Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs

PA 278 Public Leadership (*)


Leadership is one of the most important but perplexing topics in the public sector; almost all agree its important, but we often disagree about what it actually means, or how to study it. This course aims to demystify the role of leadership in a public setting. We will draw on research from public management, psychology and organization studies to help students how leadership manifests itself in the public sector. This means understanding how to set goals, the motivation of those around you, how to engage and negotiate with stakeholders, managing change, making decisions, and exhibiting ethical behavior. The class will mix research with practical examples. The class starts with the assumption that while there are some general traits relevant across public, private and non-profit sectors, the nature of these sectors is different, and this affects how these traits function in practice. The class will involve guest lectures with leaders in the public sector. These include political officials, such as politicians or political appointees, senior career managers, and nonprofit leaders.

Learn more about the Undergraduate Certificate in Public Policy

Syllabus Spring 2020


(*) = Routinely Offered

(**) = Commonly Offered (very likely to be offered in the next one to three years)