CD9 Syllabus                                                                           Course Structure Index
Professor Andrew Procassini


Government, the Private Sector and the Public Interest


 The goal of this module is to train students to effectively manage the interaction between government and the private sector, from either perspective. The module seeks to teach students the differences in the goals and responsibilities of the public and private sectors, and how an understanding of these differences can help improve the effectiveness of communications and cooperation between these sectors. Students will be trained to utilize and apply fundamental concepts underlying government/ business/society relationships in the creation and implementation of public policies in trade, investment, and technology

Course Topics

 The topics covered in this module, in general order of discussion, will include but not be limited to the following: the political, legal, economic, social, and technological forces that generate new policy issues; how these new issues, especially in the area of trade, investment, and technology, affect the private and public sectors; how the public sector reacts through the institutions; how the private sector—business, households, indivi­duals—react; the response of the private sector through individuals, corporations, business groups, and public interest groups; how interest groups are formed, organized, and managed to establish favorable public policies; management of issues through interac­tion with government institutions, other interest groups, and the media; the administration and enforcement of the developed policies; the global impact of the entire process as each topic is brought forward; and finally, how the student can integrate the entire body of knowledge presented.

The above topics may also be described in a conceptual sense as: macro-forces; values, ideologies, the national and public interests; elitism, pluralism, and the electorate; the public policy process; the creation of collective groups at all levels of the public and private sectors; and finally, issues management.  These topics will be developed with a framework that will be used to tie together concepts, applications, and the potential for changes over time.

Throughout the progress of the module case materials; discussion and debate on current events; and critiques of actions taken by government, business, and public interest groups in timely issues, will be utilized as teaching practice vehicles.

Required Text

Text reading assignments are given within the module class schedule.  These will be available “on reserve” at the library.  In addition, copies of these readings may be made available for purchase. 

Supplemental Reading

Class members are expected to read daily or weekly publications such as the N.Y. Times, Washington Post, Financial Times (London), Wall Street Journal, Time, Newsweek, etc.  Discussion in class may center on accounts of current public policy issues reported in these journals.

Course Requirement

There are three requirements for the successful completion of this module.  These requirements are designed to fit within the four weeks (8 classes) duration and must be completed by the last class day at the latest.

Requirement 1: The first requirement is class participation.  Excessive absenteeism may result in a failing grade.  There is no need however to inform the instructor of any absences. (30% of grade)

Requirement 2: The second requirement is the submission of a paper describing the relationship of the course concepts to an actual trade, foreign investment, or other approved public policy issue. (40% of grade)

Requirement 3: The submission of a written case study. (30% of grade)

Schedule of Classes /Topics

Class 1

Discussion of the macro-environmental forces affecting government, the public and private sectors;

Discussion of the public interest and its various aspects.

Reading: Buchholz, R., Business Environment and Public Policy, (Prentice-Hall, 1995).

·         Chap. 3: The Nature of Public Policy, pp. 45-68.

·         Chap. 5: The Social Context of Public Policy, pp. 100-126.

Class 2

Discussion of government responsibility, roles, institutions.

Discussion of political leadership.  Public interest influence on government through public interest groups.  The formation of interest groups.

Reading: Bonser, C., McGregor, Ed, et al, Policy Choices and Public Action, (Prentice-Hall, 1996).

·         Chap. 1: What Does Government Do?, pp. 1-34.

Class 3

Discussion of the private sector, essentially businesses, corporations, and their associated special interest groups. Lobbying, PAC’s, and other business sector activities influencing government and the public.

Reading: Goldsmith, A., Business, Government and Society, (Chicago: Irwin Publishers, 1996).

·         Chap. 8: Business, Interest Groups, and Political Influence, pp. 149-177.

               Baron, D., Business and Its Environment, (Prentice-Hall, 1995).

·         Chap. 8: Implementing Political Strategies, pp. 199-217.

Class 4

The interaction of the business, government and the public.  The comparative roles and responsibilities of each.  The role of intermediate groups.    Distributive politics.  Institutional organizations and their place in the framework, e.g., universities, health organizations, etc.

Class 5

Instruments of policy, laws, regulations.  Specific regulations - anti-trust, health, ecology, equal opportunity. Special emphasis on instruments of trade and investment,and technology policy.

Reading:  Goldsmith, A.

·         Chap. 16: Public Policy, Innovation and Technology, pp. 363-384.

Baron, D.,

·         Chap. 17: US Trade Policy, Politics and Negotiations, pp. 481-496.

Class 6  

International Comparisons of U.S., Japan, Germany, European Union with regard to the business, government, society relationships and their public policies, especially with regard to trade, investment, technology.

Reading:  U.S. General Accounting Office, Competitiveness Issues: The Business Environment in the U.S., Japan, and Germany, August 1993.

Baron, D.

·         Chap. 13: The Political Economy of Japan, pp. 375-397.

·         Chap. 14: Non-Market Strategy in the Political Economy of Japan, pp. 399-417.

·         Chap. 15: The European Union, pp. 419-455.

Class 7

Development and management of issues - domestic and international.  The issue life cycle and various actors / actions relating strategy and tactics.  The 4 I’s paradigm - issues, interests, institutions and information.

Reading:  Carroll, A.B., Business and Society, (South Western Publishing Co., Cincinnati: 1995).

·         Chap. 19: Issues Management and Crisis Management, pp. 574-599.

Class 8

Presentation and discussion of cases and their relationship to the overall course of study. 

Issue Paper Requirements

1. In all public policy processes, a number of influences are being exerted by various persons, groups, agencies, institutions, etc.  They may be in favor or opposed to the enactment of a regulation, law, treaty, approach, ordinance, etc. as a resolution of the public policy issue.  You are to select a contemporary issue that involves the public policy process with respect to trade and investment, or an appropriate related topic.  You must clearly and succinctly state the issue in your opening statements.

2. You are to describe the various media through which you have been following this issue.  The media may include personal interviews, newspapers, the Internet, television, etc.

3. You must describe the various aspects of the issue that are in contention, i.e., the various sides to the issue.

4. You must identify the major influences, i.e., interest groups, such as trade associations, various professional groups, etc.; elites, such as celebrities, politicians, prominent citizens, etc.; and the electorate through straw vote, polls, electoral votes, etc.

5. You must identify the agencies of the U.S. government and their roles as related to the key issues.  You must also identify any other institution that may play a role.

6. You must also identify the major influences and their positions on the issue.

7. You must identify the tactics that each influence appears to be using to achieve their goal of support or opposition.

8. You must describe the final outcome of the issue if it has been reached.  If it has not, describe where the issue stands at the time, and give your opinion as to the most likely outcome.

In addition, to these minimal requirements, you will be graded on your ability to integrate the concepts you have learned during this course into the paper.  Therefore your attendance in class, and your attention to the required readings will be important in writing a satisfactory paper.

Case Study:

Two cases will be assigned to the class no later than the second class meeting, for class discussion at the last class meeting.  One of these, of your selection, will be a required written case study paper.  Your case study must answer the following questions as a minimum: 

·         What are the facts?  What is the situation or issue?

·         What problems exist and why?

·         What additional information do I need to analyze this case adequately?

·         What are some possible solutions?

·         What are the consequences of each?

·         What decision should be made, and why?

·         What general ideas can be drawn from this case that have application elsewhere?

·        Epilogue: What actually happened?

In addition to the above questions, you should write your case study from those additional requirements that you deem essential to provide a comprehensive case study paper.

The case study may be of any word length you feel is appropriate.


Course Structure Index