COURSE OUTLINE                                                                   Dr. Theodore R. Mosch

Political Science 361                                                                  Room 216, Humanities

Introduction to Public Administration                                              Phone: 901/587-7481


                                                                                                Office Hours:



            Every American is directly involved with government in countless ways.  In short, each of us is involved with public administration whether it be on the local, state, or national level.  Voter registration, motor vehicle licensing, social security are all examples of public administration.  And one should also mention the United States Postal Service, which affects every citizen of the nation.  Ours has been an age of bigness, and big government, especially on state and national levels, has been characteristic.  And it continues to be an important political issue.  Many candidates claim the growth of the national bureaucracy may actually destroy the federal system; others respond that the national government is the only level with sufficient expertise and resources to properly administer needed programs.  During recent presidential administrations, a new focus took place, that of returning responsibilities to the states and their subordinate layers of government.  Also the issue of privatization has become a continuous theme. This has become a time of reflection, a time to look more closely at programs and the role of governments on all levels.  And with this, costs deserve special attention.  Most noteworthy here is the ever-increasing national government debt.


            Government will always be with us and hence, public administration, unless, as James Madison wrote in the FEDERALIST PAPERS,  men become angels.  And that day still appears somewhat distant.  But an elemental question in regard to public bureaucracy remains; that is:  What should be the proper role of government?


            The answer to this question determines the essence of one’s political philosophy.  Is government only to endorse contracts, protect citizens, and provide for the national defense?  Or is it also to provide minimal educational, social, and medical benefits for all?  In talking with citizens from other countries, one detects vast differences on what “essential services” really are.


GOAL:  Although this vital question will emerge again and in this course, the focus of Political Science 361 will be two-fold.  First, to look at the development of public administration in the United States, with some references to programs in other countries.  Major themes will include:  organizational theory, leadership, decision-making, management, budgeting, ethics, personnel, and intergovernmental relations.  Major emphasis will also be placed on issues in the field.  The READER will provide good insight into these issues through case studies.  A second goal is to keep students current on state-local, national, and international affairs.  The world community has become more interdependent; a look at the foreign investment in Tennessee confirms this.  About 26 percent of all land in West Tennessee is owned by foreign investors. In addition, many plants from international companies have been established in Tennessee. To keep abreast of current events, students are to read NEWSWEEK.


            The following course in this sequence, Political Science 362, deals with public policies.


            The impersonal effect of bigness in government has been a real concern to many.  Some point to George Orwell’s 1984  and see his predictions coming true.  Others cite Professor C. Northcote Parkinson’s PARKINSON’S LAW  and again see applications in today’s society.  The impersonal is, of course, not confined to government.  Labor unions, corporations, education, churches also have bureaucracies.  Not only is there the problem of feeling worth in a big organization, but there is the challenge of change.  In this regard President Truman’s description of then President-elect Eisenhower is most pertinent.  “Poor Ike – it won’t be like the army.  He’ll give out executive orders for this and that. But nothing will be done. He’ll find it most frustrating.”  This resistance to change in bureaucracy is, of course, universal in application. The former Soviet Union gives us an excellent example of how a bureaucracy becomes self-perpetuating.  As a result, General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika (restructuring) plans became much more difficult than those of glasnost (openness).


            The United States has undergone considerable change in its approach to government during the period 1981-89.  The Reagan Presidency cut back on funds to states and localities. The Revenue Sharing Program ended. This was due in part to President Reagan’s ideology and also because of the lack of resources on the national level, especially with the escalating national debt.  The conservative ideology claims the national government through a maze of grants undermined the states; governors and legislatures followed Washington D.C. and became subordinates, not equal partners in the federal system. The cuts in funds mean less restrictions on the states; thus, the 50 states will take initiatives in many areas.  This  may mean more powerful states in the federal system.


            Opponents of this approach, which also involves heavy emphasis on privatization, claim the national government is needed to provide minimum standards for essential services.  Without its role, citizens will not have quality opportunities.  Why?  The vast disparity among the states in regard to resources. Also states are in some cases not willing to commit themselves to acceptable services.  Former President Jimmy Carter is among the proponents of active national government involvement to ensure adequate services.  This may cut into state prerogatives; however, the goal is to ensure a better America for all.  This debate over the relationship between our two governmental levels originates with the founding of the republic and will continue. 






            William C. Johnson.  PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION, POLICY, POLITICS AND PRACTICE.  Second Edition.  ISBN 1-56134-425-7 . Madison, WI: Brown and Benchmark, 1996.  This book focuses on major aspects of public administration.  These include:  the characteristics of a bureaucracy, intergovernmental relations, the development of public policies, government regulation, the relationship between the public and private sectors, leadership, decision-making, personnel management, budgetary considerations, implementation, evaluation, and administrative accountability.  This text is well-written and well-organized.









            I have gathered 30 case studies, 15 of which I wrote after research in the summer of 1995.  Two concern Tennessee issues:  TVA’s Tellico Dam Project and the I-40 Overton Park Controversy.   Copies of the READER will be placed on reserve in the library.  The purpose of these studies is to share public administration issues and to stimulate discussion.





Students are to read a newspaper or magazine on a weekly basis to obtain an up-date on current events.  There are many available in the library.  These include: TIME, NEWSWEEK, US. NEWS & WORLD REPORT.  There are an array of national newspapers, including: THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL, THE WASHINGTON POST, AND THE NEW YORK TIMES.  Local and state newspapers should also be of interest because they focus on public policies.  The class will try to devote time on a weekly basis on current events.  Students are to ready on a weekly basis to be prepared.


Public television and public radio are also excellent sources for keeping up on current events.




            Each student is to give an oral report on some public administration issue. The 30 issues covered in the Reader could be used although the professor will be covering some in detail.  The topics for the oral reports must be different; assignment will be on a first-come, first-served basis.  You can develop your own topic, including case studies. Two come to mind concerning aviation: the Valujet Crash (Florida) and the TWA Disaster (New York City area) and the aftermath. Students selecting cases from the READER will be asked to give their reports the week the cases have been assigned.  You need to get approval of the topic from the instructor.


Evaluation of the Oral Report


60 pts      I. Organization (Background Information, explanation of the case/issue) Use of visual aids.


20 pts      II. Personal Commentary.  (Did the presenter give reactions?  Was there analysis?)


20 pts     III.  Discussion (Was there an exchange of views in the class?  Did the presenter elicit discussion?)


The specific schedule of oral presentations will be made at the beginning of the course.  You need to decide on a topic early and to start your research. This is one-fifth of the course grade.


Course Grade Determination


            Test 1 (Assignments 1 – 5)          25 percent

            Test 2 (Assignments 6 – 10)        25 percent

             Test 3 (Assignments 11 – 16)      25 percent

Oral Report                                 25 percent


                                                            100 percent



Make-Up Examinations


            Those missing major examinations for legitimate reasons will be allowed to take a make-up.   These will be essays. Bring blue books. The make-up exams will be held between 6 – 8 a.m. in Room 204 Humanities on ______________________________________.


Seating Chart


            This will be programmed after the first several sessions; students will decide where they wish to locate.


Grading Scale


            95 – 100    A

            85 – 94      B

            75 – 84      C

            65 – 74      D

             0 -   64      F


Class Attendance.


            Class attendance is critical in obtaining the maximum from courses; excessive absences will affect the grade.


Tuesday/Thursday Classes.  Three cuts are automatically excused.   After that each cut will result in a 1.5 point reduction from the final course grade average.


Monday/Wednesday/Friday Classes.  Five cuts are automatically excused. After that each cut will result in a 1 point reduction from the final course average.


            Of course, those in legitimate university activities or experiencing illness will merit additional excused absences.  Such excuses must be verified.


See web site or circulation desk, university library, for complete course outline.



Date        Assignment               Text (Wm C. Johnson)                    READER (On Reserve in

Due                                                                                                the library)




                  1                                Ch. 1. Public Admin.               The TVA Tellico Dam Project,

                                                   pp. 1-28.                                   I-40 Overton Park Controversy




                  2                            Ch. 2. The Anatomy of             Nuclear Waste Site, East

                                                Administration, pp 29-59.        Tennessee; Affirmative Action




                  3                            Ch 3. The Political                     Love Canal, Postscript on

                                                Dynamics of Bureaucracy,        on Love Canal

                                                pp. 60-93.




                4                                  Ch. 4. Administration in          Centralia No. 5,

                                                  the Intergovernmental             Radium Tragedy, Ottawa,

                                                 Net, pp.94-128.                          Illinois




               5                               Ch. 5. The Sources of                 Imperial Foods Plant

                                                Public Policy, pp. 129-160.        Tragedy, Nuclear Fallout





Examination 1 (Assignments 1 –  5)   (25 %)




             6                                 Ch. 6. Business Regulation        Meat Inspection Indictment,

                                                 by Government, pp. 161-188.    MOVE Disaster 




            7                                      Ch. 7. Public/ Administrative    The $50 Billion Calamity—

                                                 Relationships, pp.189-215.         S&L Scandal,

                                                                                                   Swine Flu Controversy




8                                  Ch. 8. Public Administration     Case of Flight 320,

                                                and its Publics, pp. 216-244.       Space Shuttle Challenger





            9                                  Ch. 9. Administrative                     Road to Abscam, the

                                                Leadership and Management,       Changing FBI,

                                                pp. 245-276.                                        Gays and Lesbians in

                                                                                                       the Military




          10                                  Ch. 10. Planning and Decision-     Continuing Attack on

                                                Making in Public Agencies,            Smoking, Terms Limits on

                                                pp. 277-302.                                         Congress




Examination 2 (Assignments 6 – 10)  25%




            11                                Ch. 11. Public Personnel               The Whistle Blowers,

                                                Management, pp. 303-342.              Mayor  Dinkins of NYC




            12                                Ch. 12. The Administration of        Decision to use Atomic

                                                Public Money, pp. 343-376                  Bombs in World War II,

                                                                                                       The Bay of Pigs Fiasco




            13                                Ch. 13. Implementing Public          Vietnam Cover-up,

                                                Policy, pp. 377-403.                       Vietnam War: Case of

                                                                                                       Sunken  Resources




            14                                Ch. 14. Evaluating Public        Target Quadafi,

                                                Policies and Programs,                   Decision to Liberate

                                                pp. 404-430.                                        Kuwait



            15                                Ch. 15. Administrative                             The Cuban Missile Crisis,

                                                Accountability, pp. 431-460.            Gulf War—Friendly Fire





Examination 3 (Assignments 11 – 15)  25%