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Key Models in Public Management: A Comparative Analysis

Key information

Subject area:

Public Policy, Politics & Security

Course type:

Executive Education

Credit level:


Credit value:



4 weeks

Available course dates:

To be confirmed

Course overview

Based on a rich range of international and UK examples, this module discusses and critiques a range of key academic models on public management. Using these models, we will consider their potential application in direct response to a variety of public problems.

This module combines academic discussion with case studies for you to learn how the models presented play out in real world situations. You will learn to consider the distinctive and broader set of actors apparent in many current public management reform processes. These actors are beyond the traditional core of the civil service (e.g., think tanks, management consultancies and international bodies) and to develop student knowledge in that important area.

Additionally, the module develops a comparativist perspective so that students are exposed to a variety of public management trajectories in different countries across the world. It also considers new models may gain traction in different contexts in the future.

The goal of this module is to equip students to be able to critically discuss the assumptions made by the different models, the differences between them and their strengths and weaknesses as well as gain substantive knowledge of their key features.

What does this course cover?

Week 1: Weber and Post Weber

This week introduces the classic model of public administration. It’s often called the Weberian model, as the famous German sociologist Max Weber first described it. Criticisms and the defence of Weber will be outlined.

Week 2: The New Public Management reform wave

This week will focus on the ‘New Public Management’ (NPM) reform ideas; which emerged in the 1980s in several key countries and which have persisted since. It will explore where key NPM ideas came from and why they became politically attractive in the 1980s.

Week 3: Comparative public management

In the final week, we will be exploring alternative traditions of public administration that may be apparent in other countries globally. This international and comparative theme will be considered in more detail.

What will I achieve?

Upon completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Use case studies from different countries and sectors to critique and gain insight into public management models.
  • Apply the critical insight gained from the academic materials to potential real-world problems encountered on the job.
  • Engage in the diagnosis of different policy problems against the models and to consider how helpful the models are likely to be in different sets of circumstances.

Who will I learn with?

Ewan Ferlie

Ewan Ferlie

Professor of Public Services Management

Olga Siemers

Olga Siemers

Senior Lecturer in Public Policy

Who is this for?

This short course is for mid-career professionals. Standard entry requirements are a 2:1 degree plus 3 years of relevant work experience. Applicants without a 2:1 or higher degree are welcome to apply and typically require 5+ years of relevant work experience.

How will I be assessed?

One written assignment, plus participation in webinars and discussion forums.

Our modules offer high levels of interaction with regular points of assessment and feedback. Each four week module is worth five Master's level academic credits and includes three webinars with a King's lecturer and peer group of global professionals.

What is the teaching schedule?

Format: Fully online, plus 3 x 1-hour weekly webinars

This module has been designed specifically for an online audience. It uses a range of interactive activities to support learning including discussion forums, online readings, interactive lectures videos and online tutorials.

Fees and discounts

Tuition fees may be subject to additional increases in subsequent years of study, in line with King’s terms and conditions.

Further information

Module Creator

Professor Ewan Ferlie, Professor of Public Services Management, King’s Business School.  Ewan has written and published widely on narratives of public management reform, covering both New Public Management and Network Governance reforms. He teaches on the MSc in Public Policy and Management and supervises a group of PhD students working on public services organization and management.

Please note that this is only indicative information. Lecturers and course content are subject to change. Please contact us directly for the most recent information.

Course status:

Course closed

Full fee £950

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