The core idea of this course on ‘Bureaucracy and Open Government’ is to explore Open Government as a new administrative paradigm and management concept, and how it changes (or promises to change) traditional Weberian-style public administration. We will focus on administrations in a continental European tradition, and discuss how administrative practice changes (or resists change) under the condition of increased openness and interaction with its environments.
The fundamental learning objective is to allow students to evaluate how new administrative paradigm and management concepts impact and alter traditional administrative systems. Students will be in a position to assess current empirical phenomena in public management and governance from multiple theoretical perspectives; they will be able to analyze practices, processes, and cultures of bureaucratic organizations; and they will be able to conceptualize a broad range of interventions focusing on strategic change of administrative practice.
The course will combine various teaching and learning methods to deliver the different topics to the students. These will include, among others, readings and individual study of original literature, lectures and lecturettes, open class discussions and critical reflection, group work and student presentations, and (multimedia-based) case studies. Guest speakers will bring additional perspectives into the classroom.
Students are expected to prepare for each session by completing the assigned readings. Ressources will be made available to the students in due course.
There are three different assessment items:
• Group work and discussion in class (10%)
• Project paper and presentation (40%)
• Final exam (50%)
Group work and discussion in class: We will evaluate the in-class group work and participation in discussion across all sessions.
Project paper and presentation: In a group project, you will research a ‘live’ Open Government project in a bureaucracy of your choice (i.e., city administration, state etc.; national or international). The purpose of the project is to study how Open Government is put into administrative practice. The question you could focus on include the timeline and context of Open Government development; perceived and real challenges and opportunities of Open Government; strategic activities of the administration to cope with challenges of Open Government etc. Data sources are websites, reports, blogs, newspapers etc. Out of the data sources you should reconstruct the Open Government initiatives of the bureaucracy you are interested in. Your group will present the findings in session 4 (one A2 poster, 15 minutes presentation). You will also hand in a written report (3,000 words, excluding references etc.) about your project. 20 points for the oral presentation in class, 20 for the written report.
Final exam: The final exam is organized in form of a 48-hours take-home-exam. It will consist of questions related to the course content (i.e., compulsory readings, slides, and additional materials as covered) and/or a reading/case study that has/have to be addressed in form of an essay. Your essay will be graded based on the following assessment criteria: Thorough evaluation and analysis; appropriate structure and presentation; convincing line of argument; adequate conceptual/theoretical approach in addressing issue/s or problem/s; quality of proposed solution (if applicable); engagement with case-specific questions (if applicable); lessons learnt and practical implications; your independent evaluation and conclusion. All administrative details (format and date) will be announced in due course; if necessary, the lecturers will be happy to assist you in finding adequate resources to further improve your essay writing skills.