SHE Level 4
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code MHL208704
Module Leader n/a
School Glasgow School for Business and Society
Subject Management
  • A (September start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Normally, successful completion of Central and Devolved Government;Introduction to Local Government and Administration; New Public Management: Themes and Issues; Managing in the New Public Services or equivalents.

Summary of Content

Public Sector crises, policy failure and dealing with crisis and disaster have become an important feature of the public sector in recent years. In recent years we have been confronted, for example, with "crises" in the NHS, local government and housing; with policy failure via the poll tax, the handling of BSE and the Child Support Agency; and disasters and critical incidents such as at Kings Cross, Zeebrugge, Hillsborough, Lockerbie, Dunblane and Paddington. In this light, the main aims of the module are to:. allow students to analyse and comprehend the varying definitions and useages of the terms "crises" and "disaster". allow students to comprehend the causes and consequences of a wide range of crises, disasters and critical incidents which the public sector has to deal with and. allow students to analyse and comprehend the range of responses open to public sector decision-makers.. The module will be sufficiently flexible to enable students to specialise in particular areas of interest.


The Nature of Crisis: What is a Crisis?, Types of Crisis, the Role of the Media in Crisis.Cause of Crisis and Disaster: Vulnerability, Failure, RiskThe Crisis Agenda: Setting the Crisis Agenda, the Issue-Attention CycleUnderstanding Crisis Responses: Centralisation vs Decentralisation, Critical VariablesPatterns of Crisis Responses: From Decentralisation and Bureaucratic Politics to `Passing the Buck' and ParalysisCrisis and Disaster Co-Ordination: Pre-Planning, Barriers to Effective Crisis ManagementEvaluation: Problems of Evaluating, Learning from HindsightDisaster Management in Britain

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the module students should be able to:. demonstrate an understanding of key concepts seeking to explain the nature of, causes and consequences of crises and disasters. demonstrate an understanding of the range of responses utilised by decision-makers within the public sector, and the range of consequences which may arise from these. additionally, students at Honours level should be able to demonstrate a depth of analysis and empirical focus commensurate with study at this level.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The module runs over Semester A only and contact hours are 2 hours per week. The 2 hours will be divided into Lectures and Seminars. Each student will have only one lecture hour and one seminar hour per week. Considerable emphasis is placed on student-centred learning, via preparation for seminars, essays and case studies. Seminars will involve a combination of group discussion and video case studies.

Indicative Reading

Association of London Authorities, Acts of God? An Investigation into Disasters, ALA: London, 1990Blaikie, P., et al, At Risk: Natural Hazards, PeopleUs Vulnerability and Disasters, Routledge, 1994Booth, S.A. Crisis Management Strategy, Routledge, 1993Bovens, M.A.P. and t'Hart, P. Understanding Policy Fiascos, Transaction, 1998Gray, P. and t'Hart, P. Public Policy Disasters in Western Europe, Routledge, 1998Hogwood, B.W. and Peters, B.G. The Pathology of Public Policy, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1985Hogwood, B.W. From Crisis to Complacency, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987Nudell, M. and Antokol, N. The Handbook for Effective Crisis Management, Lexington Books: Lexington, 1988Quantarelli, E.L. (ed) What is a Disaster?, Routledge, 1998Regester, M. Crisis Management: What to Do when the Unthinkable Happens, Hutchinson: London, 1989Toft, B. and Reynolds, S. Learning from Disasters: A Management Approach, Perpetuity Press, 2nd Edition, 1997

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Assessment (PT) 70.00
Seminars (FT) 10.00
Independent Learning (PT) 88.00
Lectures (PT) 12.00
Assessment (FT) 70.00
Independent Learning (FT) 88.00
Seminars (PT) 10.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Exam (Exams Office) 3.00 50.00 40% n/a
Coursework 0.00 35.00 40% n/a
Coursework 0.00 15.00 40% n/a