syllabus for my winter organizational theory graduate seminar

In winter quarter I’m teaching one of the core theory classes in our PhD program in management and organizations.  Our students take a sequence of theory classes: two that are about individuals and organizations and which are heavily based in social psychology and organizational behavior and two others that look at organizations as units of analysis. The first of the latter two courses deals with organizations and their environments (e.g., institutional theory; resource dependence). The second deals with the internal life of organizations: how they work, how people and groups behave within them, why they change and why they sometimes do not change when they should, etc.  This is the seminar I’m teaching.

Here is the seminar’s syllabus.  Each week treats a different conceptual area, beginning with bureaucracy and ending with social movements.  There is a heavy dose of Carnegie School in the middle.  I spend a lot of time talking about identity, culture, and politics because that is what interests me and because I think the field is increasingly moving in that direction. The study of internal politics and culture links the study of organizations to the macro-environmental research that characterizes much institutional theory, in my view.  There are some obvious holes in the syllabus. For example, I don’t spend much time talking about inequality of any type. One could spend an entire course on that topic.  My approach was to focus more on the abstract theoretical concepts and mechanisms and then let the students figure out how they match their particular empirical interests.

Written by brayden king

January 4, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Posted in academia, brayden

3 Responses

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  1. I know this doesn’t really have anything to do with this post topic (I’m downloading the syllabus and will incorporate into my own!), I just have to post this:

    Harvard Business Review blogger Justin Fox (author of “Myth of Rational Market”) plugs Greta Krippner’s “Capitalizing on Crisis” and David Graeber’s “Debt”


    Andrew B. Lee

    January 4, 2013 at 10:36 pm

  2. Can you describe the focus of the two organization as unit of analysis classes or post syllabi?



    January 6, 2013 at 1:32 am

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