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BUU33660 Organisational Theory and Organisational Analysis

(5 ECTS - 2nd semester - Hilary Term

Lecturer(s):

Dr. John Healy

Module Content/Outline:

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. 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.

Please note: In line with the University Calendar regulations the taping or recording by any means of lectures or tutorials is not allowed. This ensures a safe educational space for all students who want to contribute. Limited and clearly specified exceptions may be granted only after prior discussion with the module lecturer and based on clearly documented issues (e.g., assessments by Trinity’s disability service).

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

Hatch, M.J., & Cunliffe, A.N. (2013). Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic and Postmodern Perspectives (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.
The lectures will also draw heavily on
Morgan, G. (2006). Images of Organization. Sage, London.

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.
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.

Pre-requisite:

BUU22510 Organisational Behaviour (SF Year)

Assessment:

Final exam                              60%
Essay                                      20%
Group Presentation                15%
Student class participation      5%