• Class Number 4702
  • Term Code 2930
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • EmPr Richard Mulgan
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 25/02/2019
  • Class End Date 31/05/2019
  • Census Date 31/03/2019
  • Last Date to Enrol 04/03/2019
    • Zahid Mumtaz
SELT Survey Results

The course takes a comparative and thematic approach to issues in public sector management, and encourages students to consider their relevance to their own countries and workplaces. The course gives particular emphasis to issues of public sector reform and draws on leading-edge research by academic staff at the Crawford School

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

After successfully completing this course you will be able to clearly and confidently:

1. understand the key concepts, ideas, theories and terminology associated with public administration and public sector management;

2 understand the main issues in key theoretical debates in  public administration and public sector management.

3. .apply relevant concepts and theories to individual cases in a comparative context. ;

4. understand the main principles in public sector reform and apply them to individual cases.

5. demonstrate improved capacity for critical analysis as well as for clear and effective communication, both written and oral.

6. demonstrate improved capacity to locate and critically evaluate relevant academic sources.

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Other Information


The course introduces students to some key concepts and theories in the study and reform of public sector management. It is aimed at students from different national backgrounds who expect to work in the public sector or related non-government sectors.

People working in government organisations are significantly affected by general theories about public sector management. The effects of these theories may often be implicit and indirect, the result of unspoken cultural traditions or reforms imposed by central governments and only dimly understood by rank-and-file officials preoccupied with their immediate tasks. Nonetheless, their influence is profound. If government officials (or those who work closely with governments, for instance in NGOs) can become more critically aware of the basic ideas that help to shape and constrain their professional lives, they will be better placed to understand their own working environment and to make a constructive contribution to their agencies and communities.

To aid this process of professional self-awareness, this course attempts to introduce students to the main general trends and theories in public sector management from a critical and comparative perspective. All countries in the modern world have systems of government that include permanent administrative organisations (departments or agencies) whose task it is to carry out the various functions of government, typically under the direction of political leaders and supervised by legislatures and courts. Although institutions of government administration are found everywhere, their formal structures and methods of operation have varied significantly over time and from country to country. A major aim of the course will be to identify the different constitutional traditions within which systems of public administration are located, as well as the different administrative challenges faced by countries at different stages of political and economic development.

Another major theme of the course is the worldwide movement for public sector reform which has been extremely influential since the 1980s. Analysing and assessing recent public sector reform requires an understanding of the various theoretical models that have underpinned the arguments for change. In particular, this involves a highly influential distinction between three different models or ideal types of public organisations and their management:

(i) ‘bureaucracy’, centred on rule-based hierarchies and associated with ‘traditional’ methods of government; (ii) ‘new public management’ (NPM) (or ‘public management’) which emphasises specified results and market-based mechanisms and (iii) ‘network’-based ‘governance’ which looks more to horizontal relationships between independent agencies, both public and private, with shared values and objectives. We examine the extent to which reform movements have involved change from one model to another and how far they have been affected by local conditions and traditions.

The course ends with the consideration of a number of general topics of universal concern in public management: the relationship between professional government officials and party politicians; the various mechanisms and challenges of making governments more accountable to the people; and the problem of counteracting government corruption.

Throughout the course, the emphasis will be on controversial and contested issues requiring collective discussion and debate. Each weekly lecture will open up particular questions and issues which will be discussed further in tutorials, through close study of the selected readings. We will also be making frequent comparisons between different systems and countries, drawing in part on the diversity of experience among class members.


This course will be taught over 12 weeks and consists of ten weekly one-and-a-half-hour lectures and tutorials

Lectures will be held on Thursdays 10-11.30 (Acton Theatre), beginning on 28 February.

Tutorials will be held on Mondays and Tuesdays, 9.30-11.0, 11.30-1.0 (Seminar Room 9), beginning on 4 March. Please register BEFORE attending.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Thursday 28 February Topic 1: Introduction and Framework (Lecture 28 February, Tutorials 4-5 March) Issues: The organisation of the course, lectures, tutorials and assignments; the public sector and the private sector (commercial and non-profit); public management and public administration; executive government and its constitutional role; varieties of government organisation. Reading: Painter, M & Peters, BG, ‘Administrative traditions in comparative perspective’ in M Painter & BG Peters (eds), Tradition and public administration, Palgrave, Basingstoke, pp. 19-30. Tutorial question: Following the reading, what are the main administrative traditions in your own country?
2 Thursday 7 March Topic 2: Types of Organisation (Lecture 7 March, Tutorials 12 March and tba) Issues: Bureaucracies, markets and communities/networks as alternative structures of social coordination; the nature of organisations; models and their use in social analysis; managing public and private organisations, similarities and differences. Reading: (i) Colebatch, H & Larmour, P 1993, Market bureaucracy and community: a student’s guide to organisation, Pluto, London, pp.17-37. (ii) Scott, RS & Davis, GF 2007, Organizations and organizing, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 19-34. (iii) Allison, G 1986, ‘Public and private management: are they fundamentally alike in all unimportant aspects’ in S. Lane (ed.), Current issues in public administration, St Martins Press, New York, pp.184-200. Tutorial questions: (i): according to the first reading, what are the main features of ‘models’ and how are they used to analyse types of organisation? (ii): following the second reading’s three definitions of organization, which definition best fits government organizations and why? (iii): according to the third reading, what are the main differences between managing in the public and private sectors and what are the main reasons for these differences?
3 Thursday 14 March Topic 3: Values in Public Management (Lecture 14 March, Tutorials 18-19 March) Issues: Management values - economy, efficiency and effectiveness and their relation to inputs, outputs and outcomes; equity, fairness; legality and compliance: the public interest and public value; good governance and the World Bank indicators. Reading: (i) Funnell, W & Cooper, K 1998, Public sector accounting and accountability in Australia, UNSW Press, Sydney, pp.34-42. (ii) Alford, J and others 2017, 'Ventures in public value management: introduction to the symposium', Public Management Review vol. 19, no. 5, pp. 589-604. (iii) Kaufman, D, Kraay, A. & Mastruzzi, M. (2009), ‘Introduction’ in Governance matters VIII, World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 4978, World Bank, Washington, pp.1-6. Tutorial questions: (i) following the first reading, how would one assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the Crawford School? (ii) following the second reading, what is ‘public value’ and does it attribute too much autonomy to public managers? (iii) following the third reading, are the World Bank’s six dimensions of governance accepted values in all countries?
4 Thursday 21 March Topic 4: Bureaucracy (Lecture 21 March, Tutorials 25-26 March) Issues: The origins of bureaucracy; Weber’s theory of bureaucracy; bureaucracy and administration; the relation between bureaucracy and democracy; general criticisms of bureaucracy. Reading: (i) Hughes, OE 2012, ‘The traditional model of public administration’ in Public management and administration, 5th edn, Palgrave, Basingstoke, pp. 42-75. (ii) Osborne, D & Gaebler, T 1992, Reinventing government, Addison-Wesley, Reading, pp.1-24. (iii) Ang, YY 2017, ‘Beyond Weber: conceptualizing an alternative ideal type of bureaucracy in developing contexts’, Regulation & Governance, vol. 11, pp. 282-98, esp pp. 282-7. Tutorial questions: (i) following the first reading, find examples of each of the Weberian principles of bureaucracy in organisations with which you are acquainted (ii): according to the second reading, in which situations has bureaucracy been effective and why? (iii) according to the third reading, how does the ‘bureau-franchising’ model of bureaucracy differ from the Weberian model? Class Note 1
5 Thursday 28 March Topic 5: New Public Management (Lecture 28 March, Tutorials 1-2 April) Issues: General disillusionment with government; the influence of private sector management and institutional economics; the main elements of new public management (NPM), including marketisation, privatisation, managerial autonomy, strategic management, customer focus: the impact of NPM. Reading: (i) Kapucu, N 2007, ‘New public management: theory, ideology and practice’ in A Farazmand and J Pinkowski (eds), Handbook of globalization, governance, and public administration, CRC Press, London, pp. 889-902. (ii) Pollitt, C and Bouckaert, G 2017, Public management reform, 4th edn, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 9-18. (iii) De Vries, M & Nemec, J 2013, ‘Public sector reform: an overview of recent literature and research on NPM and alternative paths’, International Journal of Public Sector Management vol. 26, no. 1, pp. 4-16. Tutorial questions: (i) following the first reading, what were the major driving forces behind the NPM reforms? (ii) following the second reading, where was NPM most influential as a model for public management? (iii) following the third reading, what has been the lasting impact of NPM? Quiz 4 April (No tutorials 22-23 April) 25 April (public holiday) No lecture. No tutorials 29-30 April.
6 Thursday 4 April (No tutorials 22-23 April) 25 April (public holiday) No lecture. No tutorials 29-30 April. Quiz
7 Thursday 2 May Topic 6: Networks and Governance (Lecture 2 May, Tutorials 6-7 May) Issues: Moving beyond the new public management and contractualism; the role of shared values, cooperation and partnerships in public services; networks and horizontal relationships; government and governance; a new paradigm or a continuing role for bureaucracy? Reading: (i) Rhodes, R 1997, Understanding governance, Open University Press, Milton Keynes, 46-60 (ii) Alford, J & O’Flynn, J 2012, ‘Managing in multiparty networks of providers’, in Rethinking public service delivery, Palgrave, Basingstoke, ch. 9, pp. 193-205. (iii) Osborne, S 2006, ‘The new public governance?’, Public Management Review vol. 8, no.3, pp.377-87. Tutorial questions: (i) following the first reading, what does Rhodes understand by 'networks' and ‘governance’? (ii) according to the second reading, what are the man features of multi-party networks for service delivery? (iii) according to the third reading, how does the ‘New Public Governance’ differ from the New Public Management?
8 Thursday 9 May Topic 7: Public Sector Reform (Lecture 9 May, Tutorials 13-14 May) Issues: The international reform movement and the role of donors; the main directions of public sector reform; conditions for successful reform and reasons for failure; pointers to the final essay Reading: (i) Pollitt, C 2013, ‘Back in the OECD.. an oblique comment on the World Bank’s Better Results from Public Sector Institutions’, International Review of Administrative Sciences, vol. 79, no. 3, pp. 406-12. (ii) Brinkerhoff, DW & Brinkerhoff, JM, 2015, ‘Public sector management reform in developing countries: perspectives beyond NPM orthodoxy’, Public Administration and Development, vol. 35, pp. 222-37. (iii) McCourt, W 2018, 'New directions for public service reform in developing countries', Public Administration and Development, vol 38, pp. 120-9. Tutorial questions: (i) following the first reading, what lessons can be learned from the World Bank's approach to public sector reform? (ii) following the second reading, what are the alternatives to NPM being adopted in developing countries? (iii) following the third reading, how should international donors approach the issue of public sector reform? Class Note 2
9 Thursday 16 May Topic 8: Public Servants and Politicians (Lecture 16 May, Tutorials 20-21 May) Issues: Methods of appointing public servants and the issue of ‘politicisation’; the demand that public servants be representative of the general population; the respective roles of party politicians and public servants; ‘policy’ and ‘administration’; the limits to public service ‘responsiveness’ to elected politicians. Reading: (i) Peters, BG. (2010), ‘Recruiting public personnel’, The politics of bureaucracy 6th edn, Routledge, New York, pp 81-123. (ii) Podger, A & Chan, H 2015, ‘The concept of “merit” in Australia, China and Taiwan’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, vol. 74, no. 3, pp. 257-69. (iii) Dasandi, N & Esteve, M 2017, ‘The politics-bureaucracy interface in developing countries’, Public Administration and Development, vol. 37, pp. 231-45. Tutorial questions: (i) In your country, how are department heads and new entrants to the public service appointed? (ii) Should ‘merit’ sometimes be overruled as an appointment criterion in the interests of a more representative bureaucracy? (iii) When is a public servant justified in refusing to follow instructions from a political superior?
10 Thursday 23 May Topic 9: Accountability (Lecture 23 May, Tutorials 28 May and tba) Issues: The meanings of ‘accountability’ and its differences from ‘responsibility’ and ‘responsiveness’; accountability and transparency; structures of public sector accountability; contrasts with the private sector; accountability in networks; accountability and trust. Reading: Mulgan, R 2003, Holding power to account, Palgrave, Basingstoke, pp.1-14, 108-14. Kim, P 2009, ’Enhancing public accountability for developing countries: major constraints and strategies’, Australian Journal of Public Administration vol. 68, supp.no.1, pp. 89-100. Tutorial questions: (i) What are the most important accountability relationships for the mid-ranking public servant? (ii) What are the main deficiencies in systems of government accountability?
11 Thursday 30 May Topic 10: Corruption and Anti-Corruption (Lecture 30 May, No Tutorials) Issues: The meanings of ‘corruption’; universal or local standards of corruption; causes of corruption; strategies for reducing corruption; anti-corruption agencies. Reading: Larmour, P 2007, A short introduction to corruption and anti-corruption, CIES e-Working Paper No 37/2—7 Centre for Research and Studies in Sociology, Lisbon. Neudorfer, N S 2015, 'Development, democracy and corruption: how poverty and lack of political rights encourage corruption', Journal of Public Policy vol. 35, no. 2, pp 421-57. Arellano-Gault, D 2016, ‘Understanding the trap of systemic corruption’, Governance, vol. 29, no. 4, pp. 463-5.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Class Note 1 15 % 21/03/2019 04/04/2019 1, 3, 5
Quiz 20 % 04/04/2019 23/04/2019 1, 3, 5
Class Note 2 15 % 09/05/2019 23/05/2019 1, 3, 5
Reform Assessment 50 % 11/06/2019 04/07/2019 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 21/03/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 5

Class Note 1

500 words, worth 15%

Due Thursday 21 March; submit online

Either (i) Following the first reading for Topic 2 (Colebatch and Larmour), identify two general contrasts between bureaucracy and markets as methods of organisation. Illustrate each contrast with a pair of actual examples of organisations in particular countries (ie four examples in total). 

Or (ii) Following the first reading for Topic 3 (Funnell and Cooper), identify how effectiveness may conflict with efficiency and give three actual examples of such conflict in particular countries.

 Emphasis is on clarity of organisation and conciseness of expression. Examples should not all be taken from the one country and should not be taken from the reading in question. Bibliographical references are not required. 500 words, worth 15%. 

Assessment Task 2

Value: 20 %
Due Date: 04/04/2019
Return of Assessment: 23/04/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 5


In-class quiz 4 April

Submit directly to lecturer in class

Students will be asked to write brief answers (3-4 sentences) to questions set on four of the following topics taken from the previous weeks• classes and readings:

Topic 2

differences between bureaucracy and community

differences between public and private sector management

Topic 3

differences between economy, efficiency and effectiveness

Topic 4

Weber’s theory of bureaucracy

criticisms of bureaucracy

Topic 5

the main elements of the New Public Management

 Note: only four questions will be asked. Students will be expected to answer all questions.

Worth 20%. A more detailed notice about the quiz, including a specimen answer, will be given out nearer the time.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 09/05/2019
Return of Assessment: 23/05/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 5

Class Note 2

500 words, worth 15 %

Due Thursday 9 May; submit online

Either (i) Following the first reading for Topic 5 (Kapucu), identify three general types of reform associated with the New Public Management (NPM) and illustrate each type with an actual example from a particular country.

 Or (ii) Following the second reading for Topic 6 (Alford and O’Flynn), identify three general costs of multi-party networks and illustrate each with an actual example from a particular country.

 Emphasis is on clarity of organisation and conciseness of expression. Examples should not all be taken from the one country and should not be taken from the reading in question. Bibliographical references are not required. 

Assessment Task 4

Value: 50 %
Due Date: 11/06/2019
Return of Assessment: 04/07/2019
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

Reform Assessment

2000 words, worth 50%

Due Tuesday 11 June; submit online

This should be written in the form of an essay, with the aim of assessing a particular reform in public sector management in a particular country. The assessment should build on concepts and theories discussed in the course and might involve, for example, an improvement in management efficiency and effectiveness, a change in appointment procedures, outsourcing or privatisation, a measure to reduce corruption, greater use of networks, or any other measure considered in the course. The assessment should explain who advocated the reform and their reasons for doing so. It should also assess how far the reform succeeded or failed and why. Finally, it should suggest whether the reform should be continued, revised or abandoned.

The analysis should be comprehensible to non-specialists (for example, political leaders or others the student might have to convince). It should draw on material presented in the course and additional research by the student and include at least 6 references to academic articles and book chapters, and at least 3 references to official literature of government or international organisation reports. Where academic or official documents relevant to the specific reform are not available, students may rely on their own experience as evidence, backing this up with reference to academic or other internet sources that are relevant to the general issue.


Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
EmPr Richard Mulgan

Research Interests

accountability, public sector ethics

EmPr Richard Mulgan

Zahid Mumtaz

Research Interests

Zahid Mumtaz

Responsible Officer: Registrar, Student Administration / Page Contact: Website Administrator / Frequently Asked Questions