OADM2100 – Managing and leading public organizations

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

Choose semester

Course content

The course introduces two distinct perspectives on public organizations:

  • The management perspective implies a focus on different ways of providing public services and the ensuing consequences for public managers and citizens. A key aspect of the course will be trade-offs and paradoxes in the design of service delivery – the distinct benefits and problems of alternative modes of service delivery.
  • The leadership perspective focuses on how public organization and their leaders cope with change in a complex environment placing multiple and contradicting demands on the organization. Topics include the distinctiveness of leadership in public organizations, different types of leadership authority, leadership as institution-building and public leadership in times of crisis.

Learning outcome


You will obtain knowledge about

  • specific management challenges in the public sector
  • alternative ways of service delivery and their implications
  • key themes and concepts in the study of public leadership
  • leadership challenges in different types of public organizations


You will

  • be able to provide an overview of the issues that are central to the study of public management and leadership
  • learn how to analyse management and leadership challenges in the public and private sector
  • increase your analytical skills for understanding how public organizations work
  • be able to structure academic texts with research questions that the student has chosen him-/herself or that are pre-defined.
  • be able to relate a research question to the academic literature in the area and assess how the choice of research question determines the choices of research design, the need for sources/data and the research method.
  • be able to communicate academic knowledge in writing and orally and provide constructive criticism of other students’ assignments.


You will

  • acquire a critical-analytical approach to managing and leading public organisations
  • gain analytical and methodological competences for the systematic study of social phenomena
  • not learn how to become a leader, but instead acquire a better understanding of the challenges of being a leader


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.

This course is not available for single course students.


Lectures and seminars

Compulsory activities

  • Attend the first seminar
  • Present your term paper
  • Comment on other students' papers
  • Pass 3 hour qualification test 

The seminars are taught in English, and the papers handed in must be written in English.

See the seminar guidelines for more information about the seminars.

See the rules for reassignment of seminar groups and the guidelines for compulsory acitivities.

Absence from compulsory activities

If you are ill or have another valid reason for being absent from compulsory activities, your absence may be approved or the compulsory activity may be postponed.



  • term paper (maximum 3500 words).
  • you must pass the compulsory activities in order to take the exam.


Submit assignments in Inspera

You submit your assignment in the digital examination system Inspera. Read about how to submit your assignment.

Use of sources and citation

You should familiarize yourself with the rules that apply to the use of sources and citations. If you violate the rules, you may be suspected of cheating/attempted cheating.

Examination support material

Students may use dictionaries at this exam. Dictionaries must be handed in before the examination. Please read regulations for dictionaries permitted at the examination.

Language of examination

The examination text is given in English, and you submit your response in English.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Explanations and appeals

Ask for explanation of your grade in this course.

Resit an examination

If you are sick or have another valid reason for not attending the regular exam, we offer a postponed exam later in the same semester.

See also our information about resitting an exam.

Mandatory activities were introduced from spring 2016. Students who have completed the course before spring 2016 and who wish to improve their grade, must pass the mandatory activities in order to resit the exam.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.

Facts about this course






Every spring


Every spring

Teaching language