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Governance & Public Administration - SPY00082M

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  • Department: Social Policy and Social Work
  • Module co-ordinator: Dr. Sophie MacKinder
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: M
  • Academic year of delivery: 2020-21

Module summary

This module introduces the main issues involved in the study of contemporary governance, and their implications for public administration. It locates public administration and development administration within a multi-level, networked governance framework. The aim is to provide conceptual and analytical tools needed to function effectively within complex systems of contemporary governance today. 

As well as exploring this multi-level, 'networked', external perspective the module also explores governance from a more internal, organisational perspective. It assesses the potential and limitations of a public value management model as an approach to overcome some of these challenges and dilemmas, particularly regarding citizenship and accountability.


Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Spring Term 2020-21

Module aims

The module aims to provide:

  • a critical introduction to contemporary issues and problems in governance
  • to develop writing and academic integrity skills
  • knowledge of relevant theories and approaches; and their uses and limitations with respect to public management and policymaking
  • further skills development in academic writing

Module learning outcomes

At the end of the module participants will have:

  • an understanding of multi-level governance and its implications for policy-making and implementation
  • demonstrate the development of writing and academic integrity skills
  • an understanding of networked governance and its implications for policy-making and implementation
  • a critical appreciation of public value management from a theoretical and practical perspective
  • an understanding of debates about good governance, and how these may inform the leadership and management of public organisations
  • an understanding of how feedback on written work to date can inform future assignments


Task Length % of module mark
3,000 word Assignment
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
3,000 word Assignment
N/A 100

Module feedback

The lead marker (the module tutor) will include comments about the content, structure, and evidence used etc. to provide you with constructive information that will enable you to improve on future work. The feedback a tutor can offer can be invaluable to your studies, so it is important you read this carefully

We aim to return your marked work to you within one month of its submission.

Feedback will be given in three ways:

(1) Comments within the actual text will highlight specific points and examples that the marker wants to draw to your attention.

(2) The marking criteria will be highlighted to show how your assignment has been rated against those criteria. This will enable you to calibrate your performance against a consistent scale, and therefore to aim to improve in specific areas.

(3) Finally the marker will provide a narrative summary in which the main points will be set out and any major areas for improvement highlighted.

Indicative reading

Cornforth, C. (ed.) (2003)The governance of public and non-profit organisations, Abingdon, Routledge, Taylor and Francis, pps. 6-14.

Doornbos, M . (2001)Good Governance: The rise and decline of a Policy Metaphor?', Journal of Development Studies, Vol. 37, No. 6, pp. 93-108.

Farazmand, A . (2012)The future of public administration: challenges and opportunities: a critical perspective', Administration and Society, Vol. 44, No. 4, pp. 487517.

Rhodes, R. A. (2007)Understanding governance: Ten years on, Organization studies, Vol. 28, No. 8, pp. 1243-1264.

Schmidt, A. (2013) Coordinating Development in Conflict States: Donor Networks in Somalia', IDS Bulletin, Vol. 44, No. 1, pp. 53-71.

Scholte, J. A. (2005) 'Explaining globalisation', in Globalisation: a critical introduction, Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp. 121-154.

Smoke, P. (2003) Decentralisation in Africa: goals, dimensions, myths and challenges, Public administration and development, Vol. 23, No. 1, pp. 7-16.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

Find details of the measures we're planning to protect our community.

Course changes for new students