Dr.James Thurmond

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PUBL 6310 Administrative Theory

Introduction

Administrative theory establishes the theory base for the field of public administration by introducing students to a comprehensive set of historical and current theories, concepts, and approaches in public administration. This is vital to public administrators, because they must achieve results through the management of people and organizations.

The course will focus on theory in readings, and it will incorporate the application of theory in class discussions about current events and class papers. In the end, students should have a greater understanding of administrative theory and be able to apply it to the practice of public administration

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand core descriptive, normative, and predictive theories of administrative structure, systems, and processes so that you see public organizations from a theoretically informed point of view. You also understand that there is not one organization theory, but several which may be applicable to an organization depending on your perspective.
  • Have a greater understanding and awareness of the nature, scope, and history of public administration and the variety of academic disciplines that have contributed to the theories and the practices. You should be able (1) to describe the development of public administration; (2) to compare the major organizational theories; and (3) to have a working knowledge of the dimensions of public management.
  • Have the analytical ability to see, understand, and appreciate theories, issues, and problems from more than one theoretical perspective. You should be able to engage in the process of careful, rigorous and systematic thinking at both abstract (theoretical) and concrete (practical) levels.
  • Have the ability to analyze public organizations to improve effectiveness. This means thinking theoretically to use and inter-relate concepts through generalization. It also means thinking practically to sort out critical elements or facts in a complex situation.
  • Prepare you for a career of public administration by linking the content of the course, both theory and practice, with your own experiences.

Requirements for the Course

  • Read the assignments and carefully prepare for each class.
  • Regularly participate in seminar discussions based upon the readings and your experience.
  • Turn in graduate-level quality papers on time using Turnitin. Late papers will be dropped one letter grade.
    • Short Papers1 – Over the course of the next 13 sessions write four SHORT papers (1-2 pages) to address what the theory has to do with the so-called “real world.” The subject for these short papers is “How do the ideas presented in the readings help me to understand a specific organization that I am writing about?” For example, when the weekly topic is the classical bureaucratic model, you can describe how this model explains what is happening in your organization of interest. If you do not think that a reading is helpful in understanding your organization that is fine, but be able to explain why. These short papers are not summaries of the readings. Submit one paper per week. Do not wait until the last week to submit all four papers. Suggestion: Start early and get the four papers done.
    • Discussion leader – Facilitate class discussion of a selected reading. Address such questions as what the author is trying to show; the methodology; whether or not the author is successful; and how the author’s finding or position relates to the classroom and to practice. Demonstrate your presentation skills by providing an overview of the reading.
    • Final exam will be a multiple essay question take-home paper at the end of semester.
  • Refer to Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (APA Manual) for guidance on paper formats. (Web site)

Grading

  • Class participation and attendance 10%
  • Papers 40%
  • Discussion Leader 20%
  • Final 30%

Statement of Academic Dishonesty

Presenting the words or works of others as your own is plagiarism, is dishonest, and is a violation of the University Policy on Academic Honesty. If you are not certain of what is permissible, you should contact the professor prior to submitting the assignment and/or check the UH webpage www.uh.edu/provost/policies/uhhonesty_policy.html l . A student found in violation of academic honesty may be subject to a failing grade, suspension, or dismissal from the university.

Required Textbooks

  • Gormley, William T. Jr. and Steven J. Balla. (2008). Bureaucracy and Democracy: Accountability and Performance. Washington D.C.: CQ Press
  • Rainey, Hal G. (2003). Understanding and Managing Public Organizations. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers
  • Scott, Richard W. and Gerald F. Davis (2007). Organizations and Organizing – Rational, Natural, and Open System Perspectives. New Jersey: Prentice Hall.

Outline and Assignments

August 24: Introduction – Theories, Practice, and Overview of the Course

  • Outline and Assignments
  • The basics – democratic theory, public service motivation, policy, and theory.
  • Public – private (Rainey, 184 – 185 and 417 – 423)
  • Integration of management and organizational theory – see Rainey (2003) xiii
  • Frederickson, H. George (2000) Can Bureaucracy Be Beautiful? Public Administration Review, 60, 1, 47-53.
  • Jones, Wayne (Sept. 2007) Public Administration Dead? A Long and a Short Answer. PA Times, 19.
  • Fukuyama, Francis. 2004. Why there is no science of public administration. Journal of International Affairs. Vol. 58, 1, 189-201.
  • Problem-solving approaches

Aug. 31: Organization Theory - history, context, and public administration

  • Rainey (2003), Chapters 1 – 5.
    1. The Challenge of Effective Public Organization and Management, 3 – 21.
    2. Understanding the Study of Organizations: A Historical Review, 22 – 54.
    3. What Makes Public Organizations Distinctive, 55 – 78.
    4. Analyzing the Environment of Public Organizations, 79 – 98
    5. The Impact of Political Power and Public Policy, 99 – 123.
  • Shafritz, Jay M., J. Steven Ott, and Yong Suk Jang. (2005). Classics of Organization Theory. Introduction 1-9 and Classical Organization Theory, 27 – 34. California: Thomson Wadsworth.

 

September 7: Labor Day Holiday

 

September 14: Organization Theory – rational, natural, and open perspectives

  • Scott and Davis (2007), Chapters 1 - 5.
    1. The Subject is Organization; The Verb is Organizing, 3-34.
    2. Organizations as Rational Systems, 35 - 58.
    3. Organizations as Natural Systems, 59 - 86.
    4. Organizations as Open Systems, 87 - 106.
    5. Combining the Perspectives, 107 - 123.
  • Bovens, Mark. (2006, September). Street-Level Resilience. Book review in Public Administration Review, 66, 5, 780-781.

 

September 21: Sample of Organization Theory – various approaches

  • Scott and Davis (2007). Chapters 6, 7, 9, and 10.
    • 6 Technology and Structure, 124 – 150.
    • 7 Labor and Structure, 151 – 158.
    • 9 The Dyadic Environment of the Organization, 220 – 244.
    • 10 Organization of the Environment, 245 - 277.
  • Shafritz, et al. (2005).
    • 3 Human Resource Theory, or the Organizational Behavior Perspective, 145 – 151.
    • McGregor, The Human Side of Enterprise, 179 – 184.
  • Perrow (1986) Control Graph Theory, 111-114.

 

September 28: Sample of Organization Theory – complex organizations

  • Speaker: Brandon E. Wade, PE, Deputy City Manager, Galveston, TX – The nature of a city organization and how it functions during normal times, how it functions during emergency responses, and then during disaster recovery.
  • Perrow (1986).
    • 1 Why Bureaucracy?, 1 – 48.
    • 4 The Neo-Weberian Model: Decisionmaking, 119 – 131 (in decision-making document).
  • Yarwood, Dean. (1996, November). Stop Bashing the Bureaucracy. Public Administration Review, 56, 6, 611-612.

 

October 5: Sample of Organization Theory

  • Perrow (1986).
    • 7 Economic Theories of Organization, 219 - 254.
  • Shafritz (2005).
    • 4 “Modern” Structural Organization Theory, 193 -197.
    • Mintzberg, 219 – 230.
  • Shafritz, et al. (2005).
    • Introduction, 1 – 7.
    • 2 Neoclassical Organization Theory, 88 – 92
    • Simon, The Proverbs of Administration, 112 – 124.

 

October 12: Sample of Organization Theory and Management – key dimensions

  • O’Toole, Laurence J. and Kenneth J. Meier (1999) Modeling the Impact of Public Management: Implications of Structural Context. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 9, 4, 505-526.
  • Shafritz (2005).
    • 6 Power and Politics Organization Theory, 283 – 288
    • 7 Organizational Culture Theory, 352 - 357.
    • Trice and Beyer, 383 – 392.
  • Rainey (2003), Parts II Key Dimensions of Organizing and Managing
    • 6 Organizational Goals and Effectiveness, 127 – 150.
    • 7 Formulating and Achieving Purpose, 151 – 179.

 

October 19: Management – key dimensions of managing organizations (continued)

  • Rainey (2003), Parts II Key Dimensions of Organizing and Managing
    • 8 Organizational Structure, design, technology, and information technology, 180 – 218.
    • 9 Understudying People in Public Organizations: Values and Motives, 219 – 247.
    • 10 Understanding People in Public Organization: Theories of Work Motivation and Work-Related Attitudes, 248 – 288.
    • 11 Leadership, Managerial Roles, and Organizational Culture, 289 – 331.

 

October 26: Management – key dimensions (continued) and Strategies for Managing

  • Rainey (2003). Part II Key dimensions (continued)
    • 12 Teamwork: Understanding Communication and Conflict in and Among Groups, 332 – 352.
  • Perrow (1986) Leadership, 88-96.
  • Perrow (1986) Conflict, 131-140.
  • Rainey (2003). Part III Strategies for Managing and Improving Public Organizations
    • 13 Managing Organizational Change and Development, 355 – 389.
    • 14 Advancing Effective management in the Public Sector, 390 – 424.
  • Scott, Patrick G. (1997) Assessing Determinants of Bureaucratic Discretion: An Experiment in Street-Level Decision Making. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 7, 1, 35-57.
  • Buijs, Jean-Marie (2009) Understanding the connective capacity of program management in complex governance processes from a self-organization perspective. Paper for ASPA Annual Conference 2009 Miami.

 

November 2: Management -- ideologies, power, control, and professionalism

  • Scott and David (2007).
    • 8 Goals, Power, and Control, 183-218.
  • Shafritz, et al. (2005).
    • Kanter, Power Failure in Management Circuits, 342 – 351.
    • Janis Groupthink: The Desperate Drive for Consensus at Any Cost, 185 - 192.
  • Rainey (2003), professionalism, 279 – 282.
  • Kettl, Donald F. (2006, November) Privatization for the New Century. PA Times, p. 16.
  • Walters, Jonathan. (2005, July). Management – Open Season on Middle Managers. Governing.
  • Herman, Robert D. (2009) Are Public Service Nonprofits Boards Meeting Their Responsibilities, Public Administration Review, 69, 3, 387-390.

 

November 9: Bureaucratic Processes – accountability and performance

  • Gormley and Balla. (2008). Bureaucracy and Democracy
  • Frederickson, H. George (2007, June). Public Management and the Invisible Hand. PA Times.
  • Frederickson (2007, October) Iraq, Blackwater and the Advent of Third Party Defense. PA Times, p. 11.

 

November 16: Bureaucratic Processes -- networks

  • Speaker: Michelle Cruz Arnold, Ph.D., Vice-President, Public Policy, Greater Houston Partnership – Networking for Economic Development.
  • Perrow, Charles (1986) The Networks, Complex Organizations: A Critical Essay, 178-218.
  • Scott and Davis (2007)
    • 11 Networks In and Around Organizations, 278 – 309.
  • Huxham, Chris (2003) Theorizing Collaboration Practice. Public Management Review, 5, 3, 401-423.

 

November 23: Bureaucratic Processes -- networks

  • Kettl, Donald F. (2006) Managing Boundaries in American Administration: The Collaboration Imperative. Public Administration Review. Supplement to 66, 10-19.
  • Agranoff, Robert and Michael McGuire. (1998). A Jurisdiction-Based Model of Intergovernmental Management in U.S. Cities. Publius: The Journal of Federalism, 28, 4, 1-20.
  • Thomson, Ann Marie and James L. Perry (2006) Collaboration Processes: Inside the Black Box. Public Administration Review. Supplement to 66, 20-32.
  • Agranoff, Robert (2006) Inside Collaborative Networks: The Lessons for Public Managers. Public Administration Review. Supplement to 66, 56-65.
  • Frederickson (2007, February). When Accountability Meets Collaboration. PA Times.

 

November 30: Pathologies, effectiveness, and wrap-up

  • Scott and Davis (2007)
    • Organizational Pathologies –3-5, 173 – 181, and 194 - 196.
    • Organizational Performance, 326 - 339.