POLS 331 - 2  Introduction to Public Administration

Spring 2008

DU 461

Monday/Wednesday/Friday 12:00 - 12:50 pm.


Instructor:  James O. Bagaka                              

 Office Hours: Mon/Wed 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

 By Appointment


Office:  Zulauf 114

E-mail:  jbagaka@niu.edu                            




This course provides a broad college level introduction to public administration. Unlike other academic disciplines, public administration has strong practical and theoretical components. The course introduces students to several topics such as; the relationship between politics and administration, organizational behavior, public policy-making, intergovernmental relation, public finance and budgeting and program evaluation.



In exploring the above topics, we (the students and the instructor) will seek to answer four broad questions.

            1. Can politics be separated from administration?

            2. Are the values such as efficiency and democracy compatible?

            3. How much discretion/authority should bureaucrats have?

            4. How should the government be structured to accomplish its purpose?


It is hoped that an attempt to answer the above questions will reveal the diverse goals--which are frequently ambiguous and multi-faceted that beset public administration.


This course is also designed to improve your academic skills and knowledge areas in the following ways:

Oral Communication

Class discussion on the assigned readings in class, paper discussions.

Written Communication

Assigned Papers

Analytical Thinking

Final Paper - Book Review


Required Texts:

Shafritz, J. M. and E. W. Russell.  2007 Introducing Public Administration (5th Edition).  New York: Pearson Longman.

Goodsell, Charles.  2004.  , Fourth Edition.  Washington, D.C.: CQ Press.

Additional readings especially the assigned journal articles will be available and accessible on blackboard.



Written Paper Assignments (3 in total)                                                   30%

Book Review                                                                                           40%

Midterm & Final Exam                                                                            20%

Participation/Attendance                                                                         10%



Both the mid-term and final examinations will be in-class (dates are listed on the schedule.  The final exam is not cumulative.  Both exams will consist of multiple-choice questions only.  Make-up exams will only be given in extreme emergencies and only with prior notice to the instructor.  An unexcused absence on the date of an exam will result in a score of zero for that test.

Written Assignments.

In total, I have assigned six journal articles (posted on Blackboard) and each student is expected to pick any three (3), and write a brief essay summarizing the main ideas in the articles. I encourage students to refer to the details of each reading as specified on the various outlines posted on blackboard. Simply, visit blackboard and see what is expected from each article before writing your paper. The course outline below will tell you exactly when the papers are due. Papers must be submitted in person on the due date. Each essay should be 3-4 pages long, typed and double spaced. Late papers will receive one letter grade less.

Students will also be required to do a book review for the book: The Case for Bureaucracy: A Public Administration Polemic (2004). By C. Goodsell. Details and specifics about the book review will also be posted on blackboard.


For the benefit of those who may want to improve their grade, I have created a floating assignment. This assignment requires a student to go out in the real world and conduct an interview with a bureaucrat (public official) about the nature of his/her job. Bureaucrats with managerial or supervisory roles will be ideal for this assignment. The specifics of this assignment will also be on blackboard. NOTE: This assignment will ONLY be done for two reasons: 1) in lieu of one journal article and 2) to substitute a low scored paper. It DOES NOT apply to the mid-term and final exams. Due date for this assignment is open until April 25th the due date for the book review – No wonder it is floating!!!

Class Participation.

We will use our Friday session (s) for discussions. I have selected a few cases from your textbook that we will review and discuss. The discussions will be done in small group settings where each group will be expected to share their ideas with the rest of the class. We will also use the discussion sessions to review the assigned journal articles for the benefit of those who opt to do other articles instead. Note: We will only review articles that have already been done and I expect students who have read those articles to lead the discussions. Please note that the discussion session is an opportunity for us as a group to also revisit lingering issues. Feel free to share your personal stories and views about public administration related issues.



Academic Integrity

 Students are required to adhere to NIU’s code of student conduct for academic integrity.  Violations will result in a failed grade on the assignment and possibly the class.  You are expected to ensure that all assignments submitted for a grade reflect substantially your own work, that work submitted under your name is substantially original, and that you have understood and learned the competencies in each assignment and not relied solely on the knowledge of others.  Students whose work is substantially plagiarized from others will receive a ‘0’ on that assignment or exam.  If you are unclear of what actions constitute plagiarism, please see me.

General Advice. Your best strategy for success is to keep up with the assigned readings, attend class regularly, participate in our discussions, take good notes and then take time to study for the exam.

Extra credit. Sorry, none is available. No exceptions. If you find you’re having trouble, seek help early in the semester and devise strategies for improving your performance on required exams and assignments.

Rules of The Game

Cell Phones & Class Decorum. With rare exceptions, cell phones, Ipods, etc. should be turned off before class starts. I ask also that you be civil during class and respect the needs of your fellow students, most of whom actually will be trying to do well in the course! If you don't, I may ask you to leave. Arriving late (more than 5 minutes), talking and sleeping in class will not be tolerated. Students who make the learning environment uncomfortable for others will be asked to leave the room.


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

Class Schedule:

Jan 14             Introductions


Jan 16              What is Public Administration?

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 1, pp. 6 - 31.


Jan 18              Discussion:

                                    Read:   Case - How a President Undeservedly Received Credit for                                                   Discipline. pp. 32 - 33.


Jan 23              Intergovernmental Relations

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 4, pp.132 -167.


Jan 25              Discussion:

                                    Read: Case - Two Case Studies: How Intergovernmental Management                                      Became Intergovernmental Chaos: The Cases of United Flight 93 and                                      Hurricane Katrina. pp. 168 - 170.


Jan 28 & 30                 The Political and Cultural Environment of Public Policy and Its                                                       Administration

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 2, pp. 41 - 76            .

                                    Paper # 1 Due (Jan 30): Charles Lindblom (1959) "The Science of                                                 Muddling Through."

Feb 1               Discussion:

                                    Read : Case - Were The Space Astronauts Killed By Fog? pp. 77 - 79.

                                    { Also Lindblom's Article will be discussed}


Feb 4 & 6        Honor, Ethics, and Accountability

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 5, pp. 174 -207.


Feb 8               Discussion:

                                    Read: Case- The Blood on Robert McNamara's Hands and                                                         Conscience. pp. 207 - 210.


Feb 11 & 13    The Continuous Reinventing of the Machinery of Government

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 3, pp. 83 - 128.

                                    Paper # 2 Due (Feb 13): R. Moe & R. Gilmour (1995). "Rediscovering                                          Principles of Public Administration: The Neglected Foundation of Public                                       Law."


Feb 15             Discussion: Reviewing Moe & Gilmour's Article.


Feb 18 & 20    The Evolution of Management and Organization Theory

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 6, pp. 215 - 251.

Feb 22             Discussion:

                                    Read: Case - The Critical Importance of Administrative Doctrine.

                                    pp. 251 - 254.


Feb 25 & 27    Organizational Behavior

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 7, pp. 264 - 300.

                                    Paper # 3 Due (Feb 27): Chester Barnard, (1938). Informal Organizations                                     and Their Relation to Formal Organization (Book Excerpt).


Feb 29             Discussion: Review Chester Barnard's book excerpt.


Mar 3               Mid-term Review Exercise

Mar 5              Mid-term Exam


Mar 8-16                                    Spring Break


Mar 17 & 19    Personnel Management and Labor Relations

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 11, pp. 396 - 436.


Mar 21             Leadership

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 10, pp. 372- 388.


Mar 24 & 26    Managerialism and Performance Management

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 8, pp. 309- 331.

Paper # 4 Due (Mar 26): David H. Rosenbloom (1993). “Have an Administrative RX? Don’t Forget the Politics.”

Mar 28             Discussion

                                    Read: Case - Transforming the Postal Service. Pp. 389 - 392.

                                    We’ll also Review Rosenbloom’s Article.


Mar/ Apr         Social Equity

31 & 2                         Read:  SRB, Ch. 12, pp. 444 - 470.



Apr 4               Discussion

                                    Read: Case - Social Security Reforms, pp. 514 - 517.


Apr 7 & 9        Public Financial Management (I)

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 13, pp. 500 - 510.


Apr 11             Public Finance Management (II)

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 13, pp. 511 - 512

                                    Paper # 5 Due : Allen Schick (1966). “The Road to PPB: The Stages of                                         Budget Reforms.”


Apr 14 & 16    Public Budgeting – Theory (I)

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 13, pp. 486 - 499.

Apr 18            Public Budgeting (II) – Exercise.

                                    Students will have the opportunity to review some public sector budgets.

                                    The instructor will bring sample budgets in class for the exercise.


Apr 21             Reviewing Allen Schick’s Article (1966).


Apr 23 - 28      Program Evaluation and Auditing

                                    Read: SRB, Ch. 14 pp.529 - 546.

Paper # 6 Due (Apr, 25):  Wholey Joseph (1996) “Formative and Summative Evaluation: Related Issues in Performance Measurement.”


Apr 30             Reviewing Wholey’s Article

                        Book Review Due


May 1              Final Exam Review – Last Day of Class!!


May 3              Final Exam


Good Luck!!!