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MLD-101: Management, Leadership and Decision Making

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Harvard Kennedy School

MLD-101: Management, Leadership and Decision Making

[Note: Prior to 2013-14 this course was named "Strategy, Structure and Leadership in Public Service Organizations."]

Description: This course introduces students to important concepts and analytic frameworks for management, leadership, and decision making in public-sector organizations. The course includes material on topics such as motivating people, fundamental biases in decision making, working through teams and networks, strategic management, performance measurement, and leading change in organizations. (Different sections will cover these different topics in different detail. Section A has a special focus on nonprofit organizations and students who take this section are expected to affiliate with a nonprofit organization and produce three papers analyzing that organization.) 

Faculty: Nathalie Laidler-Kylander (MLD-101A, Fall 2012); Hannah Bowles (MLD-101B, Fall 2012); Steven Kelman (MLD-101C, Fall 2012); Thomas Glynn (MLD-101D, Fall 2012).

Source: At;;; (accessed 12 February 2013).


Teaching Topics Addressed in this Course, Organized by Public Management Subject

 Policy and Management Analysis

  Cognitive Biases
  Managing a Global Team
  Managing Conflict
  Mission and Strategy
  Negotiation Analysis
  Network Assessment and Analysis
  Working in Teams
  Leveraging Diversity
  Operations and Marketing Strategy

 Leadership Skills

  Charismatic Leadership
  Transactional and Transformational Leadership
  Crisis Leadership

 Evaluation and Performance Measurement

  Performance Management
  Performance Measurement

Commentary by the Atlas editors: This one of the core required courses, taken in the first year, for the HKS MPP program. (The other required courses are: API-101: Markets and Market Failure; API-102: Economic Analysis of Public Policy; API-201: Quantitative Analysis and Empirical Methods; API-202: Empirical Methods II; DPI-101: Mobilizing for Political Action - American Politics & Comparative Politics; DPI-201: The Responsibilities of Public Action; and MLD-101: The Strategic Management of Public Organizations.)

MLD-101 addresses topics in three different Atlas subjects. In this it is similar to MLD-110 Strategic Management for Public Purposes, designed for students with management experience.

The topics addressed in four sections of MLD-101, each taught by a different faculty member, differ somewhat - particularly Section A with its special focus on nonprofit organizations.

The Laidler-Kylander (MLD-101A) syllabus provides the following class titles under six themes:

Mission and Strategy

The Role of Mission
Mission and Vision
Mission and Strategy

Structure, Operations, and Program Management

Structure and Strategy
Portfolio Management
Structure and Operations
Theory of Change and Growth
Challenge of Scaling-up

Strategic Marketing and Decision Making

Strategic Marketing
Creating a Brand
Cause Marketing

Leadership, Governance and Teams

Characteristics of Leadership
Leadership and Management
Board Management

Performance Measurement and Improvement

Performance Measurement
Performance Improvement
Performance Driven Management

Creating Capacity, Value, and Support

Multi-Sector Alliances
Cross-Sector Partnerships
Managing People
Managing Growth

The Hannah Riley (MLD-101B) provides the following "topics" and "subtopics": Leadership and Power; Motivating People (Negotiation Analysis, Cognitive Biases, Managing Conflict, Persuasion, Inspiration); Working in Teams; Leveraging Networks; Strategic Management (Mission & Strategy, Operations, Performance Management, Leveraging Diversity); Leadership (Crisis, Charisma, Transactional & Transformational).

The Kelman (MLD-101A) and Glynn (MLD-101D) syllabi organize the classes under the six themes used in the MLD-101A syllabus, without naming the sub-topics.

Kelman and Glynn assign as required the book,

  • Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert B. Cialdini, Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive, Free Press, 2008

They recommend purchase of:

  • Mark Moore, Creating Public Value, Harvard University Press, 1997

and they assign one the following three books to be used in a major assignment:

  • Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer, The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work, Harvard Business Press. 2011.
  • Kim Cameron & Marc Lavine, Making the Impossible Possible: Leading Extraordinary Performance – The Rocky Flats Story, Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2006
  • Steven Kelman, Unleashing Change: A Study of Organizational Renewal Transformation in Government. The Brookings Institution Press, 2005
  • Scott Snook, Friendly Fire: The Accidental Shootdown of U.S. Black Hawks over Northern Iraq, Princeton University Press, 2002


Page created by: Ian Clark, last updated 15 February 2013. The content presented on this page, except in the Commentary, is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases.


MLD-101C Syllabus Fall 2012, Steven Kelman.pdfMLD-101C Syllabus Fall 2012, Steven Kelman
MLD-101A Syllabus Fall 2012, Nathalie Laidler-Kylander.pdfMLD-101A Syllabus Fall 2012, Nathalie Laidler-Kylander
MLD-101B Syllabus Fall 2012, Hannay Bowles.docxMLD-101B Syllabus Fall 2012, Hannay Bowles
MLD-101D Syllabus Fall 2012, Thomas Glynn.pdfMLD-101D Syllabus Fall 2012, Thomas Glynn

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© University of Toronto 2008
School of Public Policy and Governance