Course 2005-2006 a.y.



Department of Social and Political Sciences

Course taught in English

Go to class group/s: 31
GM-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - MM-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - OSI-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - AFC-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLAPI-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLEFIN-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLELI-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLEACC-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - DES-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLEMIT-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI) - CLG-LS (6 credits - I sem. - AI)
Course Director:

Classes: 31 (I sem.)

Course Objectives

Strategic management is the process of determining which objectives organizations should achieve and how they should go about achieving them. In this perspective, the course aims at providing a conceptual framework for allowing students to (1) develop the competences to analyse critical short and long term issues facing public organizations and (2) make recommendation for strategic solutions. This includes determining which combination of services a public organization should provide, with whom and how it should interact and collaborate to carry out its activity, and how it could go about achieving its objectives effectively. A number of relevant case studies at international level are utilised throughout the course.
At the end of the course students are expected to have: (1) a good understanding of the peculiarities that characterize strategic-management in public sector organizations, (2) the ability to identify and analyse critical long term and short term issues that public sector organizations have to face, (3) the ability to make recommendations for strategic solutions, (4) the ability to promote the implementation of such strategies, appealing to leadership skills too.

Course Content Summary

The course is divided into four parts.

  • A first set of sessions comes to terms with what strategy is and how strategy develops within organizations. Theoretical foundations of strategy formation are explored. Specifically, the main patterns for strategy formation are presented, with particular reference to the peculiarities of strategy-making in public sector organizations.
  • A second set of sessions tackles 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. Specific emphasis is given to the needs of local authorities and municipalities: the pursuing of public interests and the cost of control imperatives ask for a complex balancing in strategy and policy-making. Decision-making matrix, positioning map, stakeholders' analysis, trend analysis, break-even point analysis are among the strategic tools investigated.
  • A third set of sessions focuses on policy-making in public organizations. Differences and interdependencies between policy and strategy are analysed. In the same way, the main policy issues public organizations face now-days are explored. Then a strong attention is dedicated to the effective ways to manage the political process through which priorities are set. Also, the stakeholders' role, the influence of governance model and the impact of institutional and organizational bonds are addressed, while clarifying the policy-making-evaluation-selection process. Control mechanisms, performance and assessment measures are then discussed to complete the framework on policy-management in public organizations.
  • A fourth set of sessions is devoted to explore the role of public managers in strategy-making. 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. Such knowledge and skills involve conceptual models, managerial tools but also leadership skills. In fact a public manager has to be able to grasp the complexity of the realty and employ critically theoretical models and managerial tools. A deep understanding of the manager's role as leader, strategist, planner, designer and creative problem solver is developed.

Detailed Description of Assessment Methods

Includes: Group project for 30%, Essay for 20%, Final Exam for 30% and Class Participation for 20%.

Group Project: instructors identify the case of an interesting public sector organization. Relevant strategic issues characterize the organization selected. Each group will examine this organization as case-study, based on the theoretical models and managerial tools analysed during the first and second parts of the course. A power-point presentation is due by the end of the course. An outline for the presentation could be: (1) brief description of the organization analysed, (2) identification of the main strategic problem the organization has to face, (3) identification of theoretical models and managerial tools useful to understand and analyse such a problem (references to class readings can be appropriate), (4) analysis of the strategic problem, (5) recommendations to organization.

Individual Essay: individual essay deals with a written report about one of the case analysed during class work. Such written report is due before class.


  • Book on Strategic Management of Public Organizations, McGraw-Hill (in press).
  • Cases packet prepared by instructor.

Additional Readings

  • B. AHLSTRAND, J. LAMPEL, H. MINTZBERG, Strategy Safari: a Guided Tour through the Wilds of Strategic Management, Financial Times Prentice Hall, 1998.
  • G. JOHNSON, K. SCHOLES, Exploring Public Sector Strategy, London, Pearson education, 2001 (eds.).
  • B. BOZEMAN, J. STRAUSSMAN, Public Management Strategies. Guidelines for Managerial Effectiveness, San Francisco, Jossey Bass, 1990.
Exam textbooks & Online Articles (check availability at the Library)
Last change 30/06/2005 00:00