Governance and Institutions

… one of the core Subjects in Public Management

GovandInstSubject description

This public management subject, within the Institutions and Context domain, deals with the fundamental problems of democratic governance in contemporary political systems. The sequence of 12 core topics is designed to provide students with an understanding of decision-making in government and key elements of governance in public institutions. Governance and Institutions is most country-specific of all the Atlas subjects and many of the topics and concepts on this page have a Canadian focus.

Readings and concept comprehension questions associated with this subject can be found at Atlas100 Governance and Institutions.

Core normed topics
The Study of Governance and Institutions

Constitutional Framework

Electoral Systems and Democratic Reform

Machinery of Government

Institutional Dynamics within Government


Municipal Governance

Diversity, Identity, and Rights

Courts, Tribunals, and Commissions

Indigenous Governance

Organizational Design and Behaviour

Modernizing Government

Core concepts
The Study of Governance and Institutions

Competing Values in Governance and Institutions




Institutional Theories – Historical, Sociological, and New Institutionalism


Public Administration

Public Interest

Public Management


Constitutional Framework

Amending Formulas


Constitution of Canada

Constitution of the United States

Constitutional Conventions

Constitutional Laws

Constitutional Monarchy

Conventions vs Laws

Crown Prerogative


Executive Power

Governor General of Canada

Head of State vs. Head of Government

Her Majesty The Queen

Judicial Power

Judicial Review

Legislative Power

Lieutenant Governor of Ontario

Organic Statutes


Representative Government


Reserve Power

Responsible Government

Social Contract

Speech from the Throne

The Crown

Westminster System

Electoral Systems and Democratic Reform

Aggregative Model of Democracy

Burke’s Conception of an Elected Representative

Competitive Model of Democracy

Condorcet’s Paradox

Deliberative Model of Democracy

Democratic Deficit

Electoral Systems

Illiberal Democracy vs. Undemocratic Liberalism


Parliament vs. Congress

Party Leader Selection and De-selection

Party Discipline

Political Party


Samara’s Five Potential Electoral Systems

Machinery of Government

Agents of Parliament

Cabinet Decision-Making System

Cabinet Selection

Clerk of the Privy Council

Department of Finance


Government Program

Machinery of Government

Merit Principle

Ministerial Responsibility

Office of the Premier

Political Executive



Prime Minister

Prime Minister as CEO

Prime Minister as First Among Equals

Prime Minister’s Office

Prime Ministerial Prerogatives

Privy Council Office

Public Service Commission

Secretary of the Cabinet, Ontario

Treasury Board Secretariat

Institutional Dynamics within Government

Accounting Officer

Cabinet Decision-Making System

Cabinet Documents

Cabinet Solidarity and Secrecy

Centre vs. Periphery

Constitutional Convention of a Politically Neutral Civil Service

Guardians vs. Spenders

Ministerial Responsibility

Policy Advisory Systems

Political Aide

Political Executive vs. Civil Service

Political Neutrality

Public Service Anonymity


Regional Minister

Speaking Truth to Power

Staff vs. Line Positions


Asymmetrical Federalism

Bilateral Negotiation with Specific Reciprocity

Canadian Intergovernmental Conference Secretariat

Classical Federalism

Collaborative Federalism

Competitive Federalism

Constitutional Federalism

Cooperative Federalism

Council of the Federation

Distribution of Powers

Equalization Formula


Fiscal Imbalance

Forum of Federations

Intergovernmental Relations

Multilateral Collaboration with Diffuse Reciprocity

Multilevel Governance

Multiple Identities

Unilateral Action with Particular Interests

Municipal Governance

Administrative Tribunals and Municipal Government

Developers, Citizens, and Local Government

Local Government

Local Government Functions

Machinery of Municipal Government

Multilevel Governance in Cities

Municipal Elections

Municipal Finance

Municipal Organizations

Municipal Special Purpose Bodies

Project-based vs. Program-based Federal Involvement in Urban Affairs

Provincial Controls over Local Government

Provincial Ministers of Municipal Affairs

Diversity, Identity, and Rights

Affirmative Action


Cultural Differences


Concept Creep


Diversity and Equality

Duty to Accommodate

Gender Wage Gap

Haidt’s Telos Choice – Either Truth or Social Justice

Human Rights Laws

Identity and Identity Politics

Identity and Rights

Implicit Bias and the Harvard Implicit Association Test


Jessim’s Analysis of Stereotype Accuracy


Race, Ethnicity, Nationality, and Culture

Religion and Religious Practices

Sex, Gender, and Identity

Sexual Orientation


Systemic Discrimination

Victimhood Culture

Viewpoint Diversity

Courts, Tribunals, and Commissions


Administrative Law

Administrative Tribunals

Canadian Courts of Law

Charter Dialogue between Courts and Legislatures

Commissioner of Lobbying

Common Law

Conflict of Interest and Ethics Commissioner

Constitutional Law

Criminal Law

Human Rights Commissions

Human Rights Tribunals


Judicial Councils

Judicialization of Politics


Natural Justice

Public Sector Integrity Commissioner of Canada

Quasi-judicial Body

Stare Decisis

Indigenous Governance

Abele and Prince’s Four Models of Aboriginal Self-Government

Aboriginal Peoples

Aboriginal Title

Calder Decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, 1973

Delgamuukw Decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, 1997

Governance vs. Self-Government


Inherent Right to Self-Government

Land Claims

Nation-to-Nation Relationship

Non-Status Indians

Papillon’s Mosaic of Multilevel Governance Relations

Rights of Indigenous Peoples

Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples


Sparrow Decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, 1990

Treaty Rights

Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada

Tsilhqot’in Decision of the Supreme Court of Canada, 2014

United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP)

White Paper – Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy, 1969

Organizational Design and Behaviour

Allison’s Three Models of Government Action


Downs’ Typology of Officials

Dynamic Resource Reallocation

Fayol’s Theory of Administration

Niskanen’s Budget Maximizing Model

Organization Chart

Organizational Behaviour

Organizational Control

Organizational Culture

Organizational Policies

Organizational Structure Types

Organizational Theory

Principal-Agent Problem

Public Choice Theory

Weber’s Theory of Bureaucracy

Modernizing Government

Aucoin’s New Public Governance

Best Practices Advice


Digital Government and E-Government

Human Resource Management Reforms

Management Consulting

Management Differences between Public and Private Sectors

Networked Governance

New Public Management

Performance Improvement and Performance Leadership

Performance-Related Pay

Private-Public Partnerships


Public Sector Innovation

Public Sector Leadership and Communication

Quasi-Public Corporation

Red Tape Reduction

Service Standards

Skogstad’s Four Competing Models of Authority

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified on 2 December 2019.

Image: CBRE, at, accessed 5 August 2016.