POLS 331:  Public Administration


Spring 2004

Northern Illinois University


Instructor:                     Thomas Greitens

Class Meetings:            MWF  11:00-11:50

Classroom:                   DuSable Hall 246       

Office Hours:                MWF 8:00-11:00 or by appointment

Office:                          DuSable Hall 461 (Political Science Teaching Assistants Office)

Email:                           tgreiten@niu.edu

Phone:                          787-8897 (home)





This course provides an introduction to public administration in the United States.  During the semester we will review the historical development of public administration as a field of study as well as various theories examining the structure and effectiveness of public bureaucracies.  These theories attempt to answer questions such as:  what is the most effective organizational design for public bureaucracies, what are the motivating factors behind bureaucratic behavior, and what factors influence the decision-making process of bureaucrats.  In addition, we will examine many tenets of modern organizational life in public bureaucracies including:  the nature of public finance; the evolution and status of public personnel management; the need for effective management strategies to deal with non-profit organizations, the private sector, and other governmental units; and the importance of bureaucrats being effective organizational leaders that are knowledgeable of appropriate ethical guidelines.


This course has three objectives.  The first course objective is to prepare students considering future employment in:  1) local, state, or federal bureaucracies; 2) social agencies or non-profit organizations; and 3) private organizations interacting with the public sector.  With this course, students should be better prepared to understand and handle the challenges and realities confronting the public bureaucracy.  This objective will be completed throughout the semester but will be especially emphasized near the second half of the semester as we consider concepts such as public budgeting, public personnel management, administrative responsibility, and the privatization of public services.  To complete this objective, students will also write a “Book Review” on The Forest Ranger.       


The second course objective is to provide a thorough introduction to American public administration.  After this course, students should be able to engage in enlightened discourse on public administration and be able to critically analyze current events stories on the public sector with theories discussed in class.  This objective will be completed as we analyze the development and evolution of public bureaucracies throughout the semester.  Students will write a “Current Events Analysis Paper” to specifically realize this objective.   


The third course objective is to provide more information to students regarding the status of public administration as a discipline.  This objective will be achieved near the end of the semester and will include information on obtaining an MPA (Master of Public Administration) degree and what the discipline of public administration has to offer to the continued progression of enlightened inquiry and scientific thought. 





Henry, Nicholas.  (2004).  Public Administration & Public Affairs, 9th Edition.  Upper Saddle            River, NJ:  Pearson / Prentice Hall. 


Kaufman, Herbert.  (1960).  The Forest Ranger:  A Study in Administrative Behavior.              Washington, DC:  Resources for the Future. 





These article readings are on reserve at the library.  Many of the articles are also available online through the library’s access to article-first, ingenta, jstor, etc.  There are two sets of article readings.  The first set analyzes bureaucratic politics and is for the week of March 15.  The second set emphasizes the current direction of public administration theory and is for the week of April 19. 





·                    Exams (70% of final grade)

There will be a midterm and final exam.  Each exam will be worth 35% of the final class grade.  The midterm will be given on March 5 and the final will be given during finals week on May 5 (10:00 – 11:50).  The final exam is comprehensive but will mainly focus on concepts discussed in the last half of the course.  


·                    Book Review on The Forest Ranger (10% of final grade)

Students will complete a book review of The Forest Ranger that will be worth 10% of the final class grade.  The book review is due at the start of class on February 16.  The book review should have three sections and with the following format.  First, write a “Main Themes” section.  This section explains what you think are the major themes developed by the author.  Then, write an “Analysis” section that has your critical analysis of the book.  In the “Analysis” section, try to analyze the book in light of theories and issues discussed in class.  For example, does the book agree or disagree with theories discussed in class?  Does the author develop useful ideas that contribute to the development of public administration theory?  Is the author’s work still relevant for public administration in the year 2004?  Lastly, there should be a “Conclusion” section.  In the “Conclusion” section, provide an overview of your analysis as well as what you personally think about the book. 


The book review should include a cover page (and a references page if any sources were used), be double-spaced, have 1 inch margins, and be written with 12 point font.  The total book review should be between 6-8 pages.  The “Main Themes” section should be between 2-3 pages.  The “Analysis” section should be between 3-4 pages.  The “Conclusion” section should be 1-2 pages.   


·                    Current Events Analysis Paper (15% of final grade)

Students will also complete a paper relating topics in public administration to current events in government.  The current events analysis paper is due April 19.  Students should gather at least 3 sources of information describing a current problem or event in government.  These sources of information could come from newspaper sources (e.g. New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Chicago Tribute, etc.) and periodicals (e.g. Newsweek, Time, The National Journal, Atlantic Monthly,  etc.) and can include editorial/commentary pieces.  Examples of current events in government include (but are not limited to):  designing the Homeland Security Department, a city privatizing public services, the awarding of reconstruction contracts for Iraqi redevelopment, the debate over the implementation of a nationalized health insurance system, instances of unethical behavior in government, etc.  Students should then analyze the chosen issue with theories and concepts from class.  In that analysis, students should include at least 5 references to pertinent sources from books, journals (e.g Public Administration Review, Journal of Public Administration Research & Theory), or other sources (e.g. governmental publications).  (Note:  the Henry textbook has good references to theories developed in scholarly sources at the end of each chapter).  This paper should be:  8-10 pages, include a cover page and a list of references, have 1 inch margins, and be double spaced with 12 point font.  There is no required format for this paper.  Rather, I leave it to the student to decide the best way to present the issues in an informative, analytical, and interesting way.   


The goal of this project is for students to analyze current issues with concepts and theories learned in class.  For example, if your paper is on designing the Homeland Security Department, you could use public administration theories and concepts to analyze if the current design of the Homeland Security Department will result in effective terrorist protection and disaster response. 


·                    Participation & Attendance (5% of final grade)

Students are expected to attend class barring emergencies.  In addition, each student is encouraged to ask questions during class and participate in any discussions that emerge. 





All assignments are graded on a 100 point scale. 


A =      90% -100%   

B =      80% - 89%

C =      70% - 79%

D =      60% - 69%

F =         0% - 59%





·                    Citations and Plagiarism

Students are expected to provide appropriate citations when ideas from other sources are used in the book review and the current events analysis paper.  If you copy material from sources without using quotation marks and the appropriate citation, or if you use ideas from other authors and not identify or acknowledge those sources, then you are guilty of plagiarism.  Plagiarism will result in a severe reduction in points and may result in an automatic failing grade for the assignment.


·                    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 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 CAAR and instructors be informed of any disability-related needs during the first two weeks of the semester. 


·                    Political Science Undergraduate Paper Award

The Political Science Department annually recognizes outstanding undergraduate papers.  There is no “standing” requirement for this paper (i.e. you do not have to be a political science major, honor student, senior, etc.).  However, the papers have to be written for a 300-400 level political science course or as part of a directed study. Winners are expected to attend the Department's spring graduation ceremony where they will receive a certificate and $50.00. Papers, which can be submitted by students or faculty, must be supplied in triplicate to a department secretary by February 29, 2004.  All copies should have two cover pages - one with the student's name and one without the student's name. Only papers written in the previous calendar can be considered for the award. However, papers completed in the current spring semester are eligible for the following year's competition even if the student has graduated.  For this award, the current events analysis paper could serve as a good first draft at a more comprehensive paper that could be used to compete for this award next year. 


·                    Political Science Department Web Site

Undergraduates are strongly encouraged to consult the Department of Political Science web site on a regular basis.  This updated source of information will assist students in contacting faculty and staff, reviewing course requirements and syllabi, exploring graduate study, researching career options, tracking department events, and accessing important details related to undergraduate programs and activities.  To reach the site, go to http://polisci.niu.edu








Week 1 (Jan. 12 – Jan. 16)

History and Evolution of Public Administration

            Henry:  Chapters 1, 2


Week 2 (Jan. 21 – Jan. 23)

History and Evolution of Public Administration (continued)

            Henry:  Chapters 1, 2

            NO CLASS JANUARY 19 – Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday


Week 3 (Jan. 26 – Jan. 30)

Organization Theory

            Henry:  Chapter 3


Week 4 (Feb. 2 – Feb. 6)

Organizational Behavior

            Henry:  Chapter 5

            Kaufman:  Chapters 1-3


Week 5 (Feb. 9 – Feb. 13)

Decision-making in the Bureaucracy

            Henry:  Chapter 4

            Kaufman:  Chapters 4-7

Week 6 (Feb. 16 – Feb. 20)

Public Policy

            Henry:  Chapter 10



Week 7 (Feb. 23 – Feb. 27)

Intersectoral Administration

            Henry:  Chapter 11


Week 8 (March 1 – March 5)

Intergovernmental Administration

            Henry:  Chapter 12

            EXAM 1:  MARCH 5


SPRING BREAK:  NO CLASS March 8 – March 12








Week 9 (March 15 – March 19)

Bureaucratic Politics

            Long, Norton.  (1949).  “Power and Administration.”  Public Administration Review 9                                  (4), p. 257-264. 


            Holden, Matthew.  (1966).  “Imperialism in Bureaucracy.”  American Political Science                                    Review 60 (4), p. 943-951. 


            Brudney, Jeffrey, & Hebert, Ted.  (1987).  “State Agencies and their Environments.”                                      Journal of Politics 49 (1), p. 186-206.


            Kraus, George.  (1996).  “The Institutional Dynamics of Policy Administration:                                                  Bureaucratic Influence over Securities Regulation.”  American Journal of                                            Political Science 40 (4), p. 1083-1121. 


McCool, Daniel.  (1998).  “The Subsystem Family of Concepts:  A Critique and a                Proposal.  Political Research Quarterly 51 (2), p. 551-570. 


            Balla, Steven, & Wright, John.  (2001).  “Interest Groups, Advisory Committees, and                               Congressional Control of the Bureaucracy.”  American Journal of Political                                   Science 45 (4), p. 799-812. 


Week 10 (March 22 – March 26)

Public Finance Management

            Henry:  Chapter 8


Week 11 (March 29 – April 2)

Public Personnel Management

            Henry:  Chapter 9


Week 12 (April 5 – April 9)

Public Management

            Henry:  Chapters 6, 7


Week 13 (April 12 – April 16)

Administrative Responsibility

            Henry:  Chapter 13


Week 14 (April 19 – April 23)

The State of Public Administration

Vigoda, Eran.  (2002).  “From Responsiveness to Collaboration:  Governance, Citizens,            and the Next Generation of Public Administration.”  Public Administration            Review 62 (5)., p. 527-540.


Bertelli, Anthony, & Lynn Jr., Laurence.  (2003).  “Managerial Responsibility.”  Public            Administration Review 63 (3), p. 259-268.  


Merget, Astrid.  (2003).  “Times of Turbulence:  The Donald C. Stone Lecture.”  Public            Administration Review 63 (4), p. 390-395.


Chetkovich, Carol.  (2003).  “What’s in a Sector?  The Shifting Career Plans of Public            Policy Students.”  Public Administration Review 63 (6), p. 660-674.


Bolton, Michael & Stolcis, Gregory.  (2003).  “Ties That Do Not Bind:  Musings on the            Specious Relevance of Academic Research.”  Public Administration Review 63            (5), p. 626-630. 


Lynn Jr., Laurence.  (2003).  “Public Administration in the Twenty-First Century.”              Public Administration Review 63 (5), p. 631-635.





Week 15 (April 26 – April 28)

The State of Public Administration (continued)


FINAL EXAM:  MAY 5 (10:00 – 11:50)