Albany PAD614 Managerial Leadership in the Public Sector

PAD614Course description

This course focuses on managerial leadership in the public sector from both theoretical and practical perspectives. Participants will have opportunities to explore their strengths and weaknesses as managerial leaders and to develop skills in these areas. In addition, several current theories of leadership will be examined as the basis for determining the requisite skills of managerial leaders.


Jeffrey D Straussman, Fall 2014

Source and, accessed 26 December 2015.

Link to syllabus uploaded to the Atlas

Additional material from the syllabus

This module, Managerial Leadership in the Public Sector, focuses on the ways that managers and leaders mobilize resources to achieve important public purposes. We will discuss the roles and responsibilities of managers in the design, implementation and evaluation of public programs and policies. Since leaders try to anticipate and manage change strategically, they must have an appreciation of the integrative, interdependent nature of organizations, their environments, and their stakeholders. Readings emphasize both theoretical and practical dimensions of leadership in a variety of organizational, national and subnational environments. Principles of effective leadership are developed from detailed case analyses of senior managers and leaders at all levels of government in the United States and elsewhere.

Some of the themes of the course are reflected in the following questions:

  • What are the differences between management and leadership?
  • What are the constraints that public leaders face?
  • How does a leader set goals, create priorities and evaluate performance?
  • How does a leader motivate staff and subordinates?
  • How does a leader coordinate with other organizations?
  • Most important, how does a leader get things done?

These questions are used to organize the readings and cases that we will discuss in class. Many of the cases have a primary protagonist, usually a senior public official who operates in a complex political and organizational environment. The manager is often faced with a decision-forcing situation. One question that should always guide you when you finish reading a case is the following question, what should the manager do? You should try to identify the manager’s objectives, the resources available to reach the objectives, the steps necessary to implement the objectives and the obstacles that must be overcome. Note also that cases come from a variety of policy and country settings. While the course is not explicitly comparative, when reading cases from a non-US setting, it will naturally be important to appreciate the differences between the United States and the specific country setting.

Week-by-week listing of topics and assigned readings

Week 1: Public Organizations, Public Managers, and Public Value

Mintzberg, H. (1998). Covert leadership: notes on managing professionals. Harvard Business Review 76: 140-147.

Shalala, D.E. (1998). Are Large Public Organizations Manageable? Public Administration Review 58: 284-289.

Moore, M. (2000). Managing for Value: Organizational Strategy in For-Profit, Nonprofit, and Governmental Organizations. Nonprofit and Voluntary Sector Quarterly 29: 183-204.


Ellen Schall and the Department of Juvenile Justice

Massachusetts Department of Revenue (A)

Weeks 2 & 3: Alternative Perspectives on Leadership

Goleman, D. (2000). Leadership that Gets Results. Harvard Business Review 78: 79-90.

Isaacson, W. (2012). The Real Leadership Lessons of Steve Jobs. Harvard Business Review: 90: 4-11.

Hanson, M. and Lehman, RE. (2008). Collaborative Leadership INSEAD Working Paper.

Hart, P. (2011). Evaluating public leadership: towards an assessment framework. Public Money & Management 31: 323-30. 6

Andrews, M., McConnell, J. and Wescott, A. (2010). Development as Leadership Led Change CID working paper No. 206.

Goffee, R. and Jones, G. (2000). Why Should Anyone Be Led By You? Harvard Business Review 78: 63-70.


A tale of Two Managers

Aruna Roy and the Birth of a People’s Movement in India

Granite City Building Inspectors

Weeks 4 & 5: Strategy Formulation: the role of leadership in combatting HIV/AIDS

Rose, W. and Cray, D. (2010) Public-sector strategy formulation. Canadian Public Administration 53: 453-66.

Porter, M. (2008) The Five Competitive Forces that Shape Strategy. Harvard Business Review 86: 78-93.

Vining, A. (2011) Public Agency External Analysis Using a Modified “Five Forces” Framework. International Public Management Journal 14: 63-105.


HIV/AIDS in Indonesia (HP)

HIV in Thailand: The 100% Condom Program (HP)

Confronting HIV/AIDS in Pingxiang, China, Parts A and B

Week 6: Environmental Scanning

R. McInerney and D. Barrows, (nd) Management Tools for Creating Government Responsiveness: Liquor Control Board as a Context for Creating Change (unpublished paper). 7

M. Rahim and M. Marvel, (2011) The Role of Emotional Intelligence in Environmental Scanning Behavior: A Cross-Cultural Study. Academy of Strategic Management Journal 10: 83-102.


Massachusetts Department of Revenue (B), (C), (D)

Week 7: Stakeholders

Bryson, J. (2004) What to do when stakeholders matter. Public Management Review 6: 21-53.

Page, S. (2010). Integrative leadership for collaborative governance: Civic engagement in Seattle. The Leadership Quarterly 21: 246-63.

Freeman, R. and Mc Vea, J. (nd) A Stakeholder Approach to Strategic Management (Darden working paper 01-02).


Singapore Chinese orchestra (A)

Week 8: Organizational Culture

Chatman, J. and Cha, S. (2002). Leading by Leveraging Culture

The example of Chiune Sugihara, and


Captains of Lives: The Transformation Journey of the Singapore Prison Service (A) and (B)

Massachusetts Department of Revenue (E)

Week 9: Managing and Motivating People

Garvin, D.A. and Roberto, M.A. (2001). What You Don’t Know About Making Decisions. Harvard Business Review 79: 108-116.

Perry, J.L., Mesch, D., and Paarlberg, L.E. (2006). Motivating Employees in a New Governance Era: The Performance Paradigm Revisited. Public Administration Review 66: 505-514.

Katzenbach, J.R., and Smith, D.K. (2005). The Discipline of Teams. Harvard Business Review 83:162-171.


Goodbye to Happy Hour

Massachusetts Department of Revenue (F)

Week 10: Political and Organizational Constraints on Policy Implementation

Weaver, R. K. (2010). But Will It Work? Implementation Analysis to Improve Government Performance. Issues in Governance Studies, Brookings Institution.

Behn, R.D. (1995). Creating an Innovative Organization: Ten Hints for Involving Frontline Workers. State and Local Government Review (online).

Weaver, R.K. (2009). Target Compliance: The Final Frontier of Policy Implementation, Brookings Institution Issues in Governance Studies No. 27.


California Assistance Adoption Program

Week 11: Managing for Performance: fighting crime in NYC

Behn, R.D. (2013). Attempting to Answer the “How” Question (unpublished draft). 9

Behn, R.D. (2011). The Performancestat Potential (unpublished draft)

Materials on Compstat



Massachusetts Department of Revenue (G)

Week 12: Crises and the Art of Leadership

Heifetz, R. et al (2009). Leadership in a (Permanent) Crisis. Harvard Business Review 87: 2-7.

Dutton, J. et al (2002). Leading in Times of Trauma. Harvard Business Review : 55-61.

Pfeifer, J. (2013). Crisis Leadership: The Art of Adapting to Extreme Events, unpublished.


Rudy Gulliani (HP)

Week 13: Alternative Transformation Journeys: What Went Right, What Went Wrong

Kotter, J.P. (2007). Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. Harvard Business Review 85: 96-103.

Garvin, D.A., and Roberto, M.A. (2005). Change through Persuasion. Harvard Business Review 83: 104-112.

Hanleybrown, F., Kania, J. and Kramer, M. (2012). Channeling Change: Making Collective Impact Work. Stanford Social Innovation Review 10: 1-8.

Abramson et al. (2008). Eight Essential Tools for Achieving Your Goals. Washington D.C.: IBM Center for the Business of Government. 10

Abramson et al. (2008). Getting it Done: Advice for Government Executives. (Washington D.C.: IBM Center for the Business of Government) Available online:


Seattle Public Utilities

Michelle Rhee’s IMPACT on the Washington D.C. Public Schools (HP)

Page created by: Ian Clark, last updated 26 December 2015.