The course's main goal is to instruct students in making in-depth inquiries into complex cases of ill-fated policies and organizations based on causal process tracing and a chosen theoretical framework. This is done through the analysis of organizational failure and public policy disasters from a variety of perspectives in an attempt to enable students to assess the risks of failure and to contribute to appropriate risk avoidance strategies.
The overall purpose is threefold: Academically, the causal reconstruction of organizational failure and public policy disasters is crucial to the understanding of political and administrative pathologies of any kind. Practically, the careful analysis of complex causal interaction is a craft required in the professional sphere many students will be working in. In a normative perspective, finally, acknowledging that both the occurrence and the causal reconstruction of political and administrative pathologies takes place in a highly politicized environment that challenges non-partisan, thoroughgoing analyses is crucial to the development of professional skills that combine sound democratic values with goal-oriented pragmatism. After all, understanding the nature of public policy disasters instils a sober perception of the role of academics and intellectuals as public officials.
This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.