PADM 5450. International Public and NGO Management

Current as of May 5, 2018

home button

syllabus button

resources button



Master Schedule of Sessions and Assignments

Course Approach

The course develops from a general discussion of the differences between management of international public and NGO organizations and similar organizations at the national level or below, through an examination of the management process in the context of results-based management, which is the dominant approach taken in both public and non-governmental organizations. It then examines the application of analysis methods to specific organizations. The goal is to provide students with the tools to be intelligent consumers of international services, effective participants in their governance and, at an introductory level, how to evaluate them.


Requirements Each student will be expected to participate in a live session (in the classroom or on-line), answer weekly questions, participate in a simulation and produce a study of a specific program within a large organization or of a small organization. The topic should be decided early so that the participant can focus on that in the discussions of tools and functions. The final version of the paper will be due by e-mail by 8 December.
Course Organization

The course will largely be based on scheduled in-person sessions (which can also be joined on-line) with the professor. There is one section of the course, on Monday and Wednesday and also transmitted on-line. Students are expected to participate in the weekly sessions -- in-person or on-line. A recording of each session will be posted the day after the session for those who could not attend. A lecture text will be put up on the site by the Monday prior to the session..

The first session of the course will be held on 23 August 2018 from 10:10-11:25 in M Van Rensselaer Hall 280.


Participants are requested to purchase one text:

  • Thomas Weiss, Would the World Be Better Without the UN?, Cambridge, UK, Polity Press, 2018.

Participants may also want to purchase:

  • John Mathiason, Invisible Governance: International Secretariats in Global Politics, Bloomfield, CT.: Kumarian Press, 2007
  • Michael Barnett and Martha Finnemore, Rules For The World: International Organizations In Global Politics, Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.

Other required Internet and recommended readings will be referenced.

Simulation Participants will be part of a simulation for the first half of the course, working in teams. It will emphasize organizing a new international organization including through strategic planning as used in international organizations. The simulation will involve creating a medium-term plan, organization and staffing and biennial program budget for the new international organization, the Climate Change Emissions Verification Organization (CCEVO) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Participants will be the Program Planning Section attached to the Office of the Executive Secretary of the UNFCCC. There will be weekly discussions of progress with the Deputy Executive Secretary, who is in charge of verification, or an external consultant designated by her.
Responses to Session Questions For each of the weekly sessions, there are a series of questions to be addressed. Students are expected to provide short, one-sentence answers to each of the questions and send them to the graduate assistant for the course, Yinyin Xu, who will assemble them on Monday before class.
Final paper The final paper for the semester consists of a detailed management analysis of a programme being implemented by an international public organization or an international NGO. In some cases, where the organization has a limited, focussed purpose, the organization itself can be analyzed. Starting with its goals and objectives, the analysis should deconstruct its programmatic logic. Examining its vision, goals and objectives as stated in official documents, but looking critically for hidden or unstated objectives. Then looking at implementation in terms of performance indicators, either of the organization or that you posit. You will write the report as though you are a consultant hired by the organization to appraise its ability to deliver results. The paper should be in the form of a consultant's report.

In a graduate level course, the grade should be determined by whether the concepts and techniques being taught have been learned, found useful and used by the student. However, since the University requires grades, the course grade will be based on the following. Please note that a first draft of the final paper must be submitted on time for comments. Failure to do so reduces the grade.

Final paper
Participation in the simulation
Participation in the discussions and responses to session questions
Office hours

Prof. Mathiason's office hours for Fall 2018 will be on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:30-14:00 in MvR 3M29 or by Skype by appointment during the week. It is always best to reserve time by sending an advance e-mail.


Master Schedule of Sessions and Assignments

The Schedule is subject to change based on the Professor's travel schedule and there may be at least one interval session in September or October and it is possible that several sessions may be combined. Each session is in two parts, on Tuesday and Thursday.

Week of Section of course/Content of the session
August 23 1. Opening Session: Management of the International Regimes for the Verification of the Elimination of Weapons of Mass Destruction and for Emissions Reduction. The opening session will be a case study of how issues of international management affect international politics, that will also introduce the concept of a public management approach to examining international organizations. Institutions seeking to verify compliance with international arms control treaties have come under scrutiny and criticism by politicians in the United States especially and show both the possibilies and limitations of the international public sector to perform transnational functions effectively. Then, the session looks at another place where verification is needed: in the implementation of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. The session will be webcast using Zoom and recorded, with the recording in the course blackboard.
  The political context for management. This section of the course will discuss the role of international public and NGO management within the wider context of global governance. It will consider the theoretical context for examining international organizations as well as the main present day issues of their management within the international political system.
August 28 2. Managing non-sovereign public institutions and the role of results-based planning and evaluation. This session will discuss international public management in the context of international relations theory. It will examine the consequences of lack of sovereignty to management choices and institutional methods. It will introduce the growing role results-based management in international public and non-governmental organizations. Problems to be addressed by the Emissions Verification Organization and overall objectives due
September 4

3. The changing role of civil society in international management .This session will examine the increasing role of institutions of civil society in international governance. Specific objectives for the 2015-2020 Medium-Term Plan of the Verification Organization dueat close of business on 5 September.

  Management in specific functional areas: In each subject, we will discuss the relative roles of international public organizations and NGO's. The section is organized around five areas in which functions are performed. For each area, the structure and process of performing the function by delivering services will be examined, including major critical analyses that have been undertaken by the organizations concerned.
September 11 4. Regime creation. This session will examine how international agreements are negotiated and the role of international public and NGO secretariats in the process. It will examine the differences between bilateral and multi-lateral negotiation and the role of NGO's in conditioning outcomes. Revised specific objectives and expected outcomes for the 2018-2023 medium-term plan of the Emissions Verification Organization due.
September 18

5. Case: Climate Change. This session will look at the process of negotiating a climate change management regime including the role of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification and others. Performance indicators for outcomes and Output to be produced in the first biennium 2018-2019) by the Emissions Verification Organization and the activities necessary to produce them. Topic of final paper due. Should be a Word document with last name, first name and subject in the title and include a brief description of why the institution was chosen.

September 25

6. Norm enforcement. This session will look at how international agreements, once made, are enforced through the use of information and monitoring mechanisms and the factors that determine effectiveness in these activities. It will also look at the procedures for monitoring the Sustainable Development Goals that will have just been adopted. Final version of outcomes, performance indicators.

October 2

7. Internal management. This session will focus on how internal management can be made most effective. It will look at the application of concepts of "re-inventing government" and "results-based programming and budgeting" to the international public sector, including the role of NGOs in this. It will focus on program planning, budgeting, human resources and accountability.Organizational structure and personnel requirements for the CCEVO

October 11

Class will focus on group work on structure, budget and personnel
October 16 8. Case: the International Atomic Energy Agency. This session will look at a norm-enforcement organization that is well-established and is considered among the best-managed of the UN System ( the IAEA) showing how norm enforcement works, but also foreshadowing its role in international economic management. First outline of paper due. Final personnel requirements for the CCEVO

October 23

9. Peace and security. This session will look at the management of services to manage conflicts and humitarian relief in natural and man-made disasters. Draft program budget requirements 2018-2019 for CCEVO
October 30, November 1 10. Humanitarian action.This session will look at the growing area of humanitarian assistance as a consequence of conflicts, climate and other factors. Final program budget requirements 2016-2017 for CCEVO discussed..
November 6 11. International economic and social management (climate change, development, trade, finance, crime and health). This session will look at the role of international organizations in providing international public investment and regulatory services in the context of national development efforts, the role of UN system country teams and will introduce methods for appraising management effectiveness in this area. First draft of paper due on 10 November. [Drafts will be reviewed in the order received but should not be late!]

November 13

12. Case: UN Women. This session will look at a relatively new institution that is expected to help achieve the SDG on gender equality.

November 20, 27

13. Case: Greenpeace. This session will examine Greenpeace as an advocacy organization in the area of environment, including attention to its political constituency and the relationship of this with its effectiveness. It will also involve presentations of several papers.

December 4

14. Principles of International Management: This session will be a wrap up, will involve selective presentation of several papers, and will discuss the main lessons that can be learned about managing international organizations.
December 8 Final papers due! December 8!

© 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 John R. Mathiason. All Rights Reserved.