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Course Details

Course Details

Course Code: PADM510 Course ID: 2726 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Graduate

This course covers the major administrative theories that drive macro-level public behavior. It will begin with a consideration of the broad significance of the study of public organizations for individuals in modern society. It will then examine how theorists and practitioners have sought to develop more formal perspectives on public management. It will examine those ideas that are of greatest relevance to the construction of an integrated theory of public organizations. The progression of the course follows the evolution of administrative theory from the pioneering work of Weber, Taylor.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
08/31/20 - 01/29/21 02/01/21 - 03/28/21 Winter 2021 Session I 8 Week session
10/26/20 - 04/02/21 04/05/21 - 05/30/21 Spring 2021 Session B 8 Week session
12/28/20 - 06/04/21 06/07/21 - 08/01/21 Spring 2021 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

1. Compare and contrast formal theories of public organizations.
2. Evaluate the intellectual heritage of Marx, Weber, Wilson and others and their impact on the transformation of public service.
3. Evaluate the theoretical underpinnings of the new public management and the postmodern theories.
4. Assess the role of value systems and service in the administration of public policy.
5. Assess the importance of ethics and ethical theory in the administration of public resources to earn and retain public trust.
6. Assess the impact of budgetary theory on administrative theory.

Self-Introduction: The first forum includes a self-introduction, which should include your name, where you are located (country, state, or city), what your current job title is, where you received your undergraduate degree and in what field, any information you care to share about your family and hobbies, and what you hope to get out of the course.

This introduction needs to be at least 250 words and posted during the first week of the class. Do not attach your posting to the forum, type it into the comments box. Failure to complete this forum by the end of the first week of class will result in you being dropped from the course.

Forum Questions: You will have 8 forum questions, 1 per week, though the question may have several parts. For our forum discussions we will be analyzing concepts raised in the text, related readings, or current events. Postings and replies should be free of any spelling or grammar errors and given proper attribution.

Questions and topics posed in the Forums are designed to promote thought and insight. Students must provide a critical review of the questions, topics and issues posed and substantively reply to the contributions of at least three peers. Individual postings should include a full discussion of the content of the question posed and explain how it relates to the concepts in the weekly text readings and other resources. The postings should be analytic in nature and include comparisons/contrasts, and examples that can bolster your point. The Forum is for your benefit and it is important to respond to the discussion topic and to engage others in a running dialogue.

Your initial post should be made by Thursday each week. You should then respond to 3 or more posts. Note that at least one response to your classmates must be made before Sunday. If you make all of your responsive posts on Sunday, you will not earn full points for timeliness.

This can be accomplished by

· Validating with additional evidence from the literature.

· Posing a thoughtful question with commentary which generates further discussion.

· Providing an alternative point-of-view, with evidence and examples.

· Offering additional insight into how the concept might be understood, with evidence provided with real world examples.

You should be active in the classroom throughout the week and actively engaged in the back-and-forth discussion between your colleagues and the professor.

The forum grading rubric can be found in gradebook by clicking on the forum entry.


The assignments involve the theories and theorists we are studying. Each application is different and therefore has different expectations for length and depth. See the specific assignment for details. You are expected to draw from the weekly readings and find evidence to support your responses in journal articles or current events. Additionally, there is a final paper in which you apply the theories you learned in this class to a real life situation.

Additional Readings:

Please see the readings listed for each week in the Course Timeline below.

These readings are conveniently available in the course lessons or you can find them by copying the title and pasting it into the search box after you log into the APUS library site. They should all be available in full text versions.

Week One - Classical Theorists

Cook, B. J. (2002). Expertise, discretion, and definite law: Public administration in woodrow wilson's presidential campaign speeches of 1912. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 24(3), 487-506.

GULICK, L. (1984). the metaphors of public administration. Public Administration Quarterly, 8(3), 369-381.

Huang, K., Tung, J., Lo, S. C., & Chou, M. (2013). a review and critical analysis of the principles of scientific management. International Journal of Organizational Innovation (Online), 5(4), 78 - 85.

Kattel, R. (2015). What would max weber say about public-sector innovation?1. NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy, 8(1), 9-19. doi:10.1515/nispa-2015-0001

Meier, K. J. (2010). Governance, structure, and democracy: Luther gulick and the future of public administration. Public Administration Review, 70(S1), S284-S291. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2010.02288.x

Paton, S. (2012;2013;). Introducing taylor to the knowledge economy. Employee Relations, 35(1), 20-38. doi:10.1108/01425451311279393

Sager, F., & Rosser, C. (2009). Weber, wilson, and hegel: Theories of modern bureaucracy. Public Administration Review, 69(6), 1136-1147. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2009.02071.x

Tholen, B. (2016). Machiavelli's lessons for public administration. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 38(2), 101 - 114. doi:10.1080/10841806.2016.1165586

Wren, D. A. (2011). The centennial of frederick W. taylor's the principles of scientific management: A retrospective commentary. Journal of Business and Management, 17(1), 11 - 22.

Week Two - NeoClassical Theorists/Challenges to Orthodoxy

Aligica, P. D. (2015). Public administration, public choice and the ostroms: The achievements, the failure, the promise. Public Choice, 163(1), 111-127. doi:10.1007/s11127-014-0225-8

Cruise, P. L. (1997). Are proverbs really so bad? herbert simon and the logical positivist perspective in american public administration. Journal of Management History, 3(4), 342-359. doi:10.1108/13552529710191171

Fernández, S. (2010). Re‐discovering barnard: The functions of the … leader?: Highlighting chester barnard's contributions for the twenty‐first century business executive. Journal of Management History, 16(4), 468-488. doi:10.1108/17511341011073951

Getha-Taylor, H. (2009). Where's (dwight) waldo? Public Performance & Management Review, 32(4), 574-578. doi:10.2753/PMR1530-9576320406

Meier, K. J. (2015). Proverbs and the evolution of public administration. Public Administration Review, 75(1), 15-24. doi:10.1111/puar.12288

Merton, R. K. (1940). Bureaucratic structure and personality. Social Forces, 18(4), 560-568. doi:10.2307/2570634

Parayitam, S., White, M. A., & Hough, J. R. (2002). Juxtaposition of chester I. barnard and frederick W. taylor: Forerunners of management. Management Decision, 40(10), 1003-1012. doi:10.1108/00251740210452863

Svara, J. H. (2008). Beyond dichotomy: Dwight waldo and the intertwined Politics–Administration relationship. Public Administration Review, 68(1), 46-52. doi:10.1111/j.1540-6210.2007.00834.x

Week Three - Human Relations/Motivations

Barclay, L. J. (2005). Following in the footsteps of mary parker follett: Exploring how insights from the past can advance organizational justice theory and research. Management Decision, 43(5), 740-760. doi:10.1108/00251740510597752

Elias, M. V. (2010). governance from the ground up: Rediscovering mary parker follett. Public Administration and Management, 15(1), 9 - 45.

Plant, J. F. (2015). Remembering william mosher: A pioneer of public administration. Public Administration Review, 75(1), 13-14. doi:10.1111/puar.12270

Shields, P. M. (2006). Democracy and the social feminist ethics of jane addams: A vision for public administration. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 28(3), 418-443.

Udechukwu, I. I. (2009). Correctional officer turnover: Of maslow's needs hierarchy and herzberg's motivation theory. Public Personnel Management, 38(2), 69-82. doi:10.1177/009102600903800205

Weisbord, M. (2011). Taylor, McGregor and me. Journal of Management History, 17(2), 165-177. doi:10.1108/17511341111112578

Wickström, G., & Bendix, T. (2000). The "hawthorne effect" — what did the original hawthorne studies actually show? Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health, 26(4), 363-367.

Week Four - Budgeting and Policy

Gibran, J. M., & Sekwat, A. (2009). continuing the search for a theory of public budgeting. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, 21(4), 617 - 644.

Jones, L. R., & McCaffery, J. L. (2005). Reform of the planning, programming, budgeting system, and management control in the U.S. department of defense: Insights from budget theory. Public Budgeting & Finance, 25(3), 1-19. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5850.2005.00364.x

Kelly, J. M., & Rivenbark, W. C. (2008). budget theory in local government: The process-outcome conundrum. Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting & Financial Management, 20(4), 457 -481.

Neuby, B. L. (1997). On the lack of a budget theory. Public Administration Quarterly, 21(2), 131 -142.

Schick, A. (1969). Systems politics and systems budgeting. Public Administration Review, 29(2), 137-151.

Week Five - Decision Making and Policy

Bendor, J. (2015). Incrementalism: Dead yet flourishing. Public Administration Review, 75(2), 194-205. doi:10.1111/puar.12333

Cairney, P. (2012). Complexity theory in political science and public policy. Political Studies Review, 10(3), 346-358. doi:10.1111/j.1478-9302.2012.00270.x

Considine, M. (2012). Thinking outside the box? applying design theory to public policy. Politics & Policy, 40(4), 704-724. doi:10.1111/j.1747-1346.2012.00372.x

Lindblom, C. E. (1979). Still muddling, not yet through. Public Administration Review, 39(6), 517-526.

Meek, J. W. (2010). Complexity theory for public administration and policy. Emergence: Complexity and Organization, 12(1), 1-4.

Ney, S., & Verweij, M. (2014). Exploring the contributions of cultural theory for improving public deliberation about complex policy problems. Policy Studies Journal, 42(4), 620-643. doi:10.1111/psj.12078

Ostaijen, M., & Jhagroe, S. (2015). “Get those voices at the table!”: Interview with deborah stone. Policy Sciences: An International Journal Devoted to the Improvement of Policy Making, 48(1), 127-133. doi:10.1007/s11077-015-9214-0

Wildavsky, A. (1969). Rescuing policy analysis from PPBS. Public Administration Review, 29(2), 189-202.

Week Six - Public v Private Management/Reinventing Government

Ansell, C., & Gash, A. (2008;2007;). Collaborative governance in theory and practice. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 18(4), 543-571. doi:10.1093/jopart/mum032

Feldman, D. L. (2014). Commentary: Public value governance or real democracy. Public Administration Review, 74(4), 504-505. doi:10.1111/puar.12250

KUIPERS, B. S., HIGGS, M., KICKERT, W., TUMMERS, L., GRANDIA, J., & VAN DER VOET, J. (2014). the management of change in public organizations: A literature review. Public Administration, 92(1), 1-20. doi:10.1111/padm.12040

Michael, B., & Popov, M. (2016;2014;). The failure of theory to predict the way public sector organisation responds to its organisational environment and the need for a mosaic-view of organisational theory. Public Organization Review, 16(1), 55-75. doi:10.1007/s11115-014-0296-5

Rauh, J. (2015). Problems in identifying public and private organizations: A demonstration using a simple naive bayesian classification. Public Organization Review, 15(1), 33-47. doi:10.1007/s11115-013-0250-y

Vogel, R., & Masal, D. (2015). Public leadership: A review of the literature and framework for future research. Public Management Review, 17(8), 1165-1189. doi:10.1080/14719037.2014.895031

Week Seven - Ethical Considerations and Organizational Culture

Kim, Y. J., & Kim, E. S. (2016). Exploring the interrelationship between public service motivation and corruption theories. Evidence - Based HRM, 4(2), 181 -186.

Lee, L. M. (2012). Public health ethics theory: Review and path to convergence. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 40(1), 85-98. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2012.00648.x

Maesschalck, J. (2004). The impact of new public management reforms on public servants’ ethics: Towards a theory. Public Administration, 82(2), 465-489. doi:10.1111/j.0033-3298.2004.00403.x

Melton, E. K. (2014). The consequences of conflict: An evaluation of racial disparity and organizational performance. Public Organization Review, 14(3), 267-284. doi:10.1007/s11115-013-0219-x

Richardson, L., Almansa-Sánchez, J., Sociologiska institutionen, Umeå universitet, & Samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten. (2015). Do you even know what public archaeology is? trends, theory, practice, ethics. World Archaeology, 47(2), 194-211. doi:10.1080/00438243.2015.1017599

Week Eight - Paradigms in Public Policy and Public Administration

Abel, C. F. (2014). Toward a theory of social justice for public administration: How public administration might be informed by catholic social theory. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 36(4), 466-488. doi:10.2753/ATP1084-1806360402

Anderson, J. (2014). An open letter to "dirty hands" theorists from a public manager. Public Integrity, 16(3), 305-316. doi:10.2753/PIN1099-9922160305

Flink, C. M. (2017). Rethinking punctuated equilibrium theory: A public administration approach to budgetary changes. Policy Studies Journal, 45(1), 101-120. doi:10.1111/psj.12114

French, P. E., Spears, R. A., & Stanley, R. E. (2005). the fifth paradigm of public administration? public organizational theory as a possible solution to the perennial big questions of public administration. International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior, 8(2), 133 – 154.

Lu, J. (2013). Intellectual Paradigms in Public Administration. Administrative Theory & Praxis (M.E. Sharpe), 35(2), 308-313. doi:10.2753/ATP1084-1806350208

Lynn,Laurence E.,,Jr. (2001). The myth of the bureaucratic paradigm: What traditional public administration really stood for. Public Administration Review, 61(2), 144-160. Retrieved from

Rommel, J., & Christiaens, J. (2006). BEYOND THE PARADIGM CLASHES IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 28(4), 610-617. Retrieved from

Rommel, J., & Christiaens, J. (2007). AUTHORS' REPLY-PARADIGM CLASHES IN PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION: A FURTHER DISCUSSION. Administrative Theory & Praxis, 29(2), 328-332. Retrieved from

Web Sites

The APUS library offers a fabulous resource, the Library Course Guide! You can find the Guide

Please explore all the tabs. The Articles Tab contains many of the Public Administration Journal links and the web resources are extensive. The eReserves contain links to the article readings in the syllabus.

Book Title:Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.