Organizations - Innovation and Change (SUMMER 2017)

Course content

Innovation and change have always accompanied mankind. However, since the last decades, the relationship between innovation and change has increasingly been discussed as being crucial for the development of organisations, due to the rising global competition. This is fascinating, because managing innovation depends on highly committed organisational members and what is more, it goes along with the increased emphasis on the individual within sociology since the mid-20th century. Within related and interdisciplinary founded disciplines, such as management theories, a similar development is the case. Subsequently, the present interest for innovation and change in today’s working life is linked to the appearance of a more knowledge-based production and the following growing need for optimising the management of human assets.

The well known shift in organisational studies from so-called closed to open systems during the last century indicated an increasing interdependency between organisations and their environment, due to a permanent rising complexity within modern and thus highly differentiated societies. The concept of innovation seems to go one step further in terms of organisational adaptation to an increasing turbulent environment as regards technological, socio-economic and institutional changes. However, organisations are still the primarily space in contemporary societies facilitating knowledge based production and innovation. Until the 1980s, innovation was seen in more linear terms – from invention, over imitation, to diffusion – but since, it has increasingly changed to be a highly complex process of interaction and mutual learning based on a higher degree of network coordination as a solution to increasing fluid organisational boundaries, i.e., public-private partnerships or the increasing importance of voluntary organisations as coordinating measures in the interplay between economy, state and civil society.

Furthermore, comparisons of various capitalist cultures in terms of regulation are important when it comes to the issue of the implementation of innovation, focusing on how national business systems differ in terms of institutional configurations. This is important when considering whether different national management strategies are characterised by convergence or divergence. Finally, the institutional embeddedness of enterprises is an important issue, for instance, regarding the role of the labour market parties due to an increased implementation of innovative concepts at enterprise level.

The relationship between societal changes and the need for organisational adaptation in terms of innovation policies may be mirrored in a variety of organisational sociological positions, i.e. institutional, action theoretical (RC), systems theoretical, and cultural (symbolic interpretative) approaches. During the course, students will be encouraged to apply the acquired theoretical and methodological approaches on selected cases in a Danish context as well as in a cross-national perspective.


Elective course BA + MA

Specialisation (KA 2005):

Organization, management and Labour market

Cultural Sociology

Sociology students must be enrolled under BSc Curriculum 2005 or MSc Curriculum 2005 to take this course.

Learning outcome


At the end of the course and having completed the essential readings and activities students should be able to:

a) demonstrate knowledge in the field of Sociology of Organizations

- analyse organizations according to the topic of innovation and change



By the end of the course students are able to

b) assess and critically evaluate changes in strategies, structures and processes as regards the organisational agenda of innovation



by the end of the course students are able to  

c) define and design studies in the field of organisations and innovation at the enterprise level,  including a comparative perspective,

d) critically classify of the relationship between organisations and innovation.

Lectures including discussions. During the course, students will be encouraged to apply the acquired theoretical and methodological approaches on selected cases, e.g. by using some of the cases discussed in the course or by selecting some individually.

Students may expect to receive advice during the course, regarding the three ways of meeting the requirements for the exam.

e-Compendium (400 pages): The texts will firstly introduce to the overarching concepts, regarding various perspectives on organisations, innovation and change (Clegg, Kornberger & Pitsis), as well as the heritage of the concept of innovation in economic terms (Schumpeter).

Secondly, texts about organisational culture (e.g. Hatch, Schein), management (e.g. Yukl) and learning (e.g. Argyris & Schön) will enable basic understanding for the development of innovation in organisations (i.e. Hislop).

Thirdly, theoretical contributions and case studies are included, as regards the topics of ‘innovation and markets’ (e.g. Cohen & Sauermann), ‘innovation and the public sector’ (Farnham, Hongehem & Horton), ‘social innovation and change’ (e.g. Kanter) and ‘the comparison of national systems of innovation’ (e.g. Rammer).

All students are welcome. However, basic knowledge in the field of sociology might be an advantage.

Dette kursus har adgangsbegrænsninger. Kurset vil som udgangspunkt ikke blive udbudt igen. Du kan således ikke planlægge efter, at det udbydes i senere semestre, end hvad der fremgår af denne kursusbeskrivelse.

Kurset fungerer samtidig som liniefag i specialseringsretnigen: Organisation, Ledelse og Arbejdsmarked.

SAMF IT has created a page for installing Software on personal computers: http:/​/​​english/​stud/​software/​

Type of assessment
Continuous assessment
Size: Handing in two working papers (max 6 pages) during the course.

Please note that if the course is taught in English, the exam will also be in English.
Marking scale
passed/not passed
Censorship form
No external censorship
Criteria for exam assessment

See course aims

Short courses / Copenhagen Summer University

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 14
  • Preparation
  • 60
  • Exam
  • 63
  • English
  • 137