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Unit information: Organisation Theory in 2017/18

Unit name Organisation Theory
Unit code EFIM10013
Credit points 20
Level of study C/4
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Gaya
Open unit status Not open
Pre-requisites

None

Co-requisites

None

School/department School of Economics, Finance and Management
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law

Description

This unit aims to prepare students to engage critically with theories and issues related to ‘organisations’ and ‘organising’. It aims specifically to develop students’ abilities to explore the ways in which various forms of organisation theory both underpin and challenge common sense ways of viewing and managing organisations. The unit starts by addressing two important questions: What is organisation theory and why does it matter? The topics covered through the unit chronicle the development of organisation theory over time, from its early origins through to contemporary debates. Thus, we begin with modernist organisation theory, and subsequently explore neo-modernist, post-modernist, reflective, and reflexive organisation theories. We end by mapping the evolution of management onto the evolution of organisation theory, and by developing a critique of managerialism as a key component of organisation theory and practice. In all of this, our focus is on understanding how the different perspectives build on and/or depart from one another.

Throughout the unit, three key themes are emphasised. The first is the mutually constitutive relationship between management, organisations, and society. Thus, the aim is for students to understand that each organisation theory emerges from particular socio-historical contexts, generally in response to key social, economic, and political issues of the times. The second is that each organisation theory makes particular assumptions about such issues as society, human nature, the division of labour, the role of management, etc., and therefore provides a particular but necessarily limited lens on how social human endeavours ought to be organised. Thus a further aim is for students to understand that each theoretical lens is simultaneously a way of seeing and also a way of not seeing. The third theme is that of power and control: we see that one of the key threads common across all organisation theories involve questions of power and control. Thus a final aim is to track the ways in which power and control are variously mobilised, enacted, and resisted across a range of organisation theory perspectives.

Intended learning outcomes

By the end of the course, students will be able to:

Identify and describe a range of issues relevant to management and to the interplay between management and society Explain and discuss theoretical approaches to management Recognise different perspectives on management and appreciate the implications that each has both for managers and other organisational members Analyse and appraise management and organisational practice through the application of relevant theory Critically evaluate the theory and practice of management Students will learn transferable skills of problem analysis, argumentation, presentation, and team working through tutorial work.

Teaching details

The unit will be taught through Lectures and Tutorials.

Lectures (approximately two-thirds of contact hours) will have the principal purpose of introducing the content of the course, including vocabulary, concepts, theories, perspectives, practices and trends. Lectures will also expose students to critical evaluation of management theories and concepts, and to the conceptual tools and frameworks employed in undertaking such critique. Lectures will include an element of discussion and debate in order to enhance understanding.

A variety of teaching methods will be employed in the tutorials, including: discussions based on readings and student experiences; case study work involving analysis, problem-solving and decision-making; group and individual exercises; presentations, discussion, and debate.

Additional reading designed to develop a depth of understanding.

Assessment Details

The unit will be assessed through one summative and two formative forms of assessment:

Summative assessment:

Three-hour closed-book examination in May/June, worth 100% of the summative mark.

Examination questions will test understanding of management concepts and practice, and will be essay based. More specifically, questions will examine students’ knowledge and understanding of the various perspectives and constructions of management, focusing on the dilemmas of motivating and controlling, decision-making, and the adoption of management ideas or fads, as well as the interplay between management and culture, ethics, gender, sexuality, aesthetics, and emotions. The exam will therefore examine students’ ability to:

  • Identify and describe a range of issues relevant to management and to the interplay between management and society
  • Explain and discuss theoretical approaches to management
  • Recognise different perspectives on management and appreciate the implications that each has both for managers and other organisational members
  • Analyse and appraise management and organisational practice through the application of relevant theory
  • Critically evaluate the theory and practice of management.

Formative assessment:

a) A 1200 word individual essay on a question similar in kind to those with which they will be presented in the exam, which will prepare students to:

  • Identify and describe a range of issues relevant to management and to the interplay between management and society
  • Explain and discuss theoretical approaches to management
  • Recognise different perspectives on management and appreciate the implications that each has both for managers and other organisational members
  • Analyse and appraise management and organisational practice through the application of relevant theory
  • Critically evaluate the theory and practice of management.

b) A short-answer take-home test, which will prepare students to:

  • Identify and describe a range of issues relevant to management and to the interplay between management and society
  • Explain and discuss theoretical approaches to management
  • Recognise different perspectives on management and appreciate the implications that each has both for managers and other organisational members.

Reading and References

McAuley, J., Duberley, J. & Johnson, P. (2013). Organization Theory: Challenges and Perspectives (Second Edition). Prentice Hall

Selected readings from journals including:

  • Academy of Management Journal
  • Administrative Science Quarterly
  • Human Relations
  • Journal of Management Studies
  • Organization Science
  • Organization
  • Work, Employment and Society

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