PPA 240 Syllabus
Public Management
California State University, Sacramento

Professor Robert Waste

FALL, 1999


Course Description

Course Objectives

Seminar Format


Web Resources


Reading Materials

Other Materials

Course Outline


Thursdays: 6:00 - 8:50 pm

Dr. Robert Waste

Mendocino Hall 1024

278-4944; wasterj@csus.edu

Office Hours: Thurs 9-12 & 1-3 & 5-6

Office: Tahoe Hall, 3036

Course Description

The purpose of this course is to teach students about public organizations and the challenges facing contemporary public managers. We will learn about the evolution of the field of public administration, the way that public organizations differ from private organizations, how the "reinventing government" movement has affected public management and spawned counter-movements, and how public managers interact with other actors and institutions in the political process. There will be a specific focus on state and local government in California.

Note: This course contains several web-based class assignments. It is imperative that each student have daily access to a computer with an Internet connection. This can be accomplished through existing home or work accounts, or by registering for a SacLink account at the CSUS Computer Center (Science 322; phone: 278-7337). If students do not have access to a computer at home or at work, there are several open computer labs on campus that can be used, including one that is open 24-hours. These accounts must be established and usable by September 9 in order to participate fully in class assignments. Students without home or office use of basic Internet access and e-mail will need a SacLink account.

Course Objectives

There are three primary objectives:

There is one additional course objective: we are experimenting with some use of the web during this course. The objective is to familiarize students with forms of electronic communication that will be increasingly important to the workplace and to take advantage of the educational value of these tools.

Seminar Format

This is not a lecture class. If you come expecting to be told what was covered in the readings, you will be disappointed. My job is to select interesting and useful readings, orient you to them by identifying key questions, and guide the discussion. Your job is to read the material, think about it, and come prepared to share your ideas with your classmates. We have the tremendous advantage that many of you, like me, work in the public sector. In our class discussions we will relate, whenever possible, the theories and concepts from the readings to our workday experiences. Those of you who work in public or public-benefit organizations will have the opportunity to construct your assignments around issues of importance to you in your work, culminating in a case study. Those students who are not working in an organization, and who are not sufficiently familiar with an organization, will adopt CSUS or the Sacramento County Department of Human Assistance (DHA) as their organization. I will help students understand the application of course concepts to CSUS and to DHA.

I will use a variety of learning strategies to try to keep the course interesting for everyone. Most often we will have class discussions oriented toward issues that you have identified as interesting or important. We will also have group projects, student-led discussions, Internet projects, and mediated interaction using the World Wide Web. We will have three class "sessions" for which we will use the World Wide Web instead of meeting on campus. This is intended as a convenience measure for students as well as an opportunity to learn how new technologies can contribute to learning.



The following assignments are due on the dates indicated.


Due Date
Every week, beginning week 2, students are required to email me a question that relates to the assigned reading for the week. See assignment detail for more information. When assigned (about 4-5 times during the semester), students will be asked to raise their issue to the class and lead a brief class discussion. by noon on the day of class
Four short papers are required (2-4 pages, double spaced) on weekly reading topics. Students may choose which weeks they want to write these papers, but they are due in class and must address the assigned readings for the week. See assignment detail for more information. at class for the four weeks of your choice
Group Project: in groups of four, students will work electronically to critique strategic plans from a variety of organizations. Each student in each group will be required to prepare & present a verbal presentation on an aspect of one or all of the strategic plans using a Powerpoint computer presentation software format and a 3 point "sign-posting" verbal presentation empasizing the Aristotleian communication principles of ethos and logos.. See assignment detail for more information. November 18 & Dec. 2
Final Paper: A paper of 12-15 pages that is either a case study of an organization's progress in addressing contemporary challenges of public management or a conceptual review and analysis of public management challenges. See assignment detail for more information. December 16 by 6pm
Web Resources Review: Review web resources listed in Resources section of course overview. See assignment detail for more information Submit with final paper

E-mail Questions - Weekly e-mail questions on readings
and occasional class discussion questions
Due Date: 12:00 noon on the day of class. E-mail to wasterj@csus.edu DO NOT USE LISTSERV FOR WEEKLY E-MAIL QUESTIONS.

Description of the assignment: After reading all material for the week, send me an e-mail, by noon Wednesday, with a question on something the material made you think about. About 4-5 times during the semester, each student will be assigned in advance to raise their issue to the class and lead a short discussion. I do not expect you to have answers or to have done any additional research on those weeks. I do expect you to have thought about why the issue is important and how one might go about getting answers. Examples: How does the concept of "customer" apply to regulatory agencies? Is satisfying customers the same as achieving the public interest?

Goals and objectives: To ensure that you read and think about the material and to help me direct the class discussion to topics that you have found interesting.


Short Papers -- Four papers on weekly readings (2-4 pages, double-spaced)
Due Date: Any four class sessions--at the start of class

Description of the assignment: You may pick the four weeks according to your interest in the topic or your schedule, but don't leave them all for the end! I have included sample questions under the reading assignment for each week. You may address any of these questions or another topic that the readings raise in your mind. The paper is NOT to be a summary of the readings. It is to be an analysis, or a personal reaction to the readings, e.g. do you agree? do the authors over-simplify? does this concept apply to a variety of situations? have you observed these concepts in your organization? The paper does not have to include formal citations from readings. It does need to be well-organized, well-written, proof-read.

Goals and objectives: The purpose of the papers is to get you to apply the concepts in the readings to the organization that will be your focus over the course of the semester. The papers should help you be well along toward thinking about and writing the final paper by the latter part of the semester. I also want to make sure that a sub-group of students (those who have chosen to write a paper in a given week) is really prepared to contribute to class discussion. So, on the week that you turn in a paper, please be prepared to talk about the readings, even more than you usually may!


Group Project
Due Date:
Week 12 (November 18)

Description of the assignment: In groups of three, students will examine a set of public agency strategic plans that are posted on the web, and strategic plans for their own organizations, if available. Using the telephone and/or email, students will collectively decide on four strategic plans to review. With respect to those four, the group will develop a critique of the plans, indicating: (1) what are the relative strengths and weaknesses of the plans; (2) how well the plans incorporate performance measures for outcomes; (3) whether and how the plans position the organization to change; and (4) any other comments the group wishes to add. All students are to read all four strategic plans. The group will turn in a short paper (3-5 pages) containing their collective response to the questions posed. The paper can be hard copy or electronic.

Groups may choose from the following strategic plans, and may include any other plans on the web of which they are aware:

1. United States Geologic Survey
US Environmental Protection Agency
US Department of Education
Bureau of Indian Affairs
California Air Resources Board
California Energy Commission
California Department of Finance
California State Personnel Board, Personnel, Resources, and Innovations Division
9. State of Maryland Human Services Department

Goals and objectives: I want students to gain the benefits of working in groups, which is known to enhance student learning. I also want all of us to experience the new technologies that promote collaboration in ways other than face-to-face. Think of this as an alternative to finding a time during which all four of your group members could drive to campus and meet. The specific assignment is an opportunity to work with some of the concepts on organizational change, accountability, and performance measurement.


Final Paper--12-15 pages, double-spaced
Due Date:
Finals Week, on day of class (Dec. 16th) at 6pm

Description of the assignment: You may choose either of two topics for your final paper.

With reference to your organization, or another organization, write a case study that describes how the organization and its leaders are dealing with contemporary issues of public management. This paper should build upon the four papers you wrote earlier in the class and should address issues such as leadership, accountability, reframing the citizen-government relationship, performance measurement, organizational culture, organizational change, reengineering, political management, ethics, defining and creating public value, etc. The number of issues addressed and the specific topics are your choice. The paper must, however, describe the organization's condition and performance in select areas with respect to the norms and expectations presented by authors we have read. It should be a fairly comprehensive (rather than narrowly focused on one issue) assessment of how the organization is doing in meeting today's challenges.

The reform of government has received considerable attention in the 1990s. With reference to a broad spectrum of the course readings, please write a 12-15 page, double spaced paper that addresses the following topics:

· why interest in reform is high at this time
· how contemporary reform movements compare to one another and to traditional approaches to public management
· what you see as some of the most important developments in contemporary public management theory
· identify what you think are two or three of the most important challenges facing contemporary public managers (e.g. accountability, developing performance measures, transforming organizational culture, restructuring organizations, managing within the political environment, promoting organizational learning, improving customer service, recruiting and rewarding effective staff and/or leaders, dealing with ethical issues, obtaining resources, or others you identify) and support your choices
· for the specific items you identified, describe what you think are the prospects for reform in these key areas, the major obstacles to success, and the tools that public managers have to successfully meet these challenges

Attributes of successful papers (for either topic):

1. Clear statement of your paper topic--good introductory paragraph

2. Substantive discussion of the challenges of public management that demonstrates a solid understanding of a broad spectrum of course readings

3. Evidence of integrative thinking, e.g. that you have considered readings in light of one another

4. Willingness to analyze various authors' viewpoints, take a position, and support it, rather than summarizing various viewpoints

5. Well-organized presentation, with logical progression of ideas, clear headings, and conclusion that relates back to the introduction

6. Clear, concise, grammatically correct writing style, without typographical errors

7. Conform to the requirements of 12-15 double-spaced pages, font no larger than 12-point, normal margins (about 1 inch).

8. Formal citations and bibliography are not required unless you are using material from outside of course readings (not necessary).

Goals and objectives: To engage in integrative thinking about a broad range of topics covered in class and in the readings and to come to some personal understanding of how they might apply either to a real-world situation or simply in theory. Further, to demonstrate your ability to write a thoughtful and coherent paper. If you write on your own organization, the paper should give you greater insight into your work environment.


Web-site Resources -- Written review of five sites
Due Date:
With Final Paper

Description of the assignment: Over the course of the semester, review some of the web sites listed in the Resources section of the course overview. Write up a review of five of the sites, indicating whether and how they could be useful to you in school, work, or just for general interest. The written product should be about 2-3 pages and can be e-mailed or electronically submitted.

Goals and objectives: To introduce students to the variety of web resources available in the field of public administration and public management, and to get students thinking about how to use information to help with their own interests.




Class attendance and participation (including weekly
e-mail questions)

I consider enrolling in this class a commitment to me and to your student colleagues to attend the class. We all benefit from everyone's contributions. It is not okay to miss class for any but the most unavoidable of reasons. Excessive absences jeopardizes successful completion of the course. In addition to "seat time", the quality of your participation in class discussions will be reflected in your grade. For the three class sessions conducted via the web, electronic communications will count as class participation

Class discussion questions 10%
Four short papers 30%
Group project 15%
Internet Resources Review 5%
Final Paper 25%

Papers and group assignments will be graded according to the following standards: 

A Outstanding achievement: clear purpose, thorough understanding of relevant material, original points well -supported with evidence or persuasive argument, well-organized, well-written, few or no typographical errors.
B Good performance: topic and purpose is well-stated, points well-supported, well-organized, well-written, few or no typographical errors.
C Many aspects of assignment covered, but lacking originality, clarity, thoroughness, persuasiveness, or writing quality.
D Missed the point or the assignment in either form or substance.

Reading Materials

Required Texts:

David Osborne and Ted Gaebler, Reinventing Government, 1992, Plume.

Mark Moore, Creating Public Value: Strategic Management in Government, 1995, Harvard University Press.

Lisbeth Schorr, Common Purpose, 1997, Doubleday.

Gareth Morgan, Images of Organization, 1997, Sage Publications.

"Readings in Public Management" - set of readings for purchase from Bookstore

Other Materials

Each student needs an e-mail account and Internet access.


Course Outline, Readings, and Assignment Schedule

Part I

Governance: Government and Citizens in a Democratic Society

Week 1: Sept 2 Introduction and course objectives

Recommended Reading: Stephen R. Covey, SEVEN HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE.

Week 2: Sept 9 The reinventing government movement

Reading: David Osborne & Ted Gaebler, REINVENTING GOVERNMENT (1993).

Week 3: Sept 16 Bureaucracy and democracy; critiques of reinvention

Reading: Robert Waste & Gregory Russell, "The Limits of Reinventing Government," AMERICAN REVIEW OF PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (1998) (On Reserve).

Peter Drucker, "Really Reinventing Government," ATLANTIC MONTHLY (Feb. 1995).

Gerasimos Gianakis & John Davis, "Reinventing or Repackaging Public Services: The Case of Community-Oriented Policing".

Gary Zajac and Ali Al-Kazemi, "Reinventing Government & Redefining Leadership".

Week 4: Sept 23 New directions for public management


Week 5: Sept 30 New directions for public management-continued: Applying private sector concepts to the public sector - What works & what doesn't? Web class period

Reading: W. Cahn Kim & Renee Mauborgne, "Creating New Market Space: A Systematic Approach to Value Innovation Can Help Companies Break Out of the Pack," HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW (Jan-Feb 1999).

Jim Collins, "Turning Goals into Results: The Power of Catalytic Meachnisms," HARVARD BUSINESS REVIEW (July-Aug. 1999).


Part II

Organizations: Arenas for Managing the Public Enterprise

Week 6: Oct 7 The meaning of organizations (part 1)

Reading: Gareth Morgan, IMAGES OF ORGANIZATION (Sage, 1997).

Week 7: Oct 14 The meaning of organizations (part 2)

Week 8: Oct 21 Organizational Change Web class period

Part III

Practice: Contemporary Challenges of Public Management

Week 9: Oct 28 Accountability

Week 10: Nov 4 Performance Measurement

Reading: David Ammons, "Overcoming the Inadequacies of Performance Measurement in Local Government: The Case of Libraries and Leisure Services".

Lisbeth Schorr, COMMON PURPOSE (Doubleday, 1997).

Week 11: Nov 11 Privatization, Reengineering, and TQM Web class period

Reading: Appa Rao Korunkonda, John Wilson & T. M. Rajkumar, "Beyond Teams & Empowerment: A Counterpoint to Two Common Precepts in TQM".

Robert Dilger, Randolph Moffett and Linda Struyk, "Privatization in America's Largest Cities".

Week 12: Nov 18 Leadership

Reading: Four Agency Strategic Plans - available on the Web - (See Group Project for Week 12, Explained Above).

Week 13: Nov 25 (Thanksgiving-no class)

Week 14: Dec 2 Civil Service and Personnel Management

Reading: 1999 Report of the California Little Hoover Commission (available on the Web). http://www.lhc.ca.gov/lhc.html

Week 15: Dec 9 Ethics; Wrapping Up

Reading: Jonathan Barnes, "Introduction to Aristotle's NICOMACHAEN ETHICS," pp. 9-43 (Penguin, 1978).

Mongomery Van Wart, "The Sources of Ethical Decision Making for Individuals in the Public Sector".

Mary Grisez Kweit & Robert Kweit, "Ethical Responsibility for Reinvented Bureaucrats: Working for Customer/Citizens".

Week 16: Final Papers Due Dec 16 by 6:00 p.m.


Web Resources

The list below contains interesting Web sites relating to the course and to the overall topic of public administration and public management.

Professional Associations:
American Society for Public Administration
Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management (APPAM)

Public Administration Review Abstracts
Public Administration and Management: an interactive journal
Public Administration Times Online

Public Management--General:
Center for Advanced Public Management
American Productivity and Quality Center
National Center for Public Productivity
Council for Excellence in Government
Brookings Center for Public Management

Innovation, Change, Leadership:
Innovations in American Government
Knowledge Management and Organizational Learning
The Learning Organizations Homepage
Center for Leadership and Change Management
Center for Creative Leadership

Reinventing Government:
The Reinventing Government Network
National Performance Review Home Page

Non-profit Organizations
Peter Drucker Foundation for Non-Profit Management
Center for Excellence in Nonprofits

Performance Measurement
Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Report
Managing for Results (National Partnership for Reinnventing Government)
ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance

Public Sector Continuous Improvement Site
Total Quality Management (TQM) Resources
Ethics and Public Administration

Library Resources: There are a variety of resources available on-line through the CSUS University Library:
CSUS Library Resources