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Political Science 650: Public Administrative Theory

L. Nitz, M 5:30-7:00, Business Administration D301

Tel: 956-8665, e-mail:


This is a course in administrative theory. We will take a definite modernist approach to building and understanding
theory, while keeping the classics of the field ready at hand. The discussion of the course will center on Hatch’s
treatment of the perspectives from which theory may be viewed, and Mogan’s notion of images of public organizations.
We will introduce methods for building and simulating organizations, using Gilbert’s introduction to agent based models,
and the Carley & Prietula presentation of a whole range of different approaches to building organization models.

Several software packages that facilitate modeling of organizations and processes will be introduced during the
semester: NetLogo, StarLogo, Swarm, Repast and AnyLogic. Most of these platforms are available at no cost to
academic users.

Class participants will produced two short models of bureaucratic processes based on traditional literature in the first
half of the semester. In the second half, participants will model a more complex entity, in which the effect of changes in
the organization environment may be explored. No particular statistical background is required, but students will be
working with model building toolkits.


Computational Organization Theory . 1994.Editors Kathleen M. Carley,

Michael J. Prietula . L. Earlbaum Associates, Inc. Hillsdale, NJ.

Nigel Gilbert. annotated Agent-Based Models (Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences) edition(September 14,
2007) . Sage Publications, Inc; ISBN-10: 1412949645
ISBN-13: 978-1412949644

Mary Jo Hatch. Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives [Paperback]. Oxford University
Press, USA . ISBN-10: 0198774907; 978-0198774907 .

Gareth Morgan. Images of Organization ; Sage Publications, Inc; Updated edition (May 9, 2006). ISBN-10: 1412939798;
ISBN-13: 978-1412939799.

Jay M. Shafritz , J. Steven Ott, Yong Suk Jang. Classics of Organization Theory. Wadsworth Publishing; 7 edition (January
1, 2010) . ISBN-10: 0495569410; ISBN-13: 978-0495569411.

An important note on the texts. At least one of the text, Classics of Organization Theory, is currently priced over $100.
Since there is no special reason to use the 2010 version of a collection of classic texts, and most of the volumes are a
couple of years old, I suggest that you obtain the books as used texts from an internet seller. Please order in time to
have at least Hatch and Carley & Prietula before classes begin.