PSPA 500:  Scope and Dynamics of Public Administration

Fall 2005


Professor:                   Curt Wood

Class Times:              Wednesday, 6:30-9:15 PM at Naperville Campus

Office Hours:             Thursday, 10-11:30 AM and by appointment

Office Room No.      213 IASBO Building


Office Phone:             (815) 753-6144



Course Objectives and Description

The purpose of the Scope and Dynamics of Public Administration is to advance the understanding and appreciation of the history, study, and practice of the scope and dynamics of public administration. As such, the emphasis will be on relating the theories and history of public administration with current practice through lectures, readings, student presentations, written assignments, case studies, and role-playing.            


Teaching Philosophy

It is my goal to train graduate students to think critically about the major theories of public administration and to link theory with practice using critical analysis. I will challenge students to think actively by taking responsibility for and becoming involved in their own learning inside and outside the classroom.


Required Texts


Jerome B. McKinney and Lawrence C. Howard: Public Administration: Balancing Power and Accountability, 2nd Edition. 1998. Praeger.


Jay M. Shafritz, Albert C. Hyde, and Sandra J. Parkes: Classics of Public Administration, 5th Edition. 2004. Thomson Wadsworth.


Supplemental Readings:


In addition, there is a packet of readings and case studies that are on reserve at the NIU Library on the Naperville campus or at the DeKalb campus that all students are required to use for this course.


Mid-term and the Final Examination

There will be an in class mid-term and a comprehensive take home final exam. The mid-term and final exam will consist of a long-answer essay question and five short-answer essay questions. The essay questions will challenge the student to integrate theory with practice. The midterm will cover the material from the first half of the course and the final exam will cover the material from the entire semester. If a student writes out the mid-term, a blue book is required. Handwriting must be legible to be accepted by the professor. Students may use a lap top computer for the mid-term. If a student uses a lap top, a CD or diskette containing the student’s answers must be turned into the professor at the end of class on the mid-term day.  The take home final exam is due on or before the designated time and day of the final exam for the course. Students may submit the final exam at the MPA office on the DeKalb campus or to the professor in the classroom at the Naperville campus on the designated day and time of the final exam. No electronic final exams will be accepted. The maximum length of the final exam is 8 typed pages, with one-inch margins, double-spaced, and 12 point. Make-up or late exams will only be permitted in the case of extreme emergencies. In order to be eligible to make up a test or submit a late exam, the student must notify Professor Wood prior to the test that he/she will not be able to take the test at the appointed time. An unexcused absence from an exam will receive a score of zero.


Case Studies

All students are required to submit typed answers to the questions for the eight (8) case studies listed in the course syllabus. Answers should be thoughtful, thorough, but also concise. Students should also use any theories or concepts learned from the readings and professional experience to defend or justify the answers. The idea is to integrate theory and practice. Answers should approximately two (2) typed pages, using one-inch margins, and double-spaced, with 12 point. Grades will be based on the quality of the content and writing.


Papers and Presentations of Papers

Students will select three (3) class themes (see the weekly topic schedule) and write three reaction papers to the assigned readings for each theme. Students should briefly describe, analyze, and evaluate the major theories, concepts, or ideas in the readings, and relate these major theories, concepts, or ideas to one’s professional experience. The idea is to integrate theory with practice. Each paper should be approximately four (4) pages, double spaced, one-inch margins, and 12 point. In addition, each student will be required to orally present his or her reaction paper to the class on the due date. Presentations should be approximately five (5) minutes with another five (5) minutes of questions from the class. Grades will be based on the quality of the content, writing, and the presentation. During the first four (4) weeks of class, the professor will provide a sign-up sheet so students can choose their three topics (See topic schedule below). A maximum of five (5) students will be allowed to sign up for each topic. The schedule of topics will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis.

In addition, doctoral students of Public Administration will be required to submit a book review and critique of H. George Frederickson and Kevin Smith’s book titled A Primer of Public Administration: Theories of Public Administration or Bob and Kathy Denhardt’s book titled The New Public Service. Book reviews should not exceed five (5) pages. In addition, each doctoral student will be expected to present their book review and critique at the November 30 class. The presentation shall last no longer than 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of class questions and discussion. Grades will be based on the quality of the content, writing, and the presentation.


Class Participation and Attendance

Attending class is a prerequisite for participation. Each student is expected to fully participate in class discussion and is encouraged to ask questions during class. In order to meaningfully participate, each student must be prepared for class.  Each student is expected to have read the material prior to coming to class.


Basis for Calculating Course Grade

Letter grades will be based on the standard 100 percent scale (e.g. 90% – 100% = A, 80% – 89% = B, 70% - 79% = C, etc.).  The following components are the criteria for calculating the course grade.

Papers (3) and Presentations (3)                    25%

Mid-term exam                                            15%

Final exam                                                    25%

Case studies (8)                                            25%

Participation/Attendance                                  10%




Week 1 (Aug 24): Introduction                           

Student and professor introductions.

Go over syllabus.

Hand out “Topic Sign-up Sheet ” to be completed by students in class

Complete calling tree


Week 2 (August 31): The Role of Public Administration in a Democracy

            McKinney and Howard: Chapter 2

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: Woodrow Wilson (1887), Frank Goodnow (1900),              Leonard White (1926), and Waldo (1948)

            H. George Frederickson and Kevin Smith: “ Theories of Political Control of             Bureaucracy” in Public Administration Theory Primer (2003). Chapter 2, pages 15-42.             Westview Press (Found in packet).


            Hand out “Topic Sign-up Sheet” to be completed by students


            Case study #1 due: “Fire or Be Fired” by John L. Pape (Found in packet)


            Lecture and discuss assigned case study


            Student presentation of papers


Week 3 (September7): Balancing Power and Accountability

            McKinney and Howard: Chapter 18

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: Herbert Kaufman (1969) and

            David Rosenbloom (1983)


            Hand out “Topic Sign-up Sheet” to be completed by students




            Student presentation of papers


            Case study (in class): “Affordable Housing”


Week 4 (September 14): Ethics and Social Equity

            McKinney and Howard: Chapter 1, Chapter 7 (pages 171-174), and Chapter 13 (pages 334-342)

            ICMA Code of Ethics with Guidelines (Found in packet)

            Shafritz, Russell, and Parkes: H. George Frederickson (1971), Samuel Krislov (1974),             Dennis Thompson (1985), and R. Roosevelt Thomas, Jr. (1990)


            Case Study # 2 due: “Public Scrutiny and Accountability: An Ethical Dilemma in State             Administration” by Geralyn M. Miller  (Found in packet) or “Cultural Diversity and             Social Justice: Racial Profiling in a Police Department” by James D. Ward  (Found in             packet).


            Hand out “Topic Sign-up Sheet ” to be completed by students (final opportunity for             students to sign up for their three (3) papers and presentations).




            Student presentation of papers


            Six (6) in-class ethics case studies (Found in packet)


Week 5 (September 21): Organizational Theory I (classical theories)

            McKinney and Howard: Chapters 7 (pages 135-157) and Chapter 9

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: Frederick Taylor (1912), Max Weber (1922), and Luther Gulick             (1937)




            Student presentation of papers


            Case study (in class): “Developing a New Policy: A Police Department Responds to             Street Gangs” by Mike Carlie (Found in packet)


Week 6 (September 28): Organizational Theory II (organic theories) and Leadership

            McKinney and Howard: Chapter 7 (pages 157-186) and Chapter 11

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: Chester Barnard (1938), Herbert Simon (1946)

            Mary Parker Follett (1926), A.H. Maslow (1943), and Douglas Murray McGregor             (1957)


            Case Study # 3 due: “Cherry County Blues: A Problem of Low Morale and High             Turnover” by Jeffrey S. Ashley and Kimberly Bejcek (Found in packet)        




            Student presentation of papers


            Discuss assigned case study


Week 7 (October 5): Public Policy and Decision Making

            McKinney and Howard: Chapters 5 and 10

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: Charles Lindblom (1959), Jeffrey Pressman and Aaron             Wildavsky (1973), John Kingdon (1995), Michael Lipsky (1980), and Deborah Stone             (1997)


H. George Frederickson and Kevin Smith: “ Theories of Bureaucratic Politics” in Public Administration Theory Primer (2003). Chapter 3 pages 41-66, Westview Press (Found in packet).


            Case study # 4 due: “Restoring Mystic Lake: Program Choices When Science is             Ambiguous”     by R. Edward Bradford and Dwight C. Kiel




            Student presentation of papers


            In class case study: “The Administrator as Policy Adviser” (Found in packet)


Week 8 (October 12): Mid-term in class


Week 9 (October 19): Government Reform and the New Public Management (NPM)

            McKinney and Howard: Chapters 3 and 4

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes:Graham Allison (1980), Paul Appleby (1945), Ronald Moe     (1987), Christopher Hood (1990), The National Performance Review (1993)


            Case study # 5 due: “To Privatize of Not to Privatize? A City Prepares to Contract Out             Services” by Robert P. Watson (Found in packet)




            Student presentation of papers


            Discuss assigned case study


Week 10 (October 26): Strategic Planning and Performance Measurement

            McKinney and Howard: Chapter 8 and 15

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: Alice Rivlin (1971)


            Case Study # 6 due: “Strategic Planning and Performance Measurement: Setting Goals             and Tracking Achievement in the City of Glenville” by Donald P. Moynihan (Found in             packet)




            Presentation of student papers


            Discuss three (3) in class performance case studies (Found in packet)


Week 11 (November 2): Public (Community) Relations

            McKinney and Howard: Chapters 6 and 12

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: Theodore Lowi (1969) and Philip Selznick (1949)

            Janet and Robert Denhardt: “Chapter 10” in The New Public Service: Serving, not             Steering, 2003. M.S. Sharpe, pages 169-175 (Found in packet)


            Case study # 7 due: Resolving the Conflict Between the “Public Interest” and             Neighborhood Interests” (Found in packet)




            Presentation of student papers


            Discuss assigned case study


Week 12 (November 9): Intergovernmental Relations

            McKinney and Howard: Chapters 16 and 17

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: Morton Grodzins (1966) and Deil Wright (1990)

            David Nice: “The Intergovernmental Setting of State-Local Relations” Chapter 2 in             Governing Partners by R. Hanson, pages 17-36 (Found in packet)




            Presentation of student papers


            Case study in class: “Dealing with Bureaucracy and Intergovernmental Relations: The      EPA and Hazardous Waste” by Lisa Nelson (Found in packet)


Week 13 (Nov. 16): Financial Management

            McKinney and Howard: Chapter 14

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: V.O. Key (1940), Naomi Caiden (1981)

            Curtis Wood: “Toward a Theory of Public Budgeting?” (Found in the packet)

            Curtis Wood: “The Public Choice and Public Finance Approach to Fiscal             Federalism”


            Case study # 8 due: “Coping with Revenue Shortfalls: The Experience of a Rural             Southern County” by Alex Sekwat




            Presentation of student papers


            Discuss assigned case study


Week 14 (November 23):  No Class due to Thanksgiving break.


Week 15 (November 30): Human Resources

            McKinney and Howard: Chapter 13

            Shafritz, Hyde, and Parkes: Frederick Mosher (1982)




            Doctoral student book review and presentations due.


            Final presentation of student papers


            Hand out final exam


            In-class simulation of collective bargaining


Professor Wood reserves the right to make changes to the above schedule


Final Examination Due: To be announced. Finals are December 6-11. The take home final exam is due no later than the designated time of the final exam.


Academic Misconduct

Academic misconduct is defined in the Student Judicial Code as the receipt or transmission of unauthorized aid on assignments or examinations, plagiarism, the unauthorized use of examination materials, or other forms of dishonesty. The professor is authorized by NIU to levy a sanction not greater than an F for the course. Whenever referencing material from the texts, supplemental readings, or lectures, students should include appropriate citations to avoid problems of plagiarism.  Students are guilty of plagiarism, intentional or not, if they copy material from books, journals, or other sources without identifying and acknowledging those sources or if they paraphrase ideas from such sources without acknowledging them  (NIU Undergraduate Catalog). 


Statement Concerning Students with Disabilities

Under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, NIU is committed to making reasonable accommodations for persons with documented disabilities. Those students with disabilities that may have some impact on their coursework and for which they may require accommodations should notify the Center for Access-Ability Resources (CAAR) on the fourth floor of the Health Services Building. CAAR will assist students in making appropriate accommodations with course instructors. It is important that the student inform CAAR and Professor Wood during the first two weeks of the semester of any disability-related needs.



The Writing Center provides writing assistance for all undergraduate and graduate students. The Center is located in Stevenson Towers South, Lower Level. For more information call 753-6636.



Please turn your cell phones off before coming to class. Cell phones may not be used in class, nor is it acceptable to read newspapers or bring persons not enrolled in the course to class.