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Regular version of the site
Master 2020/2021

Theory and Practice of Public Administration

Type: Compulsory course (Population and Development)
Area of studies: Public Administration
When: 1 year, 1, 2 module
Mode of studies: offline
Open to: students of one campus
Instructors: Tim Jaekel, Alexander Kalgin, Kristina Krikunov
Master’s programme: Population and Development
Language: English
ECTS credits: 5
Contact hours: 40

Course Syllabus


The course provides an introduction to contemporary theories, concepts and evidence of public administration and political science and aligns them with studies of demography, population and development. Public managers are acting in an environment full of constraints (political, managerial and environmental). The objective of the course is to empower participants, that is, future decision makers in the public, private, or non-for-profit sector, with knowledge required for taking appropriate decisions when dealing with public administration. Focusing on the links between public administration, political science and development, the course investigates how public service design and organization, performance, motivation connects with population and development in different political regimes, administrative cultures, and values systems. The discussion of these connections will be linked to contemporary development theories and policy analysis routines.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • To know: - basic concepts and practices of public administration; - a variety of topics covering most important aspects of modern public administration as a science and as a managerial practice (demographic policy, sustainability, innovation management); - up-to-date academic discussions in the field of public administration; - the significance (impact) of public administration to issues related to demography and development; - relationship between administration, politics and society.
  • To Be able to: - construct productive research questions using approaches of public administration studies; - apply the concepts of public administration and political science mainstreaming to their research designs in comparative social research; - to distinguish, collect and apply various social data related to public administration issues; - to criticize public administration studies in the context of population and development research agenda; - use of public management tools (such as strategic planning, performance management); - engage with up-to-date academic discussions in the field of public administration; - discover the importance of public administration for solving modern global and local developmental issues, particularly related to demographic problems;
  • To have: - the skill to criticize and evaluate the quality of outcome of different forms of public administration and development research; - the skill to meaningfully construct public administration and development research questions; - the skill to model research in the field of public administration and development.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Names major public administration theories and stages in their evolution
  • Links classical theories to modern issues in public administration
  • Reports novel, original ideas and innovative products in public sector organisations
  • Investigates costs, benefits, stakeholders, interests to forecast likelihood of innovation application
  • Explains difference between a plan, a programme and a strategy
  • Describes projects of ICT application in public administration within applicable typologies
  • Evaluates pros and cons of performance-centered public administration
  • Drafts research questions on correlation and dependencies between concepts from political science and population & development issues
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Evolution of theories of bureaucracy
    How has public administration developed as an academic field? This section will cover major public administration theories and their evolution. We will link classical theories to modern issues in public administration and see how the focus of interest of public administration scholars changed over time.
  • Innovation and learning in public administration
    Community members and elected officials are highly sensitive about the quality of public service delivery. Achieving even a baseline level of performance requires any government agency to exhibit some innovative search activities. This session will present and discuss examples for novel, original ideas and innovative products in public sector organizations that have the potential to serve the public interest well, and support the notion that the public sector has been an innovator in its own right. It will be demonstrated that innovation is a multi-stage process that requires more than one single ‘hero-innovator’. In a group work activity students will study different examples of innovative processes in the public sector (in Germany, in the Netherlands, and in Moscow). They will investigate what (short-term) costs and (long-term) benefits are associated with changes, which stakeholders are involved and how competing interests do affect the likelihood that a novel idea will be put into operation.
  • Strategic Management in Public Administration
    The session will draw a distinction between planned economy and contemporary strategic planning approach to the public money management. It will review the scale of existing strategic planning application on the federal, sub-federal and local level in different countries with the touch to the public finance. It will be expanded with the procedural circle of strategic practice which contains: forecasting, planning, implementation, evaluation, and managerial obstacles for strategic approach. The topic will be concluded with the discussion of strategic planning impact on regional and local governance measured in some academic studies.   
  • ICT application in Public Administration
    This session will acquaint with the current international agenda about using technologies in public administration and their applications worldwide. Technologies drive a large-scale process of increasing cyber forms of interactions within public system and between the system and citizens as consumers of public goods. Technologies redirect financial flows from material sphere to IT, thus reshaping the construction of public budget itself. The session will discuss key topics: big data for public administration, e-governance, human right to Internet access, cyber security and cyber threats.
  • Political demography. Do political institutions matter?
    The session provides an overview of the key political concepts and political structure of the society: the variety of political regimes, systems, and institutions. These concepts are applied to the discussion how political structures impact social development and population. The session traces academic inquiry on interaction between the following concepts and questions: Political development, Political regimes and systems (parliamentary, presidential, Electoral Systems, Political Party Systems), Sustainability and survival of political regimes, How does Democracy Come About? Theories of Democratization; Democracy and Democratization: Cases; Social and Economic Origins of Authoritarian Regimes; State Capacity. As an outcome of the session, the students will be familiar with contemporary agenda how “political” impacts population?
  • Evidence based policy
  • Psychology of PA: Public service motivation
  • Can government do anything right
    The way public agencies measure, compare, and sometimes ignore the quality of their public service delivery varies across time and countries. Performance management has a potential to improve public service delivery and raise performance; but has to struggle with unintended side-effects. Real life examples of performance-related tools will illustrate the pros and cons of performance-centered public administration. The session will also invest time in mentoring the draft essays.
  • Sustainability in the public sector
  • Performance management in the public sector
    Performance management
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking Written examination
  • non-blocking Written assignment (seminar paper): an essay
  • non-blocking Active participation
  • non-blocking Written examination
  • non-blocking Written assignment (seminar paper): an essay
  • non-blocking Contribution
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.4 * Written examination + 0.2 * Contribution + 0.4 * Written assignment (seminar paper): an essay


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • A. J. Meijer. (2014). From Hero-Innovators to Distributed Heroism: An in-depth analysis of the role of individuals in public sector innovation. Public Management Review, (2), 199. https://doi.org/10.1080/14719037.2013.806575
  • Bellé, N. (2014). Leading to Make a Difference: A Field Experiment on the Performance Effects of Transformational Leadership, Perceived Social Impact, and Public Service Motivation. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.D38AEC53
  • BINDER, N. B., KRIMMER, R., WENDA, G., & FISCHER, D.-H. (2019). International Standards and ICT Projects in Public Administration: Introducing Electronic Voting in Norway, Estonia and Switzerland Compared. Administrative Culture, 19(2), 8–22. https://doi.org/10.32994/hk.v19i2.215
  • Borins, S. (n.d.). Loose cannons and rule breakers, or enterprising leaders? Some evidence about innovative public managers. Public Administration Review, 60(6), 498–507. https://doi.org/10.1111/0033-3352.00113
  • Bullock, J. B., Stritch, J. M., & Rainey, H. G. (2015). International Comparison of Public and Private Employees’ Work Motives, Attitudes, and Perceived Rewards. Public Administration Review, 75(3), 479–489. https://doi.org/10.1111/puar.12356
  • Drechsler, W. (2015). How ICT will Influence Public Administration as a Scholarly Discipline. Administrative Culture, 16(1), 68–82. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=bsu&AN=103581950
  • Drumaux, A. (2018). Strategic Management for Public Governance in Europe [Elektronische Ressource] / by Anne Drumaux, Paul Joyce. London: Palgrave Macmillan. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.495046760
  • Michael S. Teitelbaum. (2015). Political demography: Powerful trends under-attended by demographic science. Population Studies, (sup1), 87. https://doi.org/10.1080/00324728.2014.977638
  • Niskanen, W. A. (1968). The Peculiar Economics of Bureaucracy. American Economic Review, 58(2), 293. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=bsu&AN=4492495
  • Strategic Planning in Local Communities : A Cross-National Study of 7 Countries / edited by Călin Emilian Hințea, Marius Constantin Profiroiu, Tudor Cristian Țiclău. (2019). Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edswao&AN=edswao.516887246

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Frank Trovato. (2014). Political Demography of India: Determinants and Consequences. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsbas&AN=edsbas.B1A23BBF
  • Galina Yu. Gagarina, & Sergey N. Miroshnikov. (2019). The Application of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN in the Strategies of Russian Federation Subject. Управленческое Консультирование, (1), 54. https://doi.org/10.22394/1726-1139-2019-1-54-63
  • Goldstone, J. A. (Голдстоун, Д., Shulgin, S. (Шульгин, С., Arkhangelskiy, V. (Архангельский, В., Korotaev, A. (Коротаев, А., Zinkina, Y. (Зинкина, Ю., Novikov, K. (Новиков, К., & Pustovalov, D. (Пустовалов, Д. (2015). Political Demography of Russia. Politics and State Government[Политическая Демография России. Политика И Государственное Управление]. Published Papers. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.p.rnp.ppaper.mn44
  • Noymer, A., & Hatori, H. (2016). Political Demography: How Population Changes Are Reshaping International Security and National Politics. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edssch&AN=edssch.oai%3aescholarship.org%2fark%3a%2f13030%2fqt2v6135jr