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Contemporary Issues of Public Administration


Course description

Public Administration is undergoing rapid changes in modern times and almost constantly finds itself at the crossroads of search of new forms and tools for action. Politics, society at large, economy as well as European challenges affect in a number of ways the performance of the administrative system at the national level. Related influences rise from the need for growth, immigration problems, trends of demographic decline, climate change, etc, and call for flexibility, responsiveness and adaptation to a pace and extent unaccounted for in the past. The course purports to critically examine various aspects and dimensions of administrative capability to meet challenges and tackle complex social issues at the national and European level.

Especially interest in the analysis matters of transparency and quality in the policy process and administrative action; the more so to the extent they are related with wider concerns of public ethics and morality affecting the quality of democracy in a contemporary open and complex society.

The course aims at the:

  • examination of the issue whether administrative efficiency requirements affect in a negative manner (or ‘undermine’) morality standards and ethical concerns in practical politics and administration today
  • critical analysis of the particular elements that determine the quality of administrative performance in contemporary politics and governance.

Course contour

  • The significance of rational and scientific analysis in public policy and administration today
  • The scope of active and contemplative attitude in modern administrative thinking and theorizing
  • The question of leadership in politics and administration – a ‘novel’ approach coming from the ‘past’ (Plato’s Statesman)
  • An outline of moral thinking today
  • Personal and collective aspects of ethics and morality (‘the soul and the city’)
  • Can Politics and Administration be immoral?
  • Basic ethics – minima moralia administrativa
  • Hard problems in complex conditions – moral dilemmas and how to tackle them
  • Rawls, Nozick, and Habermas: what do they teach us for policy analysis and public administration
  • The perspective and potential of moral reflexivity

Learning outcomes

After successful completion of the course students are expected to be familiar enough with the:

  • basic aspects of moral thinking in modern administrative policy and public governance
  • most significant theoretical models and paradigms of leadership types in public institutions.