BUU33660 Organisational Theory and Organisational Analysis

(5 ECTS)


Dr. John Healy 

Phone: By appointment (please arrange by email)
E-mail: healyj10@tcd.ie       
Office Hours: By appointment (please arrange by email)                 


BUU22510 - Organisational Behaviour 

Module Description: 

This module focuses on understanding organisations in terms of structures, shared beliefs, identities and practices, concepts of efficiency and power and the implications of these insights for how we intervene to change organisations. The course will help students build their understanding of organising beyond simplistic, functional frameworks and provide them with the necessary sociological and psychological concept to help them make sense of why organisations act in certain ways.

The primary focus of the course is on understanding organisations in a more fundamental way. The secondary focus is on generating insights, discussion and debate amongst peers on the most appropriate way to intervene. Students become comfortable with bodies of theory as they apply them to real-life examples from the commercial, nonprofit and public sector realms.  This module deals with complex and often highly abstract subject matters and requires substantial student engagement with theoretical and conceptual aspects of organisational life. This module in only suitable for students who

  • are comfortable engaging in theoretical discussions with their peers
  • are interested in organisational and social theory
  • have the commitment and time to read a significant volume of material in advance of lectures
  • have a strong interest in understanding how organisations work across different contexts 

Learning and Teaching Approach:

The learning approach will be highly interactive. All students will be expected to participate in open discussions and debates during the lectures. Given the theoretical nature of the reading and the lectures it is essential for students to have read the material and to have considered the implications and contradictions of the different theoretical approaches in advance of the lectures. This preparation is mandatory and is core to students achieving the learning objectives and successfully completing the assessment processes outlined below. The lectures will act as a guide to the readings and provide forums for discussion for students to reflect on and to refine their understanding of the theories. All students must have completed the necessary preparation in advance of the relevant lectures. The lectures will provide an essential space for students to discuss, contrast and debate the core meaning of theoretical approaches and the implications for practice. This combination of rigorous preparation and openness to discussion and debate are the key ingredients for student learning experience.

All students with any specific learning challenges or with individual problems related to this module should contact the module lecturer in the strictest confidence as early as possible to discuss ways of dealing with any actual or potential difficulties.

Learning Outcomes:

Upon completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. Critically assess the major strands of organisation theory and understand how these theories underpin the variety of models, tools and frameworks employed in practice. Students should have a thorough grounding in different ways we understand organisational life and practices
  2. Understand how concepts such as effectiveness, culture, strategic focus, complexity and power illuminate certain aspects of organising as well as obscuring other aspects. Students should develop a clear understanding of the key concepts which are employed to understand organisations and should be comfortable discussing and debating the appropriate application of these concepts
  3. Question taken for granted assumptions about how organisations should act and react in variety of settings. The grounding in organisation theory should equip students with critical, reflective approaches to question the merits, wisdom and ethics of different managerial strategies and to question the roles of organisations in society
  4. Employ a range of theoretical frameworks as lenses to analyse and diagnose organisational challenges across the commercial, nonprofit and public sector realms. Students should be familiar with a variety of approaches to influencing change based on the various bodies of theory
  5. Understand the implications of a range of intervention strategies to bring about organisational change and be comfortable engaging in constructive debates with peers about the most appropriate approaches to change in a variety of settings. By better understanding how people perceive the opportunities and challenges they encounter in organisational life, students should be well equipped to provide advice and counsel on appropriate change strategies

Recommended Texts/Key Reading:

Required core course textbook

Morgan, G. (2006). Images of Organization. Sage, London. 

Hatch, M.J., & Cunliffe, A.N. (2013). Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic and Postmodern Perspectives (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

General Supplemental Readings

Pugh, D.S. (2007). Organization Theory; Selected Classic Readings. (5th Ed.) Penguin, London. 

Scott, W. R., & Davis, G. F. (2015). Organizations and organizing: Rational, natural and open systems perspectives. Routledge, Oxfordshire. 

Bolman, L.G. & Deal, T. (2003). Reframing Organizations; Artistry, Choice and Leadership. Jossey-Bass, San Francisco. 

Mintzberg, H., Ahlstrand, B., Lampel, J. (1998). Strategy Safari; The Complete Guide Through the Wilds of Strategic Management. FT Prentice Hall, London. 

Crotty, M. (2009). The Foundations of Social Research; Meanings and Perspectives in the Research Process. Sage, London. 

Daft, R.L., Murphy, J., & Willmott, H. (2017). Organization Theory and Design (3rd ed.). Cengage, Andover.

Student Preparation for the Module: 

In advance of the commencement of the module students should familiarise themselves with some of the core concepts by reading the materials for the first lecture. If students have concerns that they do not have sufficient grounding in the material due to a lack of exposure to organisational or social theory they should contact the lecturer to see if additional pre-reading is required.


The evaluation for this module is based on a final exam (70%), essay (15%) and group work (15%).

The exam will comprehensively assess all module material including material covered in lectures and lecture discussions, formal and informal assignments, assigned readings (see reading assignments in module schedule and on lecture slides below), and group project work. Extra module marks may be awarded to individual students for exceptional class participation and contribution. 

Attendance at lectures, group presentations, and presentations of other groups is required. Unexcused absences will result in individual and/or group grade penalties. The module lecturer may invite individual students or whole groups to additional meetings to present and/or discuss aspects of the group project for assessment which can affect group and/or individual grades. 

The supplemental exam for students who fail the module will employ an essay questions only format and will examine the entire module content. The module grade for students who fail the module and sit the supplemental exam is entirely determined by the supplemental exam.