Politicial Science 432

POSC 432

Public Organization Theory & Leadership

Catalog Entry

POSC 432

Public Organization Theory & Leadership

Three hours lecture (3)

Prerequisites: POSC 300 or permission of instructor

Focuses on transformational leadership theories, the impact of leadership on organizational behavior/culture, and public sector revitalization in order to examine the role of (visionary) leadership in the redesign of public organizations to:  (a) “fit” or become congruent with their turbulent operating environment(s); (b) enhance efficiency outcomes; and (c) fulfill their legislative, judicial, and/or political mandate.  Students who have received credit for POSC 430 or POSC 431 cannot also receive credit for POSC 432.


Detailed Description of Course

Two dominant themes of the course will be to distinguish between (a) leadership and change in public - - as opposed to business - - organizations and (b) the roles of leaders and managers in organization life.  The course will be divided into four major categories:

1.       Survey of Leadership and Organization Theory Theories

A.      Classical leadership theories

B.     Historical basis of Organization Theory

C.     Contemporary leadership and organization change theories

D.     The causal relationship between leadership and organization transformation     

2.       Leadership and Management Concepts

A.      Redefining the leadership concept in contemporary organizations

B.     The role of manager in the modern organizations

C.     The defining characteristics, and distinctions, between leaders and managers

3.       Organization Structure and Design

A.      Strategy, Structure, and Organization Effectiveness

B.     Turbulent Operating Environments and Technology

C.     Bureaucracy, Cultural Change, and Job Redesign

D.     Leadership’s role in the creation of High Performing/High Performing Organizations

4.      Leadership, Culture, and Public Sector Organization Change

A.      Identification of major stakeholders (i.e., taxpayers, interest groups, politicians, and the media)

B.     “Unique” Norm-based and Affective Public Sector Motivations

C.     HR/Personnel Administration and Compensation issues

D.     Constitutional and Ethical issues


Detailed Description of Conduct of Course

This course will employ two fundamental instructional strategies:  First, students will be expected to actively engage in class discussions and introduce “cutting edge” visionary leadership and organization redesign strategies that improve public agency efficiency in the delivery of essential goods and services.  Second, students are expected to complete a case study research paper/project on the effectiveness of a political or public sector leader in facilitating the redesign of a contemporary public (or possibly business) organization.  Examples could include President Barack Obama’s call for the redesign of (a) Medicare and/or (b) General Motors or Chrysler (as recipients of federal bail-out loans).  Graduate students will assess a Organization Theory/Leadership case study from either Harvard's Kennedy School of Government or Harvard's Graduate School of Business.


Goals and Objectives of the Course

Having successfully completed the course, the student will be able to:

1.       Explain various historical and contemporary leadership theories and organization change strategies;

2.      Understand the dynamic and institutional processes that differentiate Organization Theory/Change in the Public Sector as opposed to Organization Theory/Change in Private Sector organizations;

3.      Identify  - - and distinguish - - three types of change leadership (i.e., charismatic, transformational, and instrumental);

4.      Explain the relationship between visionary change leadership and organization redesign/employee behavior; and

5.      Effectively utilize academic journals related to the fields of Leadership, Organization Theory, and Economics


Assessment Measures

The Professor may evaluate students on the following criteria:

1.       Formal oral presentations;

2.      Leadership and Organization Theory case study analysis; and

3.      Mid-term and final exams


Other Course Information



Review and Approval

April 2009