[ 973GMCEORGK22 ] KS Organization

Workload Education level Study areas Responsible person Hours per week Coordinating university
6 ECTS M1 - Master's programme 1. year Business Administration Elke Schüssler 2 hpw Johannes Kepler University Linz
Detailed information
Pre-requisites IK Strukturen und Verhalten in Organisationen UND KS Organisation und Innovation (Bei erfolgter Zulassung zu einem Masterstudium, in dem die Lehrveranstaltung im Rahmen der Pflicht- oder Wahlfächer vorgeschrieben ist, gilt diese Voraussetzung als erfüllt.)
Original study plan Master's programme Management 2023W
  • Provide students with an overview of central concepts and theories for describing and explaining behavioral and structural phenomena in and of organizations.
  • Equip students with a solid understanding of management theories’ boundary conditions and their practical applicability for understanding real-life phenomena.
  • Enable students to take an analytical approach to the study of organizations, drawing on several theoretical perspectives simultaneously and comprehending complex and ambiguous relationships as they appear in organizations and in management in general.
  • Provide students with skills in reading, understanding, and judging research articles and foster their ability to critically engage with current organizational phenomena in an informed way.
  • Enable students to take a systemic perspective on typical management problems, considering both societal impact and the impact on people in organizations.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course, the students will be able to:

  • LO1: Understand and evaluate different organizational structures and levels, practices and processes of organizing. [business management qualification, cognitive skills, analytical skills]
  • LO2: Analyze and diagnose organizational problems related to organizational design, interorganizational relationships and responding to societal needs from different theoretical perspectives. [analytical skills, problem-solving skills]
  • LO3: Evaluate theories and ideas to formulate concise and insightful solutions to current organizational problems, including globalization, digitalization, sustainability or crisis management [analytical skills, problem-solving skills]
  • LO4: Apply theoretical knowledge in groups to analyze real-life problems and develop solutions [social skills, intercultural skills, analytical skills, problem-solving skills]
  • LO5: Understand the way in which digital technology impacts on organizational structures and processes. [business management qualification]
Subject This course aims at providing students a solid understanding of organizations as important building blocks in modern society by introducing them to different forms of organizations and core theories of organization. The course will introduce different theoretical frameworks that have been central in organization studies, and emphasize the relevance and applicability of these theories in making sense of a broad range of organizational phenomena. The course will hereby provide an overview of critical decisions in the structuring of organizations and highlight the consequences of these decisions for individual, group or (inter-)organizational dynamics that are key to organizational success.

The course is divided into two parts: the first will cover organizations as “rational systems”, the second as “natural and open systems”. Topics include:

  • Bureaucratic organizing
  • Decision-making in organizations
  • Full vs bounded rationality
  • Organizational structure and design
  • Contexts and environments of organizations
  • Network forms of organizing
  • New institutionalism
  • Transaction cost economics
  • Political organization, power and hierarchy

These theories and topics will be applied to changing organizational phenomena such as dealing with crisis or making organizations more sustainable.

Criteria for evaluation The assessment strategy includes a variety of different assessment forms that together accumulate to a maximum of 100 points.

Range of assessment methods

  1. In line with LO1: A short mid-term exam with mainly yes/no questions and some open questions will be posed (30 points max.)
  2. In line with LO2, 3 and 5: A second exam that asks students to analyse a case and apply the concepts and theories learned will be posed at the end (40 points max.)
  3. In line with LO4 and 5: Students will be asked to analyse a case study in groups and present their results in class (30 points max.)

Feedback culture: Feedback for the assessed students' contributions include personal individual feedback in one – to – one conversation at the end of the course from the course leader to the students (voluntarily) as well as peer feedback after the group presentations in the course (mandatory). Guidelines for the peer feedback are provided in the course and follow ethical guidelines.

Methods The course will use a mix of teaching methods to achieve its learning outcomes.

  • Formal lectures to introduce basic concepts (LO 1)
  • Student self-study and presentations (LO 2 and 3)
  • Case studies, in class and in groups (LO2, 3 and 4)

In-class case studies and discussions of example are used as the prime motivation tool. Through this method, students receive ongoing feedback in regard to their understanding of theories, their ability to apply, and to utilize their acquired knowledge for real-world problems. The focus on current organizational challenges, such as crisis management, sustainability or the digital transformation will ensure that students engage with contemporary phenomena about which they want to learn more.

The course will also utilize digital technology to facilitate a flipped-classroom experience. Pre-recorded short lectures and pre-readings will be provided so that time in the classroom can be reserved mainly for case discussion as well as for questions and joint reflection. Digital tools will also be used as a tool to enhance motivation and provide knowledge checks, e.g. through the use of short online questionnaires in the classroom.

Language English
Study material Textbooks (core readings)

Scott, W. R. & Davis, G. F. 2007. Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural and Open Systems Perspectives. Pearson Prentice Hall.
Staber, U. 2013. Understanding Organizations. Theories and Images. Sage.

Articles (selection; changing depending on topic focus)

Bromley P, Powell WW. 2012. From smoke and mirrors to walking the talk: Decoupling in the contemporary world. The Academy of Management Annals 6(1): 483–530.
Ferraro, F., Pfeffer, J., & Sutton, R. I. 2005. Economics language and assumptions: How theories can become self-fulfilling. Academy of Management Journal, 30(1): 8-24.
Mintzberg, H. The Structuring of Organizations. Online PDF.
Orton JD, Weick KE. 1990. Loosely coupled systems: a reconceptualization. Academy of Management Review 15(2): 203.
Ouchi WG 1980. Markets, bureaucracies, and clans. Administrative Science Quarterly, 25: 129-142.
Powell, W.W., Koput, K.W., Smith-Doerr, L. 1996. Interorganizational collaboration and the locus of innovation: Networks of learning in biotechnology. Adminstrative Science Quarterly, 41: 116-145.
Santos F.M., Eisenhardt K.M., 2005. Organizational boundaries and theories of organization, Organization Science Vol. 16, No. 5, pp. 491–508.
Simon, H. A. 1955. A behavioral model of rational choice. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 99-118.
Weick KE, Sutcliffe KM, Obstfeld D. 2005. Organizing and the process of sensemaking. Organization Science 16(4): 409–421.

Changing subject? No
Further information For quality assurance and improvement purposes, please participate in all JKU course evaluations and surveys!
Earlier variants They also cover the requirements of the curriculum (from - to)
973GMCPORGK19: KS Organization (2019W-2022S)
973GMCPMCOK16: KS Master Course Organization (2016W-2019S)
2ORGMCO: KS Master Course Organization (2010W-2016S)
On-site course
Maximum number of participants 200
Assignment procedure Assignment according to priority