Policy Making in Complex Environments

Professors: O'Mahony
Units: 1.0
Core Course


This core course will provide students with an understanding of public policy making and implementation from an organizational perspective. This course is organized in two parts.

The first part of the course will examine how organizational characteristics (such as mission, organization, resources, personnel and culture) structure what organizations do. It will focus on the following questions:

  • What organizational characteristics and contextual factors affect what organizations do?
  • How does organizational culture shape organizational priorities?
  • How to design and implement organizational change? Why is organizational change often hard to achieve?
  • How do organizational characteristics and context affect what organizations implement?
  • How does what is evaluated affect what is produced?

The second part of the course focuses on how governance affects policymaking. We will examine multiple levels of governance in comparative perspective, examining the impact of governance institutions and contexts. It will focus on the following questions:

  • What are key dimensions along which local, national and international governance policymaking contexts vary?
  • What is the impact of governance structures on policymaking and policy outcomes?
  • How can and should organizations and policy entrepreneurs adapt their strategies to differing policymaking contexts?