applies to public service
  • Understand program and process evaluation and the differences between the two
  • Understand how human interaction in the planning process affects the outcome
  • Utilize PERT/CPM techniques theory for implementation of public programs

Week 7

Lecture: Budgeting and Financial Management


  • Develop an understanding of what fiscal policy is and how it can influence the economy
  • Explain the budgeting function in a public agency
  • Determine, from the federal perspective, the sources of revenue and the impact of expenditures
  • Develop a broad understanding of various taxes employed at different levels of government and determine whether they are progressive or regressive
  • Compare from a state and local perspective, the sources of revenue and the impact of expenditures
  • Learn to use the budget as a managerial tool
  • Develop a comprehension of how the fiscal year and budget cycle work
  • Discuss the importance of auditing
  • Develop an understanding of risk management and risk mitigation
  • Become familiar with the budget systems government can employ
  • Recognize the types of funds used in public agencies

Week 8

Lecture: The Future of Public Service


  • Explain the importance of delivering quality public services
  • Discuss the challenges of attracting qualified personnel to government positions
  • Synthesize the current identified trends in the public sector
  • Develop an awareness of the role of technology in the public work environment
  • Define the evolving role of citizens in the governance process
  • Recognize the growing role of ethics in public service going forward

The course description, objectives and learning outcomes are subject to change without notice based on enhancements made to the course. April 2012