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Profile description of the research in the section for Public Administration

Research focus
The Public Administration section aims to improve management and organization in the public sector. We do this by conducting high-quality research at an international level and by providing relevant and useful knowledge to a wide variety of societal actors, i.e. students, public administrators, politicians and other decision makers, practitioners, civil society etc.

 Elected government officials and public administrators in economically advanced democracies confront multiple challenges. From coping with economic problems, the outbreak of a global financial crisis, to the day-to-day management and innovation of public agencies and organizations. Furthermore, governmental capabilities to address such challenges with appropriate responses are typically constrained by a wide range of formal and informal institutional characteristics. The Public Administration section focuses on research agendas which make a difference to existing problems and challenges in the public sector today. The section is dedicated to study such challenges both theoretically and empirically. Therefore, researchers in the Public Administration section focus on Management and leadership, Organization and structure, Economy, Innovation, Personnel policy and HR practices, Incentive structures and employees’ behavior, Autonomy and Ethics in public organizations. The Public Administration section conducts research in a wide range of public organizations ranging from central to local governments as well as in other major public organizations.

Research methods
Research in the Public Administration section is characterized by strong and rigorous methodological approaches. Researchers in the section are highly skilled in a wide variety of research designs and methods ranging from quantitative experimental approaches and advanced statistical techniques to qualitative approaches such as case studies, QCA and practice-based research. Many researchers in the section also engage in mixed methods research. 

Knowledge Exchange
Researchers in the Public Administration section are exceedingly engaged in knowledge dissemination to a broader audience. They continuously contribute to public debates in news media and professional networks. They also participate in facilitation and evaluation of practitioner networks, independent committees and in international research consortiums with high relevance and social impact. They furthermore participate as experts at various public events and act as formal and informal reviewers of public reports, PhD dissertations, etc.

Teaching activities
The Public Administration section is responsible for teaching at the BA and MA level at Political Science. Members of the section have developed and taught the following core courses at the BA level: ‘Philosophy of Science and Method 1’, ‘Method 2’, ‘Method 3’, ‘Public Administration and Organization’. At the MA level the section has offered several courses, i.e. ‘Advanced Quantitative Methods’, ‘Advanced Qualitative Methods’, ‘Strategic Management’, ‘HR practices in modern flexible work’, ‘Performance management, motivation and learning’, ‘Public financial management’, ‘Public innovation and welfare’, ‘Dilemmas and interactions between politicians and civil servants’, etc. The section has a public administration course package (fagpakke) which provides the students with management and leadership skills as well as selected administrative competencies they are able to benefit from in their future career tracks within both the public and private sector.

The section is, moreover, in charge of two professional executive master programmes; Master of Public Management and Master of Public Governance. The section offers a wide range of courses at the professional masters, among others: ‘Organization theory’, ‘Management and psychosocial work environment’, ‘Strategic Management’, ‘HRM’, ‘Personal leadership development’, ‘Performance management’ ‘Strategic negotiation in practice’, ‘Work and organizational psychology’, ‘Organizational change and innovation in the public sector’.

Finally, the section engages in cross-departmental teaching activities and offers different courses in i.e. ‘Public Administration in the health sector’, ‘Globalization and transformation of the State’, ‘Comparative public administration’.


Overview of research publications and activities

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As a part of the strategy work at the department in 2015, the section for Public Administration formulated a strategy for the coming five years. This stragety was revised in 2017

Read the strategy