A great deal of contemporary human activity takes place in increasingly complex organizations: businesses, governmental agencies, and non-profit organizations, to name but a few. By necessity, these organizations tend to formalize and standardize their internal activities to gain efficiencies, profits, or other key objectives.
In the last number of decades, researchers have devoted a great deal of time and energy understanding how organizations work, why they fail, and why they succeed. Several perspectives have emerged, each giving a unique perspective on organizational design. However, each organization has different drivers, variables, and leadership - all of which have an impact on how an organization functions. No one theory can capture all the nuances and complexity found within every organization.
Managers and leaders often think they understand the organizations, or organizational units, that they find themselves in charge of. But - do they? What insights can be gained by better understanding the nature of one's own organization? Can these insights be used to avert disaster? Create opportunities? Maximize resources? Minimize damage?
This course is designed to take students on a journey that introduces some common organizational theories. In the second half of the course, a "real world" opportunity will be offered to apply new knowledge to existing organizations in an inquisitive and investigatory manner. Students will be asked to research and analyze a real organization. The course culminates in a formal presentation of student findings to the class and to invited guests, including - when possible - the leaders of the organizations that have been studied.