• Class Number 4576
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Azad Singh Bali
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
    • 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.

There is no prescribed text book. Readings for each lecture are assigned and will be available online. Students may find references to the following introductory textbooks useful.

General Reading List

1.    Alford, J. and O’Flynn, J. (2012) Rethinking Public Service Delivery: Managing with External Providers, Palgrave, Basingstoke.

2.    Bovaird, T and Loffler, E (2003) Public Management and Governance, Routledge, London (UK focus).

3.    Hughes, O. (2012) Public Management & Administration, 4th edition, Palgrave Macmillan, Houndsmills, Basingstoke (international coverage).

4.    Moore, M. (1995) Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts (US focus).

5.    Osborne, S. (2010) The New Public Governance, Routledge, London (international focus). Rainey, H. (2009) Understanding & Managing Public Organizations, 4th edition, Jossey-Bass,  San Francisco (USA focus).

6.    Van der Wal, Z. (2017). The 21st century public manager. Macmillan International Higher Education.

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


Welcome to Public Management. There have been widespread changes to the nature and operation of public sector activity around the world over the last few decades and these have posed significant challenges and opportunities for public sector managers. This course provides a forum to debate, interrogate, and analyse these challenges. The notion of a public sector manager is not necessarily a common one. In fact in many countries it is more common to refer to people working in the public sector as public servants, civil servants, administrators, or bureaucrats. Indeed, even using the term management can be controversial when talking about what happens in the public sector and public sector organisations: in many countries it is common to talk of administration. A standard definition of management is “the attainment of organizational goals in an effective and efficient manner through planning, organising, leading and controlling” (Samson and Daft, 2003:9). This implies that a manager is someone who uses resources (human, financial, technological etc.) to achieve goals through the processes of planning, organising, leading and controlling. In this course we will position public sector managers as people who do this in public sector organisations. In this course, participants will have an opportunity to reflect critically on principles and topics studied previously and to draw on their professional experience. The course will involve detailed examination of a series of case studies from the field of public management. This may involve students taking on the role of a manager and deciding on a course of action informed by relevant theory and practice; alternatively students will have the opportunity to look back at decisions already made and discuss their merits: would they have done things differently? Why or why not? Cases selected for the course have been chosen to highlight general principles of public management. We will also be making frequent comparisons between different systems and countries, drawing in part on the diversity of experience among class members.



I want to acknowledge and celebrate the First Australians on whose traditional lands we meet, and pay our respect to the elders past, present and emerging. I also want to acknowledge that this course draws on material and pedagogical tools developed by Professor Richard Mulgan at the Australian National University and by Professor Janine O’Flynn at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government.


Teaching Staff

Azad Singh Bali

Phone: 61250591

Email: azadsingh.bali@anu.edu.au


Azad is a Senior Lecturer in Pubic Policy, and holds a joint appointment at the Crawford School of Public Policy and the School of Politics and International Relations at the Australian National University. His research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of policy design and social policy in Asia. Some of this research has been published in Policy & Society, Public Policy & Administration, Social Policy & Administration, and the Australian Journal of Public Administration among others. His forthcoming co-authored manuscript The Struggle for Universal Healthcare in Asia (CUP) is a comparative study of the design, governance and politics of health reform. Immediately prior to the ANU, Azad held fellowships at the University of Melbourne and at Murdoch University. He has consulted with the Asian Development Bank Institute on pension and tax reform, and worked with over 500 civil servants in executive education and training programs on social policy in Asia. Azad also serves as Associate Editor for Policy Design & Practice, an open-access journal focusing on knowledge translation and addressing contemporary policy challenges.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Tuesday 25 February Lecture 1: Introduction This lecture will provide an introduction to the course, define public management, what some of the key analytical questions that are discussed, and provide an overview of the changing operating context (economic, social, and political) that public managers have to navigate. There will be no tutorials conducted this week. 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. *van Der Wal (2017) Trends and Drivers, Chapter 3, in 21st Century Public Manager. Palgrave
2 Tuesday 03 March Lecture 2: Traditions in Public Management: An Overview of Key Debates This lecture will provide an overview of key debates in the public management, the politics-administration dichotomy, old and new public administration, new public management, new public service and public governance, and the recent emphasis on public value. * van Der Wal (2017) Old versus New, Chapter 2 *Peters, Guy (2015) Case Studies in Policy Coordination. Pursuing Horizontal Management. University of Kansas Press. *O’Flynn The Cult of Collaboration. The Australian Journal of Public Administration Osborne, S 2006, ‘The new public governance?’, Public Management Review vol. 8, no.3, pp.377-87. Osborne, D & Gaebler, T 1992, Reinventing government, Addison-Wesley, Reading, pp.1-24. Denhardt, R.B. and Denhardt, J.V. (2000) The New Public Service: Serving Rather than Steering, Public Administration Review, 60 (6), pp. 549-559. Guest Speaker: Dr Kris Hartley Discussion Questions a) What are the central tenants of new public management? Can you think of any examples where you see the use of these principles in how services are delivered? b) What is the rationale or need for policy coordination? Can you think of examples of how poor coordination impedes policy outcomes in your country? How can this be improved? What prevents policy coordination?
3 Tuesday 10 March - Lecture Thursday 12 March - Case Study Lecture 3 Organization and Values in Public Management This lecture will focus on the key difference between public and private organizations, and the different values that govern these organizations. We will pay specific attention to 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. The case study for this week is the privatization of the CSL. This will be discussed on Thursday. Mintzberg, H. (1996) Managing Government, Governing Management – Balancing the Private and Public Sectors, Harvard Business Review, 74 (3), pp.75-83. Lienert, I. (2009). Where does the public sector end and the private sector begin? (No. 9-122). International Monetary Fund. Alford, J. (2002) Defining the Client in the Public Sector: A Social Exchange Perspective, Public Administration Review, 62 (3), pp. 337-346. *Moore, M.H. (1995) Organizational Strategy in the Public Sector, in Moore, M. (1995) Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, pp. 57-102. *Scott, RS & Davis, GF 2007, Organizations and organizing, Routledge, London and New York, pp. 19-34. *Case Study: Privatization of the CSL Case Study Questions: Should the CSL have been privatised? Why/why not? • What rationales could be used to support and oppose the privatisation of the CSL? • What business should government be in? And, how could you justify government involvement in this area? • Is private enterprise more efficient that public enterprise? Why/why not? • Generally speaking, what potential benefits might a government monopoly provide? • Generally speaking, what potential benefits might market provision provide? • What future challenges may emerge here?
4 Tuesday 24 March - Lecture Thursday 26 March - Case Study ?Lecture 4 The Role of the Public Manager in the 21st Century In this lecture we will re-visit the fundamental role of the public manager and how it has evolved over time. A key emphasis in this lecture would be understanding the role of the public manager in the 21st century. We look at a case study of decisions that a public manager has to make in the context of a utility company. Peters, BG. (2010), ‘Recruiting public personnel’, The politics of bureaucracy 6th edn, Routledge, New York, pp 81-123. *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. Dasandi, N & Esteve, M 2017, ‘The politics-bureaucracy interface in developing countries’, Public Administration and Development, vol. 37, pp. 231-45. *Dickinson, H., & Sullivan, H. (2014). Imagining the 21st century public service work Van Der Wal (2017) Chapter 12, the 21st Century Public Manager *Case Study: The Division of Water Resources Case Study Questions: What is at stage for the manager, Roberta Dickson, in this situation? • What action/s would you advise her to take? Why? • How should she determine to whom merit pay awards will be given, and on what basis? • How will your approach avoid/attenuate the major risks that she faces? • What is the utility of merit pay in public sector organisations?
5 Tuesday 31 March - Lecture Thursday 2 April - Case Study Lecture 5 Getting Relational: Contracting, Commissioning, and Partnerships This lecture explores a key theme in public management: procurement. The lecture and case studies will cover issues such as government decisions to procure, contract, commission, and use networks to deliver public services. Alford, J. and O’Flynn, J. (2012) Outsourcing and Contracting to Other Organizations (chapter 4) and Partnering and Collaboration with Other Organizations (chapter 5), in Rethinking Public Service Delivery: Managing with External Providers, Palgrave, Basingstoke. Blondal, J.R. (2005) International Experience Using Outsourcing, Public-Private Partnerships, and Vouchers, IBM Centre for The Business of Government, Market-Based Government Series, Washington. Case Study: The Management of Prison Accommodation using Public Private Partnerships (Available online at https://www.audit.vic.gov.au/report/management-prison-accommodation-using-public-private-partnerships?section=) Case Study: On Solid Ground (Available online at https://www.anzsog.edu.au/resource-library/case-library/on-solid-ground-using-a-public-private-partnership-to-build-a-new-flagship-hospital-in-adelaide-cc-2019-205-1 Case Study Questions How should PPPs be evaluated? What criteria can we use to ensure that governments get 'value' from partnerships they enter in?
6 Tuesday 21 April - Class Quiz Thursday 23 April - Lecture Lecture 6 Managing Administrative Burdens in Service Delivery The issue of administrative burden or the costs of interacting with the government in accessing public services is discussed. What gives rise to these ‘burdens’ and how they can be addressed? Students will be expected to provide examples of the relative ease with which public services can be accessed in your country. Moynihan, D. P., Herd, P., & Ribgy, E. (2016). Policymaking by other means: Do states use administrative barriers to limit access to Medicaid?. Administration & Society, 48(4), 497-524. Herd, P., & Moynihan, D. P. (2019). Administrative burden: Policymaking by other means. Russell Sage Foundation. Chapter 4 and Chapter 9 Mid-Semester Quiz Short answer questions (one paragraph) on topics covered in the first five lectures. Quiz
7 Tuesday 28 April - Lecture Thursday 30 April - Case Study Lecture 7 Frameworks to Understand Policy Capacity This lecture focuses on a key theme in contemporary public management: capacity. We will define capacity, and develop a framework to understand the types of capacities (analytical, operational, and political) that are used in service delivery. The role of critical capacities and how their absence can undermine a program are discussed. These themes are brought to the fore through a case study on police reform in Afghanistan. Wu, X., Ramesh, M., & Howlett, M. (2015). Policy capacity: A conceptual framework for understanding policy competences and capabilities. Policy and Society, 34(3-4), 165-171. Bali, A. S., & Ramesh, M. (2018). Policy capacity: A design perspective. In Routledge handbook of policy design (pp. 331-344). Routledge. Case Study: Building a Force for Good Case Study: Building a Force for Good What factors impeded reform efforts? What are the specific capacity deficits that you can identify? How relevant is the notion of 'critical capacities' in public sector reform?
8 Tuesday 05 May - Lecture Thursday 07 May - Case Study Lecture 8 The Accountability Question in Public Management In this lecture we explore 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. Mulgan, R. (2000) Comparing Accountability in the Public and Private Sectors, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 59(1), pp. 87-97 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. Case Study: Donald Rumsfeld and Prisoner Abuse at Abu Ghraib Assessment 2 Due this week Case Study: Donald Rumsfeld and Prisoner Abuse at Abu Ghraib What factors explain the crisis? • To whom are the actors accountable? For what are they responsible? • How might the actors seek to address these crises? • How might changes in the way that public organisations operate have contributed to these outcomes? • What lessons might be taken from these experiences in terms of how public organisations are managed?
9 Tuesday 12 May - Lecture Thursday 14 May - Guest Speaker (TBC) Lecture 9: Corruption & Anti-Corruption This lecture will interrogate the meanings of ‘corruption’; universal or local standards of corruption; causes of corruption; strategies for reducing corruption; anti-corruption agencies. 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. Guest Speaker to be confirmed
10 Tuesday 19 May - Lecture Thursday 21 May - Concluding Case Study Lecture 10 Thinking Comparatively About Public Management This lecture introduces students to frameworks to compare public management practices across different countries and contexts. The concluding case study brings together key themes engaged in this course. “Comparative Public Management: A Framework for Analysis” O'Toole, L. J., & Meier, K. J. (2017). In Comparative public management: Why National, Environmental, and Organizational Context Matters. Georgetown University Press. Compton, M., & Hart, P. T. (Eds.). (2019). Great Policy Successes. Oxford University Press. (Chapter 1) Concluding Case Study: Cave Creek Disaster (this case study pulls together key themes in this course) What factors explain the crisis? • To whom are the actors accountable? For what are they responsible? • How might the actors seek to address these crises? • How might changes in the way that public organisations operate have contributed to these outcomes? • What lessons might be taken from these experiences in terms of how public organisations are managed?

Tutorial Registration

The course is organised using a combination of interactive lectures and case-based learning. This requires us to meet twice a week in most weeks. The lecture component is scheduled for Tuesday and the case study component is scheduled for Thursdays. In addition, there are 2 or 3 tutorial slots (that will be determined based on final enrolment). You can sign up for these. The purpose of this tutorials is to go through key themes and questions in the assigned readings. The tutorials are not compulsory but highly recommended.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Class Note 1 15 % 20/03/2020 05/04/2020 1, 3, 5
Quiz 20 % 23/04/2020 10/05/2020 1, 3, 5
Class Note 2 15 % 15/05/2020 05/06/2020 1, 3, 5
Reform Assessment 50 % 15/06/2020 02/07/2020 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: 20/03/2020
Return of Assessment: 05/04/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 5

Class Note 1

500 words, worth 15%

Due 20 March, 2020

Select any theme or theoretical concept covered in the lectures and/or readings in the first three weeks. Provide three examples of the concept to any country of your choice.

 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: 23/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 10/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 5


In-class quiz on 21 or 23 April (Date to be confirmed)

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:

  • Traditions in Public Management: An Overview of Key Debates
  • Organization and Values in Public Management
  • The Role of the Public Manager in the 21st Century
  • Getting Relational: Contracting, Commissioning, and Partnerships

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

Worth 20%. A more detailed notice about the quiz will be given out nearer the time.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 15 %
Due Date: 15/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 05/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 3, 5

Class Note 2

500 words, worth 15 %

Due 15 May; submit online

Apply the theoretical concept of 'critical capacities' or 'administrative burden' to explain policy success/failure in any country of your choice. That is, how has the presence or absence of critical capacities or administrative burdens impacted policy outcomes.

 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: 15/06/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6

Reform Assessment

2000 words, worth 50%

Due 15 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).
Dr Azad Singh Bali
61 2 6125 0591

Research Interests

comparative public policy; policy design; health policy in Asia

Dr Azad Singh Bali

Tuesday 15:00 16:00
Zahid Mumtaz

Research Interests

Zahid Mumtaz

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