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Essentials in Public Administration


This doctoral course is open to all PhD students interested in logics of public administration, public policy and public management.
It is part of the Swiss doctoral program “Public Administration” jointly offered by the University of Lausanne, the University of Berne and the Università della Svizzera italiana.
The course is piloted by Prof. Villeneuve of the Università della Svizzera italiana. It will take place on May 6th and 10th.

While broadening student’s horizons, this course also aims at ‘forcing’ students to actively engage with the texts, to debate their ramifications and implications and to confront other points of view. A PhD program would not be complete without the reading, discussing and debating of the main issues and subject in one’s field of study.
This course has two specific objectives:

  1. Give PhD students a direct link to the key readings in public administration.
  2. Give PhD student the opportunity to discuss and debate the main aspects of their discipline.

Course Format and Preparation
This course is focused on the reading, analyzing, presenting and discussing of some of the most central contributions in the field of Public Administration.
One person will be responsible to present the article and the other will serve as discussants, making critical comments on the text.

Assignment for presenters:

  • Preparation of a one-page-summary of the specific article and an introductory 5 min. presentation of the content of the article.
  • The summary of the article’s content can be supplemented by information regarding author(s) and time period.
  • Make sure to bring copies for everyone.

Assignment for discussants:

  • 5 min. discussion of the article’s content, strengths and weaknesses etc.
  • Underline the issue that are raised for public administrations and for the study of public administration.
  • Preparation of two or three important questions for the whole group.


Location: COVID-dependent. The online option will be offered in any event.
Dates: 6th and 10st of May
Fees: Free for all PhD students (irrespectively of institution of origin)
Schedule: 09h30 to 12h30 and 14h00 to 16h30
The full list of articles to be discussed will be communicated in mid-April

For academic questions: Prof. Dr. Villeneuve jean.patrick.villeneuve@usi.ch
For logistical questions: Dr. Giacomelli stefano.giacomelli@usi.ch

Some of the Essentials

Public Administration as a Discipline
Waldo, Dwight (1955), The Study of Public Administration, New York: Random House – (Chapter 1: What is public administration?)
Dahl, Robert A. (1947) “The Science of Public Administration: Three Problems”, Public Administration Review, 7(1), pp.1-11
Hall P. A. and Taylor, R. C. R. (1996) Political Science and the Three New Institutionalisms. Political Studies 44(4): 936-57

Weber, Max, (1922/1978), Economy and Society (two volumes). Ed. G. Roth and C. Wittich. Berkeley: University of California Press – IX Bureaucracy, pp. 956 - 1006

Organisational Theory
Simon, Herbert (1946), “The Proverbs of Administration”, Public Administration review, 6(1), pp.53-97
Katz, Daniel & Kahn Robert L. (1966), The Social Psychology of Organizations, New York: John Wiley & Sons – “Organizations and the System Concept” pp.14 to 29

Taylor, Frederick W. (1922), “Scientific Management”, Testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives, January 25, 1912
Hood, Christopher (1991), “A Public Management for all Seasons?”, Public administration69, pp.3-19
Majone, Giandomenico (1997), ‘From the Positive to the regulatory State: Causes and Consequences of Changes in the Mode of Governance’, Journal of Public Policy, 17(2), 139- 68

Public Policy and Analysis
Lindblom, Charles E., (1959) “The Science of ‘Muddling Through’”, Public administration Review, Vol. 19, pp.79–88
Rose, Richard (1991). What is Lesson-Drawing?. Journal of Public Policy, 11, pp 3-30

And now...
Peters, Guy B., The Future of Governing: Four Emerging Models, Kansas City: University of Kansas Press – Chapter 3 - The Participatory State



Villeneuve J.

Docente titolare del corso

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