Public Management Models

Base Knowledge

The curricular unit is characterized by interdisciplinary interdependence in the areas of management, economics, law, sociology of organizations, accounting, public policies and political science. However, such interdependence does not presuppose, or require, in advance, the assumption of basic or recommended knowledge, considered essential for approval in the curricular unit. Obviously, familiarization with the area of knowledge of management and public policies can be a critical factor for better learning success for students.

Teaching Methodologies

The student-oriented methodology aims to enhance reflection, critical spirit, and debate of ideas, aiming to deepen and clarify a set of knowledge, practices and particularities that characterize public management and its organizations. In this, and to achieve this objective, it is proposed that a set of diversified strategies be developed:

  • interactive dialogue;
  • powerpoint presentation using theoretical presentations of the syllabus, combined with the possibility of practical cases prepared in accordance with the objectives of the curricular unit;
  • oral and direct presentation of the material on the board;
  • analysis and discussion of texts on the themes under analysis;
  • participation at the invitation (in the context of an open class) of social actors (who, through their testimony and experience in the area of public management, can awaken students’ interest and curiosities regarding the realities experienced in the context of public organizations), and who therefore via, it can contribute to bringing theoretical teaching closer together, aligning it, as much as possible, with the experience of reality brought from the field/reality.

Learning Results

The main objective of this curricular unit is the understanding, apprehension, and application, by the student body, of the elementary concepts of public management and its vicissitudes, as opposed to the management of private entities. Taking advantage of management knowledge, the objective of this course is also to transmit to students a set of knowledge and skills in strategic planning in the field of public administration.

As accountability constitutes a reference indicator that several international organizations consider relevant to assess the governance of a country and, consequently, its level of social and economic development, it is important to highlight and convey to students the importance of this concept, as well as the practices which should guide public administration workers and managers and emphasize the need for greater transparency and accountability in public organizations.

In this logic, this curricular unit has the following specific objectives:

  • to provide solid training in public management;
  • to recognize in the governance process different types of horizontal and vertical interactions between different levels of government and different public and private actors and other sectors;
  • to understand the growing importance attributed by different international organizations to the role of governance and its impact on public management;
  • to identify the different models of public management and their distinctive characteristics;
  • to equip students with the ability to critically appreciate issues that exist today regarding the lines of reform underway in the public sector;
  • to understand the functioning and evolution of public management, particularly in the Portuguese context;
  • to understand the specific aspects of public management;
  • to understand the dynamics of public organizations and the way in which Portuguese public administration is structured;
  • to raise students’ awareness of the importance of strategic planning and its importance for public organizations;
  • to provide information necessary for the implementation of a strategic plan in public organizations;
  • to identify the instruments used in public administration that evaluate performance assessment indicators;
  • to understand the importance of the concept of accountability, the values of ethics, morals, and deontology in the context of public management.

In terms of skills and knowledge acquired, at the end of the semester, students should be able to: •

  • apply practical knowledge about different public management models;
  • analyze the bridge between a public sector based on bureaucracy and a new management appropriate to the 21st century that presupposes the adoption of a management posture adapted to the specificity of public services, concerned with an efficient and effective response to the needs of society and public policies;
  • diagnose problems that require the intervention of activities of public organizations, in particular, the analysis of public management models that best serve the activity of the public sector;
  • expose the characteristic aspects of public management;
  • uncover the various specific aspects of public management covered within the scope of this curricular unit;
  • identify the characteristics of the different public management paradigms;
  • frame the main models and trends of portuguese administrative reform;
  • characterize administrative modernization initiatives carried out in Portugal in recent decades; understand the implementation of the balanced scorecard methodology as an instrument for evaluating and monitoring management in the context of public administration;
  • develop a strategic development plan in the context of a public organization:
  • know the different normative instruments used in public administration that evaluate performance assessment indicators;



I – Public organizations

  • the unique characteristics of public organizations;
  • the challenges facing public organizations.

II – Public management and private management

  • concept, characteristics, and restrictions;
  • public management and private management: Similarities and disparities.

III – The different conceptions of the State and associated public management models

  • different conceptions of the State: the minimalist state, the nation state and the neoliberal state;
  • different public management models: the classic public administration paradigm; the new public management; Governance; other models;

IV– The administrative and management organization of the portuguese public sector

  • the portuguese public sector: scope and structure;
  • different types of public organizations;

V – Administrative reform in Portugal

  • administrative reform processes: concept and scope;
  • administrative reform in Portugal: in the context of the Estado Novo, in the first years of the democratic regime, in the 80s and 90s, in the 21st century;
  • administrative reform in Portugal and public management models in Portugal.

VI – Planning: the importance of strategy in public management

  • strategy, planning and evaluation in a public context;
  • the balanced scorecard methodology as an aid tool for public management;
  • implementation, monitoring and evaluation of a strategic plan in public organizations;
  • performance assessment and management indicators in public organizations;
  • public management performance instruments; • the role of managers in evaluating results.

VII – Ethics and accountability in public management

  • the concept of accountability and its different conceptions;
  • transparency, values and ethics;
  • the instruments of ethics.

Curricular Unit Teachers




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