[ 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 Johannes Lehner 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 2022W
Objectives This course aims to:

  • Providing students with an overview of central concepts and theories for describing and explaining behavioral and structural phenomena in and of organizations.
  • Equipping students with an understanding of theories in general and of theories of organization in particular.
  • Helping 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.
  • Enabling students to reflect and explain organizational practice and real-life phenomena based on organization theories.
  • Developing skills in reading, understanding, and judging research articles, thereby understanding theories’ boundary conditions and limitations the best context of application.
  • Enabling students to critically reflect on organizations and the various roles the play in modern society – socially, politically, economically, and culturally.

Learning outcomes:

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

  • LO1: Explain and understand different organizational structures and levels, practices and processes of organizing. [relevant theory, cognitive skill, analytical skills]
  • LO2: Analyze and diagnose organizational problems related to organizational design, interorganizational relationships and responding to societal needs from different theoretical perspectives. [relevant theory, social skills, and analytical skills]
  • LO3: Integrate different theories and ideas to formulate concise and insightful analyses and solutions to complex organizational problems [problem solving and reflection skills. [analytical/practical skills]
Subject This course introduces organizations as building blocks in modern societies, reviews different theoretical frameworks that have been central to organization science, and applies these frameworks in the explanation of a broad range of organizational phenomena. The course is divided into two parts: the first will cover “organizations as rational systems” (classic organization theories). The second one will cover organizations 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 (e.g. dealing with crisis, accommodating sustainability demands,…).

Criteria for evaluation LO 1: First exam (30 Points), mainly yes/no questions and some open questions

LO 2: Second exam (30 Points), open questions aiming at diagnosing and solving organizational problems

LO 3: Groupwork (40 Points consisting of a written assignment and a presentation)

Methods This is an advanced 6 ECTS Course (=150 hours workload) with only 2 weekly hours of course time. This means that the main part of the workload will be guided self-study of the readings. Lectures can only cover some fraction of the required content. Therefore, class time should be utilized for asking questions and discussing cases.

Teaching and learning methods include

  • formal lectures
  • students’ presentations
  • case studies
  • groupwork
  • self-study
Study material Textbooks

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.


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.

DiMaggio, P., and Powell, W. 1984: The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields; American Sociological Review 48, S. 147-60.

Emerson, R.M. 1962. Power dependence relations. American Sociological Review, 27: 31-40.

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.

Granovetter, M. S. 1985. Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness. American Journal of Sociology, 91:481-510.

Jensen MC, Meckling WH. 1976. Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure. Journal of Financial Economics 3(4): 305–360.

Josefy M, Kuban S, Ireland RD, Hitt M a. 2015. All things great and small: Organizational size, boundaries of the firm, and a changing environment. The Academy of Management Annals. 9(1): 715–802.

March, James G. 1962. The business firm as a political coalition. Journal of Politics 24: 662-678.

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.

Teece D, Peteraf M, Leih S. 2016. Dynamic capability and organizational agility. California Management Review 58(4): 13–45.

Uzzi, B. 1997. Social structure and competition in interfirm networks: The paradox of embeddedness. Administrative Science Quarterly, 42: 35-47.

Weick KE, Sutcliffe KM, Obstfeld D. 2005. Organizing and the process of sensemaking. Organization Science 16(4): 409–421.

Williamson OE. 1981. The economics of organization: The transaction cost approach. American Journal of Sociology 87(3): 548–577.

Changing subject? No
Further information none
On-site course
Maximum number of participants 200
Assignment procedure Assignment according to priority