University of Technology, Sydney

Staff directory | Webmail | Maps | Newsroom | What's on

21077 Understanding Organisations

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2019 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Business
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level: Undergraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.

Description

This subject draws on research and social theory to understand organisations and organisation cultures and practices – across sectors, locally and globally. It covers both mainstream classical business theorising and some alternatives. This examination should lead to an understanding that theory and organisational reality interact, influencing and shaping each other. This subject introduces a range of ethical and moral theories to broaden a critically informed approach to organisations and practice. As a result, the practising manager is informed by theory when defining issues, sense making and choosing practical and accountable actions.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
1. Research defining aspects of organisation culture across sectors locally and (selectively) globally
2. Identify impacts on decision-making and management practices through alternative forms of organisational structures
3. Discern ethical and social/relational issues (including human rights) in organisational cultures and practices
4. Critically evaluate organisational theory and practice from a range of social, ethical and historical perspectives

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following program learning objectives:

  • Evaluate business responses to ethical issues and dilemmas (4.2)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

This subject is designed to firstly enable students to make sense of how enterprises (across various sectors, locally and globally) are organised, and then with such a background develop an understanding on ways to “improve” organisational and management practice. A primary objective here is to draw on social theory, history and humanities to develop graduate capabilities for critical and ethical analysis of organisational structures and management practice. This is accomplished via class discussion, readings, cases studies, student research and experiential learning. A broad range of contexts and media will be used to reflect the complexities graduates will experience in both working within and shaping organisational practice.

This subject contributes to developing the following graduate attributes:

  • Attiudes and values
  • Business practice oriented skills

This subject also contributes specifically to develop the following Program Learning Objective:

  • 5.1: Demonstrate work-ready disciplinary knowledge in relation to business practice

Teaching and learning strategies

Teaching & Learning Strategies

The teaching and learning strategies used in this subject promote critical thinking, creative, analytical, communication and interpersonal skills. These strategies have been designed to enable students to make progress in their achievement and maximize their accomplishment of the learning outcomes. The strategies are summarized as follows:

Pre-class learning: Students are expected to read relevant chapters from the recommended textbook, and watch videos in preparation for block mode lectures and apply this learning in class. Students are expected to come to class prepared to actively participate in class discussions.

Lectures: Students are expected to attend and actively engage in all lectures. Lectures utilize various interactive tools to introduce and describe key concepts. They include but are not limited to; videos, and case study discussions. The lecture topics will be complemented by students pre-learning and opportunities for collaborative students discussion will be availed so that students can share their reflections on the key insights from both the lectures and pre-work completed.

Content (topics)

  • Use of social theory to make sense of past and current organisational practices (public corporations, small to medium enterprises, community and government organisations)
  • Introduction to classical, contemporary and emerging approaches to organisational structures – locally and globally – across sectors.
  • Introduction to ethical and social/relational issues for organisations and management
  • Critical evaluation of theory and practice in studying organisations
  • The place of human rights in organisation design and management practice.

Assessment

Assessment task 1: Essay (Individual)

Objective(s):

This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

This addresses program learning objectives(s):

4.2

Weight: 40%
Length:

2000 words (+/-10%) references excluded

Criteria:
  1. Effective evaluation of ethical issues and dilemmas, coherently aligned to the respective theories and correctly supported by the facts (15%)

  2. Evidence and sound appreciation for prior history where managers faced similar ethical issues (15%)
  3. Effective assessment of key trade-offs among parties involved (10%)

Assessment task 2: Presentation (Group)

Objective(s):

This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 30%
Length:

15 minutes presentation per person and 5 minutes as a group to field questions ?

Criteria:

We will be looking for evidence of:

  1. Originality, critical analysis and recommendations: this includes identification and critical analysis of 3-4 selected theories; an analysis of the past and present practices of the organization based on those theories; sound recommendations well supported by reference to theory and to the particular characteristics of the organisation (10%)
  2. Presentation structure: e.g. clear and appropriate slides structure, appropriate headings, legible presentation (e.g. use of visuals) (10%)?
  3. Clear and appropriate referencing (10%)

Assessment task 3: Research project (Individual)

Objective(s):

This addresses subject learning objective(s):

1, 2, 3 and 4

Weight: 30%
Length:

1500 words max (excluding executive summary, appendices and reference list)

Criteria:

We will be looking for evidence of:

  1. Originality, critical analysis and recommendations: this includes identification and critical analysis of 3-4 selected theories; an analysis of the past and present practices of the organization based on those theories; sound recommendations well supported by reference to theory and to the particular characteristics of the organisation (10%)
  2. Report structure: e.g. clear and appropriate report structure, appropriate headings, report presentation - e.g. use of visuals and formatting (10%)?
  3. Clear written expression and referencing: appropriate to purpose and audience (i.e. an academically persuasive report written for a managerial audience). You should ensure that the report has accurate grammar, a professional tone that it is authoritative and concise (i.e. don’t use 1000 words where 100 will do), and appropriate paragraphing (10%)

Minimum requirements

Students must achieve at least 50% of the subject’s total marks, and are expected to attend all classes.

Required texts

There are a great many writings available on Organisations and Organisation Theory, ranging in quality from very good to very bad. They are also based in different ways of seeing and analysing organisations. As a student, you may find difficulty in distinguishing these (we hope this will be different by the end of this subject), so you may wish to check any reading with your lecture.

Recommended texts

Grey, C. (2013) A Very Short Fairly Interesting and Reasonably Cheap Book About Studying Organizations. Sage

References

  1. Buchanan & Huczynski (2010) Organisational Behaviour Pearson.
  2. Managing Organisational Design (ch. 4) in Clegg, Kornberger and Pitsis (2012) Managing and Organizations. Sage
  3. Wadsworth (2011) Building In Research and Evaluation: Human Inquiry for Living Systems Left Coast Press