Postgraduate Modules: POL6320 - Governance and Public Policy

Module Code

POL 6320

Module Title

Governance and Public Policy


Level 4




30 credits

Taught by:

Professor Ian Bache and Dr Katherine Dommett

Module Description:

The role of the state and the effective implementation of public policies form central elements of contemporary political debates around the world. This module adopts a comparative approach in order to provide insights into the theory and practice of governance and public policy. It encourages students to reflect on how they interpret and define political events. This involves exploring the relationship between ‘governance’ and ‘government’, understanding the drivers behind these processes and reflecting on the changing nature of socio-political interactions and relationships.

This module is particularly aimed at students who may follow a career within the public sector
and as such seeks to locate state of the art academic research and theory within the contours of ‘real-world’ policy dilemmas. As such this module aims to cultivate: a sophisticated and nuanced approach to political analysis; conceptual clarity; analytical rigor; methodological awareness; an interest in theory-building; and intellectual maturity and curiosity.

Module Aims:

This module aims to provide an advanced level of understanding of governance and the policy making process. By the end of the module students will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of theories of the state, government and governance in relation to the policy-making process.
  • Apply conceptual tools to assess whether new forms of governance challenge traditional notions of the nation-state.
  • Demonstrate appropriate cognitive, communicative, and transferable skills, including the ability to evaluate advanced concepts and theories, to employ primary and secondary sources, to present reasoned and effective arguments in written and oral form, to make individual and group presentations, to pursue independent learning and to show critical judgement.

This module also equips students with a range of important transferrable skills, which are vital in terms of employability, including working independently as well as part of a team; managing a varied workload; assimilating and synthesising multiple theoretical ideas; constructing coherent, independent and critical arguments.

Module Schedule:

1 The Study of Governance
2 New Public Management
3 Central Strategic Capacity
4 Delegation and Autonomy
5 Public-Private Partnerships
6 Case Study #1 Rural Payments Agency
7 Regulation
8 Risk and Risk Analysis
9 Incentives and Sanctions
10 Patronage as Governance
11 Depoliticisation
12 Case Study #2 Governance of Old Age

Teaching Methods:

  • 12 * 2 hour lectures


  • Essay 1 (2,500 words) - 40% of mark
  • Essay 2 (3,500 words) - 60% of mark

Resources Available:

  • Individual feedback and guidance sessions with module tutors.
  • Detailed 20-page module handbook.
  • Dedicated module site on MOLE2.
  • Extensive library materials, including a wide variety of electronic and digitised resources.

Indicative Reading:

Bell, S. and Hindmoor, A. (2010) Rethinking Governance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Goldfinch, S and Wallis, J. (2009) International Handbook of Public Management Reform. London: Edward Elgar.

Kjaer, A. (2004) Governance. Cambridge: Polity.

Lane, J. (2000) The Public Sector: Concepts, Models and Approaches. London: Sage.

Painter, M and Pierre, J. (2005) Challenges to State Policy Capacity: Global Trends and Comparative Perspectives. London: Palgrave.

Pierre, J. (2000) Debating Governance. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Pierre, J and Peters, G. (2000) Governance, Politics and the State. Palgrave: London.

Pollitt, C and Bouckaert, G. (2004) Public Management Reform: A Comparative Analysis. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Rhodes, R. A. W. 1(997) Understanding Governance. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.

What our Students Say:

New module – comments unavailable