Public Administration and Teaching – Papers, Edinburgh 2013

Teaching (for) Public Administration? What Students Expect of Their Future Employers. The Case of a German Reform Program in ‘Public Management & Governance

Eckhard SCHROETER, Jörg RÖBER   – Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen, Germany


What is often presented as the modernization of public administration can also be interpreted as a process of blurring the boundaries between the public and private sectors: public services tend to be provided by an ever more complex mix of providers, the variety of service delivery agents and institutional arrangements has been on the increase, and established management instruments and practices from the private sector have made their inroads into public organizations. It flows from this that public administrators, as a rule, are confronted with new challenges and have to operate in a much more complex and dynamic institutional environment going beyond their traditional civil service habitat.

As a consequence, so it has been convincingly argued, the design of academic programs to educate and train future managers of public services has to reflect these changes and be organized along more interdisciplinary and managerial lines. As a matter of fact, the universe of newly-designed degree programs in the broadly defined public administration & public management camp has recently become more populated by undergraduate and graduate programs that – starting from a political science-, organization studies- or business administration-base – combine elements of legal studies, social science disciplines, and public administration proper to an integrated approach in preparing their graduates for the management of public goods and services. At this point, however, the chance of a serious dilemma opens up: as programs broaden their horizons – and those of their graduates – they also invite new competitors: Will these programs produce new recruits for public administration or are their graduates more likely to put their newly-acquired competences to use in the private sector?

This paper argues, normatively, that teaching ‘public administration’ (as a discipline) does not directly translate into teaching for public administration (as an institution) – nor should it as the management of public services cannot be delineated to the institutional realm of public sector departments and agencies. Empirically, the paper draws on data collected from graduates of the public management & governance programs at Zeppelin University, Germany. It looks into emerging career patterns and attitudinal dispositions of alumni and graduating classes in order to shed light on the previously discussed dilemma: What career path do newly-minted graduates of interdisciplinary public management programs choose and for what reasons?

Information Literacy, Open Access, and Public Affairs Education

Walter Franklin BABER, Carolyn Diane BABER – California State University, Long Beach, United States of America; San Diego State University, San Diego, United States of America


Information literacy has been a matter of central concern to information professionals and educators since the phrase first appeared in print in a 1974 report by Paul G. Zurkowski. Written on behalf of the National Commission on Libraries and Information Science, Zurkowski ‘s report used the phrase to describe the “techniques and skills” known by the information literate “for utilizing the wide range of information tools as well as primary sources in molding information solutions to their problems. (Zurkowski,1974). In the forty years since this concept first appeared, it’s scope has broadened to encompass the widest conceivable array of human concerns, as evidenced by the activities of the National Forum on Information Literacy. Today, the Forum represents over 90 national and international organizations, all dedicated to mainstreaming the philosophy of information literacy across national and international landscapes, and throughout every educational, domestic, and workplace venue.

The objective of our paper, then, is to begin the process of describing how the confluence of information literacy concerns and the open access publishing movement are likely to affect public affairs education. After describing our two target trends as they relate to one another, we proceed to situate public affairs education in that field of forces by typifying the use of information by both public affairs educators and practicing professionals. We then draw some conclusions about how public affairs curricula might be adapted and bridges between the worlds of teaching and practice might be built to take advantage of information literacy and open access publishing as those trends converge upon one another.

Modernizing a de facto monopolium: new tendencies in Hungarian PA education and training

Marton GELLEN – National University of Public Service, Hungary


Due to a certain path of historical development, Hungarian PA education is concentrated into a de facto monopolium having more than 800 students enrolled in two PA programs for the Autumn semester of 2013.

How can this structure of PA education be used for reforming the content of the curricula?

Under a Government Decree issued in 2012, the National University of Public Services was appointed by the Government to be in charge of PA education and training. The University itself was recently created by the merger of law enforcement, military and civil PA universities (academies). This structural change can be characterized by centralization and to a certain extent: simplification too. The re-structuring of PA training is completed by the concept of the Government to make the fields of public service permeable, open to each-other. The University itself is a test field for this concept since police and military students have the opportunity to have civil PA courses. The need for this kind of cross-learning is supported by the new phenomenon that defense and policing are gradually becoming more civilian in their character, while traditional training in these fields must undergo serious changes too.

The empirical part of the research contains three elements: analysis of the professional training of civil service, the content of PA university training and the composition of professions within the central civil service. The empiric findings on these three dimensions are analyzed in the light of recent structural changes of PA university and professional training.

Although the article states that the basic framework of public administration education – as a major driver of public administration culture – is still dominantly legalistic, it also introduces the ways in which the new public administration education system have tried to change the content of its degree programs and how it has tried to have an impact on the entire public administrative system to move from procedural orientation to a more solution-oriented mindset.

Towards Masters of Partnerships in Public Administration

Jaroslav DVORAK, Linutė JUŠKEVIČIENĖ- Klaipėda University, Lithuania


Researchers of social sciences maintain that we live in the age of various speedy dynamics. Constant fluctuations, fragmentations, alterations, shifts and mobility flows tend to mean much more significant than stability. Herewith vertical dominations also appear supplemented with some horizontal powers, represented by the mobile regional authorities, especially by institutional and interorganizational networks.

While, in essence, the vertical public authority enforces laws and delivers public services, the horizontal government is much more for coordinating dynamics and pursuing regional development aspirations. While the first one tends to act on the old command and control principles, the strongest rule of regional authorities stems from sharing and trust. Sharing responsibility, resources and risks requires not only trust, but also some other intellectual capacities. Most of all it requires to change a belief system from domination to partnership.

What are the main competences that university education in public administration could support professionals willing to learn some strategies of partnership necessary at the level of regional governance? What may be the very goals and content of the curriculum directed to develop partnership capacities? The paper presents cooperative Lithuanian research experience, based on a few types of investigations carried out in order to prepare the master degree program, which has been accredited by Lithuanian Centre of Study Quality Assurance in 2013.

Firstly, the paper introduces Lithuanian context: legal requirements to master programs, a situation with employment as well as comparisons on master programs in public administration. Secondly, it presents educational need analysis, based on interviews conducted at national and international levels. Finally it discusses competences, goals and content of the master degree program as the result of collaboration and the research processes.

The emergence of MOOC’s: implications for Public Administration Teaching

Alex MURDOCK, Milo CRUMMIE – London South Bank University, UK


In a NY Times article 2012 was described as the year of the MOOC. (Pappano 2012). The growth of Massive Online Open access Courses has been a factor in Higher Education in the USA from sometime with leading US Universities such as Stanford and MIT putting much of their teaching online. An experienced practitioner of online education supported the view of the NY Times whilst cautioning that it was still early days for this new format (Kirshner 2012)

The speed of development in this new format is however remarkable. Duke University demonstrated that it was possible to develop and launch a first MOOC within three months. This time frame would be challenging for a classroom based course in most university settings (Belanger & Thornton 2013). The growth has led to speculation that they represent a ‘campus tsunami’ (Dennis 2012) and also suggestions that their value and impact may be overstated. (Boyatt et al 2013)

This paper will first explore the nature and characteristics of this phenomena (Gose 2012, Zilinksi 2013). The growth in the USA has recently been reflected in a consortium of UK universities which have been formed to enter the arena. Though there is evidence on considerable development of MOOC’s for a range of academic and vocational courses currently there appears little tangible evidence that they have become established in management and in particular in public and not for profit management courses. However distance learning is well established in the management area with providers such as the UK Open University and Heriot Watt University in the MBA market and various providers in the USA . There is also evidence of some MPA developments in Denmark which appear to have an element of self managed learning.

Talent-Management in Public Administration: Teaching Methods in Russia

Olga MOLCHANOVA, Ksenia ANDREEVA – Moscow State University, Russian Federation

The article refers to the talent-management approach in the Russian public service. The authors of the article have analyzed the educational technologies implemented in Russia to retrain the public servants, revealed their strengths and weaknesses and identified how these retraining programs may be improved. The Training Program of Moscow State University has been chosen as the subject of the research. The Program is considered to sustain transfer of knowledge from the scientific sphere to the managerial practice. The authors have identified the key principles of the implementation of the Training Program. A detailed description and the results of the analysis of this Program have been provided. Some methodological difficulties and drawbacks of the Program have also been revealed. The authors have proposed some possible ways to develop the Training Program for the Russian public servants.

Teaching regulatory humility: Experimenting with practitioner students

Claire DUNLOP, Claudio RADAELLI – University of Exeter, United Kingdom


Donald Schön’s famous assertion that becoming an effective professional demands a move beyond technical rationality toward reflection underpins the pedagogy of Masters in Public Administration (MPA) programmes. But, what tools do we have at our disposal to meet this aspiration? This paper explores how public administrators can be taught to think reflectively and reflexively about the limits of control and when it is wise to ‘do less’. We provide an example of how an experimental approach can open discussion about the limits of human control in regulation. Specifically, we adapt two of Ellen Langer’s (1975) experiments on the ‘illusion of control’ experienced by individuals to introduce the concept of ‘regulatory humility’ and make the class work with this concept. Our project shows that experimenting with public managers in the classroom supports different dimensions of learning. Specifically, it gives a real-life experience of the cognitive and emotional dimensions of concepts (in our case, illusion of control and regulatory humility). Further, our experiment paved the way for a wider reflection on why the outcomes occurred – and how deviations for the theoretical expectations can be developed into new intuitions about the role of public managers in situations of risk and uncertainty.

Master of PA Students’ Involvement in Research – Case Study of Administrative Wiki Consultation

Polonca KOVAČ, Janez STARE – University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Administration, Slovenia


The paper proposed for presentation at the EGPA 2013 conference will analyse several theoretical characteristics of teaching and didactical approaches in MPA programmes. Based thereon, a case study regarding the involvement of MPA programme students in the research project of Administrative Consultation Wiki (ACW) at the Faculty of Administration will be analysed. ACW is a research and applied innovative portal, designed by the Faculty of Administration and the Slovene Ministry of Public Administration in 2009 and constantly upgraded within the relevant legal, administrative and information sciences. ACW helps citizens, NGOs and authorities in administrative procedures to resolve their legal dilemmas in administrative procedures through Web 2.0 approach. Over 700 FAQ have been generalised and published so far, resulting in 2 million user hits. The students also participate in ACW, which strengthens their problem solving competences and employability. In recent years, most excellent MPA students have been involved: 58 in the academic year 2009/2010, 17 in 2010/2011, and 15 in 2011/2012 and 2012/2013, altogether 105. The paper will address the learning objectives and content, benefits and disfunctionalities of students’ involvement in research ACW project, methods of work, expected and acquired competences, and other results. Several of these aspects will be evaluated based on a survey submitted to all 105 students. The outcome of the case study will enable us to improve win-win results of similar collaboration in future. By generalising, these findings can be applied in a systematic overall (MPA) program scale at the Faculty and shared as examples of good practice cross-border.

Gender as an issue in teaching Public Administration

Theresa WOBBE, Katja HERICKS – Potsdam University, Germany;


Programmes for European gender studies offer intriguing insights into a variety of important issues, yet, none focuses on the subject of gender inside European administrations. In our paper we will outline how teaching gender in PA is merged in a midcareer Master Programme “Gender – Knowledge – Administration” within the frame of the Bologna system. Since the establishment of the European Union (EC) gender has become a major concern of both EC and national administrations among others with respect to equal opportunity, violence, and work-life-balance. PA addresses wicked gender issues while administrations themselves have become a professional site for gender expertise. As the European Institute for Gender Equality (EIGE) demonstrates, accountability of public administrations for gender has prominently become institutionalized. Our midcareer master programme intends to bring together gender expertise in PA considering knowledge as a key to gender in administrations. With a view to gender, the programme addresses European administrations as subject and as actor.

Reflection and academic attitude. How to teach and learn it in initial bachelor and master programs in public administration?

Frans-Bauke VAN DER MEER, Peter MARKS, Connie VAN DER LINDE, Menno FENGER – Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands


Normative starting point: A reflexive, research minded, responsible and self-directive attitude is an essential ingredient of the habitus of academics. Therefore the development of such attitudes should be among the goals of academic education. However, it is not self-evident how this can be done. Study trajectories are under pressure to be more efficient; students should be able to pass exams in the shortest time possible and teaching staff may be tempted to apply more standardization and focus on knowledge transfer per se. The question we want to answer in this paper is: How can a reflective and academic attitude in the present context be more effectively taught and learned in initial bachelor and masters programs?

The paper presents a number of didactical ideas and practices that were developed and borrowed from literature and other programs for the initial bachelor and masters programs in Public Administration at the Erasmus University Rotterdam, the Netherlands. We focus on working methods and assignments focusing on designing and doing research, evaluating theories and research results, organizing and directing own learning and research processes, reflection on own performance and steering options in different contexts, etc. These ingredients of the curriculum aim to educate students to become academics corresponding with our normative starting point. We explain and evaluate the results of our approaches and conclude with some specific challenges and suggestions for further improvement.

Developing Leadership skills: Master’s degree programme in Social and Health Care Development and Management

Päivi Maarit HUOTARI – Lahti University of Applied Sciences, Finland


In Finland social and health care services are administered and organized by municipalities, which enjoy strong self-governance. The present Government’s aim is to reorganize municipal and social and health care service structures further in areas beyond the economically robust municipalities and bring services together into sufficiently large units. The reorganization, organizational mergers and the implementation of changes are regarded as difficult, and leadership and management education is reported to have a task in creating, enhancing and supporting leadership skills and managerial roles crucial in change management (Skytt, Ljunggren & Carlsson 2007). To educate transformational leaders (Bass 1990), who can inspire, meet the emotional needs of each employee, and who intellectually stimulate their employees with a visionary approach, is an important aim also in management education at universities of applied sciences. As Bass (1990) pointed out, transformational leadership can be learned and should be a subject of management training and development. Over the past few years, more and more attention has been focused on research on leadership development (e.g. Sherman 2007; Thach & Thompson 2007). Integrating social and health care management practice and research-based development into learning is a fundamental approach in master degree education at Finnish UASs. Effective learning from experience is significantly predictive of transformational leadership (Trautmann, Maher & Motley 2010). The aim of this research is to explore the role of different learning methods in developing transformational leadership skills in management education at master’s degree level from the student perspective. In Finland most of the master students at UASs work full time while they study ant they already have at least three years’ and even over 20 years work experience from their field. Many of the students also work as a manager in the beginning of their studies or start in a manager position during and because of their studies.

How to build capacity of Japanese civil service through its changing education, examination, and training system: An international comparison

Hiroko KUDO – Chuo University, Japan


The paper analyses the competencies required for the new generation of civil servants in Japan, through its education, examination, and training system. The National Personnel Authority (NPA), an independent government agency, responsible for selection and training of Japanese civil servants, has been reforming them and the new examination system and training programmes have been partially introduced in the last years. The NPA plans to continue the reform in order to improve the competency management of civil service leaders, influenced partly because of the introduction and expansion of professional graduate school programmes such as MPP, MPM, and MPA.

In order to analyse the Japanese case in global context, the author first tries to understand the international tendencies in competency management in public sector, through analysis of similar institutions in various countries; France and Italy.

How Public is Public Administration? A constitutional approach of publicness

Arthur RINGELING – Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Netherlands


There is reason to ask the question: how public is Public Administration? According to Frederickson (1997, 4) there is a gradual loss of the concept of public in our discipline. More and more public administration had become a synonym for politics or government. Many writers are inclined to reduce public efforts to private well-being, private interests. Goods and services have to be delivered to individuals, individuals have to be better off. That seem to be advantages at the private side. Is there still something to share in the public domain? Frederickson asks the question whether we have become a republic of strangers, individuals, optimizing their own benefits, that share little in common. So, how does that fit with the idea of a public sphere, what is still publicness in a privatized world, is the public domain substituted by the private, the citizen by the consumer and what is the content of the concept of public interest in these circumstances?

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