Spring 2025  |  PA 5011 Section 001: Dynamics of Public Affairs Organizations (56975)

Class Component:
3 Credits
Grading Basis:
A-F or Audit
Instructor Consent:
No Special Consent Required
Instruction Mode:
Completely Online
Class Attributes:
Online Course
Enrollment Requirements:
Public Policy major and minor or Human Rights major
Times and Locations:
Regular Academic Session
01/21/2025 - 05/05/2025
Tue, Thu 01:00PM - 02:15PM
Off Campus
Enrollment Status:
Open (0 of 32 seats filled)
Also Offered:
Course Catalog Description:
Critical analysis of organizations in the world of public affairs from multiple levels - including the individual, group, organization, and sector - and the dynamics of relationships among them. Develop actionable recommendations to improve organizational effectiveness in the context of multiple (often contested) prosocial purposes and conflicting stakeholder demands. Memo writing, case analyses, simulations, guest speakers, and self-awareness exercises
Class Notes:
Class will be offered REMOTE (synchronously online during the scheduled time). Students may contact Stacey Grimes (grime004@umn.edu) regarding registration.
Class Description:

Organizations pervade human life. They are sites of power, innovation and social change but can also be places that discourage initiative and reinforce inequalities found in society. Effective organizational management and leadership are critical to achieving broadly beneficial social, economic, and public value. The task is difficult because of the complexity of human behavior in organizations, constrained resources, competing demands of many stakeholders outside of the organization, and pervasive changes in the world we live in. Most of you will work in some kind of organization when you graduate and many, if not most, of you will be managers and leaders during your careers. This course will help prepare you to be an organizational leader in this realm, focusing on empowering you with the courage to act under uncertainty in order to strengthen the effectiveness of your organization. Furthermore, it aims to provide both "the forest" and "the trees", and give you practice in thinking back and forth between the different levels so that when you are working and approach a problem at one of these levels, you have an awareness of the complexity of the situation at the alternative level.

To create that foundation, we focus on different ways to analyze organizations and develop sound recommendations for change - leaders and managers must understand organizational complexity in order to act.This course introduces students to some of the major theoretical approaches to organizational analysis, including concepts from public administration, sociology, political science, organizational psychology, and management. Learning to use multiple perspectives is critical because all perspectives contribute to understanding how to develop and sustain effective organizations and, ultimately, to how well individuals can help create public value. By gaining insight across different theoretical perspectives, students will develop an understanding of how theories provide distinctive windows into understanding behavior in complex social settings. Throughout, you will come to see that organizations provide opportunities and constraints as well as power and privilege within particular contexts.

25% Participation
20% Reading Analysis Memos
30% Management Memos
15% Personal Reflection Essay
5% Group Norms
5% Personal User Manual
Class Format:
Pre-Recorded Lecture
50% Discussion
50% Small Group Activities
60-100 Pages Reading Per Week
25 Pages Writing Per Term
3 Organizational Management Memos
1 Personal Reflection Essay
Past Syllabi:
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/coelberg_PA5011_Spring2018.pdf (Spring 2018)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/coelberg_PA5011_Fall2017.pdf (Fall 2017)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/coelberg_PA5011_Spring2016.pdf (Spring 2016)
http://classinfo.umn.edu/syllabi/coelberg_PA5011_Fall2015.pdf (Fall 2015)
Instructor Supplied Information Last Updated:
16 January 2024

ClassInfo Links - Spring 2025 Public Affairs Classes

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