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Program: Public Administration
Course Number: XXXX
Course: Organization Theory and Behavior: Organizing for Critical Infrastructure

Protection University of XXXXXX Fall/Spring Semester 20XX


PROFESSOR: Telephone Number: Office Location: Office Hours:

Email: Website:

The protection of critical infrastructure in the face of natural and man-made threats encompasses a wide range of proactive and reactive systems. “Critical infrastructure” is defined by Federal law as “systems and assets, whether physical or virtual, so vital to the United States that the incapacity or destruction of such systems and assets would have a debilitating impact on security, national economic security, national public health or safety, or any combination of those matters.”1
The organizational challenges posed by this task are substantial. Organizing to protect these infrastructure assets requires the design and management of governmental organizations, inter- agency and intergovernmental networks, and public-private partnerships in such a way that they become highly reliable, responsive, adaptive, and capable of learning. By design, training, and management, these organizations must perform dependably both during normal operations and during crises to engage proactively and reliably with network partners, to communicate and exchange key information securely in real-time, and to exhibit the leadership and cultural characteristics that make coordination and responsiveness possible.
This course is designed to contribute to the accomplishment of these goals by introducing concepts and research relevant to designing organizations that are poised to identify and respond to emerging threats. These requirements are reflected in the course topics outlined below,
including the design and maintenance of reliable structures, dependable inter-organizational relations, robust communication channels, decision systems capable of learning from experience, and the leadership, motivational, and cultural characteristics necessary to support these systems.
This course is designed to enable learners to:
1. Recognize traditional organizational design options and their strengths and limitations.

2. Become aware of recent design options based on self-organizing and adaptive organizational systems.

3. Develop familiarity with the ideas of organizational risk, uncertainty, complexity, and reliability.

4. Recognize the structural and cultural characteristics common to highly-reliable organizations.

5. Identify the basic forms of communication networks, and the features that facilitate and impede their effective functioning.

6. Recognize and describe the variety of mechanisms for inter-organizational coordination and the administrative, technical, and political challenges they pose.

7. Recognize organizational information processing and the relationships between information and various means of decision-making and learning.

8. Recognize and develop an appreciation for the behavioral, cultural, and political requirements of effective leadership.

9. Identify some of the conditions and techniques for organizational change and transformation.
This course requires the active and informed participation of everyone in the class. All learners will be expected to have read and thoughtfully considered each week's reading assignments. Participation includes contributing to in-class case discussions, asking and responding to questions about the readings, and offering views on the personal incident analysis presentations. Learners who must miss more than two classes will be encouraged to take the course another semester since so much of the course material will be taught through discussion of readings and management cases.
Thoughtful, timely reading of class assignments, thorough preparation of public management discussion cases, and informed participation in class discussions of the cases are the first requirements. Readings will be taken up on the week they are listed in the schedule below.
Written assignments include an incident analysis based on your own experience. This autobiographical analysis should be around 10-15 pages in length. Learners with no

organizational experience will have the opportunity to analyze the events described in a published public management case as arranged with the instructor. There will also be a take- home midterm and a set of final take-home essays in which learners can describe what they have discovered about organization theory and their own management strategies.

The written case analysis will be weighted 40% of the final grade, the mid-term exam will be 15%, and the final exam, 25%. A record of informed participation in discussions of readings and cases will count 20% in determining the final grade.
Several cases describing a public management problem applicable to infrastructure protection and crisis management are listed in the syllabus below. Learners will first discuss the case in groups to identify and prioritize the problems exhibited in the case and to propose directions for solutions. Groups will then report their findings to the class and compare approaches. We will pay particular attention to concepts, theories, or research findings in the week’s readings in analyzing these problems and in suggesting solutions. These discussions will form part of the participation grade for the course. They also help prepare students to think about alternative approaches to solving organizational problems in critical infrastructure protection.
At the end of the semester, learners will prepare and present a case description and analysis of their own personal organizational experience, typically how a problem or conflict that arose was (or should have been) resolved. Learners can begin by describing the situation or events at the heart of the case and then explaining why the problem arose and what was done or what might have been done to improve the situation. This explanation must use course concepts, theories, or research findings and make explicit citations to these ideas. Learners may identify an action or decision that represented an organizational success, again explaining what happened and why the action was successful using the concepts and theories from the course. Be sure to make explicit reference to particular theories, authors, and research from course readings. In the end, the analysis should show us what we can learn from the incident about how to manage well.
Grades for the autobiographical cases will be based on the clarity and colorfulness of the description of the event, the specificity and appropriateness of the theories and research used to analyze the event, and the reasonableness of the discussion of management solutions. The case analysis invites learners to stand back from an event and use the ideas, research, and theory in the course to stimulate their thinking about ways to approach managerial problems. The purpose of the assignment is to provide an opportunity to illustrate the use of theory in practice. Doing so will lead to a wider capacity for innovation and problem solving. Proper citations of articles and books should be used for all assignments in the course. See the following website to link to a description of the APA citation or Author Date System which is generally preferred in the social sciences:

A brief oral presentation of the autobiographical case analyses will be made in class at the end of the semester. Presentations should be about 10 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of discussion and feedback from the class. This is an opportunity to see what other learners are doing and to get further insight into your own experiences. Presentation will count toward the grade on this assignment, but the main emphasis is on the written work.

The required books for this class include:
Doris Graber, The Power of Communication: Managing Information in Public Organizations, (2003).
Hal Rainey, Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, 4th ed., (2010). Edgar Schein, The Corporate Culture Survival Guide, (2009).

A number of other required readings will be available online or through your library article retrieval or reserve system.

A number of other required readings will be available online or through electronic journal or electronic reserve through the library website.
Other readings are drawn from:
Charles Perrow, Normal Accidents, 2nd edition (1999).
Jay M. Shafritz, J. Steven Ott, and Yong Suk Jang (eds.), Classics of Organization Theory, Multiple editions
Charles T. Goodsell, Mission Mystique: Belief Systems in Public Agencies, (Washington D.C.: CQ Press, 2010).
Terry Newell, Peter Ronayne, and Grant Reeher, The Trusted Leader: Building the Relationships that Make Government Work, 2nd edition, (Washington D.C.: CQ Press, 2011).
Some suggested cases for in-class discussion are from the Electron Hallway, Evans School of

Public Affairs, University of Washington,
A number of other required readings will be available online or through your library article retrieval or reserve system.


1. Learning Goals/Objectives: Offer learners an introduction to the analysis of public organizations and the ways in which organizational characteristics affect the capacity for critical infrastructure protection. Learners will:

• Identify the basic characteristics of large complex organizations and some of the differences and similarities between governmental, non-profit, and private organizations.

• Recognize the particular challenges and rewards of managing in the public sector.

• Discuss the place of organizational and inter-organizational systems in infrastructure protection.

• Identify the formal governmental organizations that are involved in critical infrastructure protection and the private and non-profit organizations that are part of this system.

• Identify some of the special organizational and managerial challenges that characterize the inter-organizational system on which infrastructure protection depends.

2. Required Reading:
National Infrastructure Protection Plan: Partnering to Enhance Protection and Resiliency, Executive Summary, (2009),
U.S. Government Accountability Office, Department Of Homeland Security: Progress Made and

Work Remaining In Implementing Homeland Security Missions 10 Years After 9/11, GAO-11-

Hal Rainey, Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, Chapter 1: The Challenge of

Effective Public Management and Chapter 3: What Makes Public Organizations Distinctive.


1. Learning Goals/Objectives: Provide background on the traditional bureaucratic form and classic approaches to the design of organizational structures. Learners will:

• Identify the defining characteristics of traditional bureaucracy and the forces that shaped its evolution.

• Consider the ways in which the American public service sector constitutes a bureaucracy, and the way the bureaucratic form is here and in other nations is still evolving.

• Recognize the organizational and managerial processes that are represented in an organization chart.

• Consider the chief characteristics of the structure of an organization and the choices to be made regarding design of large, complex organizational structures, such as the chain of command, centralized or decentralized decision structures.

Recognize the tradeoffs, the particular advantages and limitations, of alternative design choices, especially regarding the coordination of tasks and office processes.

2. Discussion Questions:
• What are the defining characteristics of traditional bureaucracy? What are the forces that shaped its evolution?

• What are the ways in which the American public service sector constitutes a bureaucracy, ? How is the bureaucratic form here and in other nations evolving?

• What are the principal advantages of a centralized structure? A decentralized structure?

• What are the advantages of program-based departments over functional departments? When are geographic and client-based departments useful? Where are the coordination pressures in each of these designs?

• When is the principal of unity of command violated in a matrix design? What are the tradeoffs?

• What are the key advantages in the different models of job design. ? Under which model would you like your job to be designed?

3. Required Reading:
Hal Rainey, Understanding and Managing Public Organizations, Chapter 8, pp. 201-204 and

Max Weber, “Bureaucracy,” in Classics of Organization Theory.

Luther Gulick, “Notes on the Theory of Organization,” in Classics of Organization Theory.
Davis and Lawrence, “The Matrix Organization: Who Needs It?” Classics of Organization Theory.

Michael A. Campion, et al., “Work Redesign: Eight Obstacles and Opportunities,” Human Resource Management, 44(4), (Winter 2005), 367–390,

James Q. Wilson, Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do and Why They Do It, Chapters

1- 2, pp. 3-28.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Critical Infrastructure Resource Center:

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