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Card-index course

Comparative Public Administrations

Administration publique comparée

Responsible Faculty: Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration

Teacher(s): Josef Philipp Trein

Validity: 2019 ->

Course Timetable (Weekly)

Date Location Notice Topics Lecturer(s)
2020/2021 : Tuesday 09:00-12:00 (Weekly) IDHEAP/005    
- 24.11.2020
- 15.12.2020


Autumn semester
3 hours per week
36 hours per semester
Teaching language(s): French
Public: Yes
Credits: 4.50


The course aims at providing to the participants information related to the theories and the practices allowing them to enter a comparative logic of the public administrations. Certainly, the international, even national comparison, of the various administrations is in itself an objective. But this comparison, however useful and interesting it can appear, is feasible only if the course offers the possibility of being familiarized with the main variables, exogenous and endogenous, which influence directly or indirectly the development of the public administrations, their structures, their culture, the processes of management, the relations of power, etc.

The study of these different variables, which impact on the structuring and the functioning of public administrations, will be the main aim of the course. Furthermore, it will provide informations with respect to the diverse existing typologies of public administrations. The aim of these typologies is to examine differences and similarities between administrative traditions, cultures, and structures.


Twelve half-days of course aim at the following objectives:
- To integrate the reflection on the administrations into a more global societal and economic context.
- To underline the main challenges with which the administrations is nowadays confronted.
- To understand the new forms of regulation and state interventions.
- To study the principles and tools management of the public administrations and to also understand the ideological bases of them.
- To be capable of knowing the main organizational variables which influence the functioning of public organizations.
- Being able to think and argue with respect to the advantages and the inconveniences of the current reforms in terms of public governance.
- To bring to light the main convergences and the differences of the administrative systems of the OECD countries.


2 hours written exam without any documentation.


Boin, A., P. t'Hart, E. Stern, B. Sundelius. (2016). The Politics of Crisis Management: Public Leadership under Pressure. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Giauque, D., et Emery, Y. (2008). Repenser la gestion publique: bilan et perspectives en Suisse. PPUR.

Giauque, D. (2013). « L'administration publique fédérale suisse en comparaison internationale: à la recherche d'une tradition administrative. » In A. Ladner, J.-L. Chappelet, Y. Emery , P. Knoepfel, L. Mader, N. Soguel, & F. Varone (Eds.), Manuel d'administration publique suisse (pp. 31-43). Lausanne: Presses Polytechniques et universitaires romandes.

Lipsky, M. (2010[1981]). « SLB as Policy Makers », Chapitre 2. In M. Lipsky. Street-Level Bureaucracy. The Dilemmas of the Individual in Public Services. New-York; Russel Sage.

Painter, M., & Peters, B. G. (Eds.). (2010). Tradition and Public Administration. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Pollitt C. & Bouckaert G. (2017). Public Management Reform. A Comparative Analysis. Into the Age of Austerity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Zacka, B. (2017). When the State Meets the Street: Public Service and Moral Agency. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Use contextFaculty codeStatusCredits
Master en sciences et pratiques de l'éducation (2014 ->) ›› Master en sciences et pratiques de l'éducation, programme avec spécialisation à 30 crédits, Organisations et transitions, enseignements à choixOptional4.50
Master of Arts (MA) in Public Management and Policy (2013 ->) ›› Public Administration and ManagementCompulsory4.50
Plan libre idheap (2013 ->) ›› Plan libre idheapOptional4.50
Plan libre idheap (2018 ->) ›› Plan libre idheapOptional4.50
Canton de Vaud
Swiss University
Unicentre  -  CH-1015 Lausanne  -  Suisse  -  Tél. +41 21 692 11 11  -  Fax  +41 21 692 26 15