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Organization Theory


  • Credit value: 15 credits at Level 7
  • Convenor and tutor: Konstantinos Chalkias
  • Assessment: a 4000-word essay (100%)

Module description

This module introduces you to organization theory, a group of theories that offer explanation, understanding and appreciation of the complexity of organizations and the activities and processes of organizing. The module mainly focuses on the discipline of organization theory but also draws from elements of organizational behaviour.

Organization theory focuses on the key contextual variables that management needs to account for. These include congruency with the external environment, culture, technology, design, and social and power structures. The module covers a broad range of theories that are grouped around three main philosophical perspectives: modern, symbolic/interpretive and postmodern.

Different ways of looking at the world produce different knowledge and thus different philosophical perspectives come to be associated with organization theories. The concepts and theories of a particular perspective offer you distinctive thinking tools with which to craft ideas about organizations and organizing. Depending upon your intentions, you may find that particular perspectives have greater appeal than others. Understanding the differences in the application of the perspectives is not only crucial to how theory is created but also to the way organizing is practised.

Learning objectives

By the end of this module you will be able to:

  • analyse the core concepts and theories that organizational theory uses to explain and theorise organizations and organizing
  • understand the key philosophical perspectives (and their key theories) within organization theory
  • understand and problematize the central theoretical and conceptual issues in the field of organization theory
  • understand the interrelatedness of theories, and the usefulness of applying multiple lenses to understand phenomena
  • show how these ideas can serve as ‘practical tools’ for the analysis and management of successful organizational situations.