Summerschool 2021+2022: Organization Theory
The study of organization and organizing becomes increasingly relevant as the organizational world today is characterized by many and profound changes caused by new technology, globalization, increased competition and new ideas about management. Such changes call for more flexible organizational designs, new managerial strategies and new ways of defining, monitoring and assessing the performance of the organization. The course focuses on work organizations, both business organizations (private firms) and organizations within the public sector. Organization theory is an interdisciplinary field and the course draws on perspectives from different social science disciplines. Both, the so-called rational and natural theories are covered in the course and a number of perspectives, from the more classical such as Scientific Management and Human Relations to more recent approaches such as Open Systems and Chaordic Systems are discussed. Other views such as Social Constructionism, Psychodynamics and the Requisite Organization are also explored. Various aspects of organizations such as structure, processes and culture are covered.
A central theme of the course is organizational structure, in other words, how work in an organization is divided into jobs, departments and hierarchical levels and how coordinated effort is achieved. A number of structural forms are discussed as well as how in particular, organizational strategy, size, technology and environment influence the structure of an organization. A special theme concerns the choice between market and hierarchy in coordination of economic activity. This leads to a discussion of mergers and acquisitions, outsourcing, virtual organization and hybrids between market and hierarchy such as strategic alliances and networks. Informal structure and group dynamics are also touched upon together with organizational culture comprising the values and basic assumptions of organizational members. Other themes concern organizational processes where decisions, power, leadership and motivation are the most important. Both rational, bounded rational, political and anarchic decision models are presented and power processes in organizations are discussed. Perspectives on leadership are outlined and leadership behavior and styles, value based leadership and contingency theories on leadership and change management are covered. Motivation and incentives in organizations are also essential themes where the relative significance of economic and non-economic motivations in particular is discussed. Both classical motivation theories and later content and process theories are part of the course as are the concept and function of performance related pay.
In essence, a number of ways of thinking are presented in the course which should enable the economist to think and reflect in a more professional way about the organizational contexts in which she/he will make a career. Organization theory has broad practical and vocational relevance, both for students aspiring for managerial and administrative positions in existing organizations as well as for those interested in starting their own venture.
After completing the course the student is expected to be able to:
Describe the basic principles of classical and contemporary organizational theories about structure, strategy, culture, leadership, groups, change, communication, power, decisions and motivation.
Explain the differences and similarities between economic perspectives on organizations and perspectives from other social science disciplines.
Select, justify and evaluate the applicability of these theories in real life organizational contexts.
Analyze and compare the theories, their strengths and weaknesses with regard to obtaining an understanding of actual organizations and practical organizational phenomena.
Apply relevant theory in analysis of organizational issues described in a real-life case in a written essay in a clear and coherent way.
Formulate and structure analytical solutions to real life organizational problems by integrating theory with case data.
The sessions will involve short lectures and discussions based
on course theory and analysis and mapping of the problems and
possible solutions of the real-life cases that are a part of the
course syllabus. The sessions will also involve group work where
the class will work in small groups on solving the questions
presented on the case studies.
Restrictions due to pandemic crisis:
The teaching in this course may be changed to be taught either fully or partly online due to a pandemic crisis like COVID-19. In case of changes and further information, please read the study messages in KUnet or the announcements in the course room on Absalon (for enrolled students).
- Richard L. Daft, Jonathan Murphy, Hugh Willmott: Organization Theory and Design. An international Perspective. Cengage Learning.
The textbook is sold at Akademisk Boghandel/ Academic Books, City Campus (CSS), Øster Farimagsgade 5, Building 7
- Bedeian, A.G. (2002). The Dean’s Disease: How the Darker Side of Power Manifests Itself in the Office of the Dean. Academy of Management Learning and Education. Vol 1 no. 2, 164-173.
- Dessler, G. (2013). Performance Related Pay and Financial Incentives. In Human Resource Management. Thirteenth Edition. Essex: Pearson Education. Pages 418-437.
- Dick, P. & Ellis, S. (2006). On Motivation. In Introduction to Organizational Behaviour. Third Edition. London: McGraw Hill Education. pp. 84-95, 98-101.
- Eisenhardt, K. M., & Brown, S. L. (1998). Competing on the edge: Strategy as structured chaos. Long Range Planning: International Journal of Strategic Management, 31(5), 786–789.
- French, R. B., & Simpson, P. (2010). The ‘work group’: Redressing the balance in Bion’s Experiences in groups. Human Relations, 63(12), 1859-1878.
- Frey, B.S. & Osterloh, M. (2002). Successful Management by Motivation. Balancing Intrinsic and Extrinsic Motivation. Berlin: Springer. Pages 7-23, 68-70
- Gilley, J.W., Morris, M.L., Waite, A.M., Coates, T. & Veliquette, A. (2010). Integrated Theoretical Model for Building Effective Teams. Advances in Developing Human Resources, Vol. 12 (1), pp. 7-28.
- Hatch, M.J. & Cunliffe, A.L. (2006). Organization Culture. In Organization Theory - Modern, symbolic and postmodern perspectives. 2nd edition. Pages 175-194.
- Hultman, K. & Hultman, J. (2008). Deep Teams: Leveraging the Implicit Organization. Organization Development Journal, Vol. 26 (3), pp. 11-22.
- Jaques, E. & Clement, S. (1999). Executive Leadership – A Practical Guide to Managing Complexity. Oxford: Basil Blackwell Ltd. pp. 53-65, 91-97.
- Kira, M. & van Eijnatten, F.M. (2008). Socially sustainable work organizations: a chaordic systems approach. Systems Research & Behavioral Science, Vol. 25 (6), pp. 743-756.
- Lee, M. Y., & Edmondson, A. C. (2017). Self-managing organizations: Exploring the limits of less-hierarchical organizing. Research in Organizational Behavior, 37, 35–58.
- McMillan, E., & Carlisle, Y. (2007). Strategy as Order Emerging from Chaos: A Public Sector Experience. Long Range Planning, 40(6), 574–593.
- Perrow, C. (1986): Economic Theories of Organization. Theory and Society 15: 11-45.
- Perry, J.L. (2000). Bringing Society in: Toward a Theory of Public-Service Motivation. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 10:2: 471-488
- Robbins, S.P. Judge, T.A. & Campell, T.T. (2010). On Leadership. In Organizational Behaviour. Essex: Pearson Education. pp. 316-328, 341-348.
- Romano, A., Sutter, M., Liu, J.H., Yamagishi, T. & Balliet, D. (2021). National parochialism is ubiquitous across 42 nations around the world. Nature Communications 12, 4456, 1-8.
- Stoelhorst, J.W. & Richerson, P.J. (2013). A Naturalistic Theory of Economic Organization. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 90S, S45-S56.
- Yukl, G. (2006). Leading Change in Organizations. In: Gary Yukl: Leadership in Organizations. Sixth Edition. New Jersey: Pearson. Page 288-307.
- 3M: Profile of an Innovating Company (20 pages)
- Acer Inc: Taiwan’s Rampaging Dragon (20 pages)
- Coloplast A/S – Organizational Challenges in Offshoring (16 pages)
- Donna Klein and Marriott International (4 pages)
- Engstrom Auto Mirror Plant: Motivating in Good Times and Bad (8 pages)
- Leadership Development at Goldman Sachs (23 pages)
- Motivated Reasoning, Leadership and Team Performance (7 pages)
- People Management Fiasco in Honda Motorcycles and Scooters India Ltd. (17 pages)
- Safe to Say at Prudential Financial (21 pages)
- Shinsei Bank: Developing an Integrated Firm (20 pages)
- The Treadway Tire Company: Job Dissatisfaction and High Turnover at the Lima Tire Plant (12 pages)
- Whitbread PLC (24 pages)
All articles will be available on Absalon for the students having signed up for the course.
The case studies will need to be purchased through the Harvard Business School Publishing Website. A special student course pack link with discounted prices will be provided to students registered for the course closer to the course period. These cases are an integrated part of the course, and the exam will be based on these cases.
There are no recommended academic qualifications other than the requirements of the study programme.
Teaching: July 11th to 15th, 18th to 22th and 25th to 27th, 10.00 AM to 1.05 AM
Timetable and venue:
To see the time and location of lectures and exercise classes please press the link/links under "Timetable"/"Se skema" at the right side of this page (B5-5F22 equals the summer period).
You can find the similar information in English at
-Select Department: “2200-Økonomisk Institut” (and wait for respond)
-Select Module:: “2200-B5-5F22; [Name of course]””
-Select Report Type: "List - Week Days"
-Select Period: “Forår/Spring – Week 4-30”
Press: “ View Timetable”
Please be aware:
- Please be aware that the workload of the summer school correspond to a fuldtime course at the Master programme in Economics, University of Copenhagen.
- It is not possible to change course after the last registration period has expired.
- The schedule of the lectures and the exercise classes can be changed without the participants´ acceptance. If this happens you can see the new schedule in your personal timetable at KUnet, in the app myUCPH and through the links in the right side and the link above.
- It is the students´s own responsibility continuously throughout the study to stay informed about their study, their teaching, their schedule, their exams etc. through the curriculum of the study programme, the study pages at KUnet, student messages, the course description, the Digital Exam portal, Absalon, the personal schema at KUnet and myUCPH app etc.
Students will receive questions for the case studies for each session beforehand and will have to come to class prepared with their answers. In the classroom, students will discuss their answers with others in small study groups and present their agreed upon answers to the class. They will then get oral feedback from the instructor on these answers and workable solutions to the case problems will be captured on the board, pictures of which will be uploaded on Absalon after the session.
Foreign students and guests: Information about admission requirements, application, tuition fee, registration at Study Economics.
Please read the curriculum before enrolment.
Gæste- og enkelfagsstuderende: Tilmelding via Uddannelse i Økonomi.
- 7,5 ECTS
- Type of assessment
Written assignment, 48 hoursindividual take-home assignment.
The students are allowed to talk together about the given problem-set but must work on, write and upload the assignment answer individually. The plagiarism rules must be complied.
The assingment will be given in English and must be answered in English.
- All aids allowed
for the written exam.
Information about allowed aids for the re-examination, please go to the section "Re-exam".
- Marking scale
- 7-point grading scale
- Censorship form
- No external censorship
for the written exam.
An oral re-examination may be with external assessment.
Criteria for exam assessment
Students are assessed on the extent to which they master the learning outcome for the course.
In order to obtain the top grade “12”, the student must with no or only a few minor weaknesses be able to demonstrate an excellent performance displaying a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material and can make use of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.
In order to obtain the passing grade “02”, the student must in a satisfactory way be able to demonstrate a minimal acceptable level of the knowledge, skills and competencies listed in the learning outcomes.
Single subject courses (day)
- Course number
- 7,5 ECTS
- Programme level
- Full Degree Master
BachelorFull Degree Master choice
- Go to 'Signup' for
information about registration and enrollment.
Information about admission and tuition fee: Summer schools
Information om optagelse og evt betaling: Åbent Universitet
July the 11th to 30th, 2022.
More info about
- teaching: Go to 'Remarks'
- exam: Go to 'Exam'
- Department of Economics, Study Council
- Department of Economics
- Faculty of Social Sciences
- Syed Salman Ahmad (17-757b67663075636e6f637030636a6f63664267657170306d7730666d)
See ‘Course coordinators’
Please read "Remarks" regarding the schedule of the teaching.
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Courseinformation of students