Insegnamento a.a. 2015-2016



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 14
GIO (9 credits - I sem. - OB  |  SECS-P/07)
Course Director:

Classes: 14 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

The course aims at providing the students with a conceptual framework in order to analyze the most critical short- and long-term issues public organizations and international institutions are currently facing, and to develop the skills needed to address strategic choices within complex environments. This includes determining:
  • The service-mix a public organization should provide,
  • The network of actors the organization should interact with,
  • The nature and mode of interaction between the organization and other actors, 
  • The strategies the organization should purse to effectively achieve its objectives.
A number of relevant case studies at the national and international level will be discussed throughout the course.
At the end of the course students are expected to achieve:
  • a good understanding of strategic-management for public sector organizations and international institutions;
  • the ability to single out and analyze critical short- and long-term issues that public sector organizations have to face; 
  • the ability to design recommendations for strategic choices; 
  • the ability to foster the implementation of such strategies, through leadership skills.

Course Content Summary

The course is divided in three blocks, and it’s characterized by an increasingly active-learning oriented approach, along a continuum that starts with concepts and notions and ends with a purely inductive learning approach. The first block is based on face-to-face classes where students are expected to contribute with their own experience and intuition to the class discussion, the second block blends theoretical insights, instruments and practical case studies, and the last block is mainly delivered through concrete cases and with the interaction with guest speakers. Throughout the course, students are expected to contribute actively to the learning process.
  • Strategic public management: introductory issues
The first introductory set of sessions aims at providing a common vocabulary and to understand the different views on of the role of strategic public management across time and space. Well-established theories and scientific debates about the nature and evolution of public management are presented in this block, as well as a set of ‘archetypes’ that will allow students to read and understand the functioning dynamics of public administrations and international organizations, as well as the interaction and overlap between strategy and policy.
  • Strategy-making:
The second block comes to terms with what strategy is, how strategy develops within public organizations and international institutions and what management issues have to be considered in terms of strategy implementation. Theoretical foundations of strategy formation are explored as well as the issues related to the tools for strategy formulation in public context: such tools help the organizations to create the rational understanding for envisioning and supporting sustainable policies. Furthermore, the role of public managers and their skills in strategy-making are explored: in order to deal effectively with the challenges that public organizations have to face, public managers have to acquire knowledge and skills in strategic management. Public manager has in fact to be able to grasp the complexity of the realty and employ critically theoretical models and managerial tools.
  • Decision-making and strategy implementation:
The third block focuses on decision-making in public organizations, encompassing both policy-making and management. Differences and interdependencies between policy and strategy are analyzed, as well as issues concerning public corporate governance. Theoretical foundations of corporate governance are presented and illustrated, in practice, through case discussion. Strategy implementation, besides, is often a complex process and suffer from distortions due to the multiple actors and interests involved; a deep understanding of the management’s role as a change enabler is developed.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Attending students
Individual and group-assignment to be delivered during the course
Written final test
Attending students will have the possibility to take the final exam either in the January or in the February session
Non attending students
Oral test


  • Selected chapters from Hood C. (2000) The art of the state: Culture, rhetoric, and public management, Oxford University Press
  • Selected chapters from Lega F., Cristofoli D. (2009) Strategic Public Management. Egea: Milan
  • Further readings provided by the faculty
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 15/07/2015 17:13