HR9610 - Critical Organizational Analysis

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What will I learn on this module?

The aim of this module is to encourage engagement with Organisation Theory through offering a comprehensive account of ideas, perspectives and practices of organisation. You will learn to analyse organisations, people and organising practices through critical employment of Organisation Theory which challenges conventional understanding of organisations. You will learn to explore the impact of recent trends in Organisation Theory and Practice on people and their behaviour in organisations.

The module links topics on Organisation Theory and Practice:
• Introduction to Organisation Theory, and implications for practice: overview of three main perspectives (Modern, Symbolic and Contemporary)
• Organisation Theory:
o Theorizing relationship between Organisation and its environment
o Theorizing different perspectives on Culture and Organisation, and managing across cultures
o Theorizing organisational (physical and social) structure
o Theorizing power, control and conflict (including the feminist perspective)
o Theorizing Identity and organisational behaviour
• Applications in practice:
o Organisational Design, Sustainable Organisational Design
o Organisational learning, tacit knowledge and knowledge management
o Organisational change, change management, and sustainable development
o Aesthetics and organisations, performance, narrative, theatre and organisation
o Managing culture, people and behaviour in organisations, and managing across cultures

Upon completion of the module you will gain an in-depth understanding of:

o The major perspectives on Organisation Theory
o ‘Critical’ organisation theory and management practices
o The recent trends in organising practices
o Theory and practices involved in working in multi-cultural organisations with an awareness of ethical considerations.
o How to form your own construction of knowledge on organisations, managing people and their behaviour

How will I learn on this module?

The module is research-oriented in that the curriculum emphasises teaching processes of knowledge construction in the field of Organisation Theory and Practice. The lectures, seminars and online resources are designed with an emphasis on research-based learning and problem solving skills. The content will be based on a core textbook (Hatch and Cunliffe: Organization Theory 3e) as well as guided reading consisting of academic and practitioner research papers, academic books, case studies and company reports.

You will gain a deeper understanding of organisation theory and practice through employment of a number of learning tools incorporated within the module structure:

• Lectures will provide you with a theoretical underpinning of the module content by drawing on the most influential research on Organisation Theory, and will familiarise you with the major debates in the field. The lectures draw on recent organisation research challenging the conventional views of organisation theory, and will encourage you to look into the implications of such critical views for practice.
• Seminars will give you an opportunity to link the learnt theoretical and conceptual perspectives to organisational practice, and contextualise your knowledge of organising practices through analysis of case studies, company reports, and personal experience. Seminar activities will encourage independent learning, research-based inquiry and problem solving through interactive learning methods e.g. simulations, role plays, and debates.

You will receive formative feedback and guidance on how to start and complete your assignment (e.g. how to conduct research, analysis and final presentation of your assignment) through lectures, seminars and online learning resources (e.g. e-Learning Portal).

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will be provided by:
• Members of teaching team during scheduled lectures and seminars and by appointments during their office hours
• Module tutor during allocated consultation time to address teaching and learning issues
• Peers during seminar activities and teamwork
• Technology-enabled learning resources such as e-Learning Portal which provides detailed guidance on teaching and learning plan, lecture and seminar content, assessment, electronic reading list (providing direct links to textbooks, journal and conference papers), and multimedia resources.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

1. Knowledge & Understanding:
• Obtain and critically in-depth knowledge of past and contemporary developments in Organisation Theory, challenging and critically reflecting on your beliefs and attitudes towards managing people. (MLO1)

• Understand and critically analyse contemporary organisations and professional practices to identify appropriate organisational solutions. (MLO2)

2. Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Develop critical thinking in use of Organisation Theory to understand, explain and manage people in organisations. (MLO3)

3. Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):

• Develop critical awareness of cultural and ethical contexts in organisations. (MLO4)

How will I be assessed?

Assessment is comprised of two components:

1. Summative component: Submission of a report (3,000 words) which focuses on a case organisation. Students select and analyse a specific organisational practice (Organisational Design, Organisational Learning, Change Management, Aesthetics, or Culture) through application of Organisation Theory taught in the module.

Full and detailed guidance will be provided on the eLP, and upon the delivery of the module during lectures and seminars. The marking criteria will assess students in terms of their:
• Depth of knowledge of organisation theory
• Ability to analyse organisational practice using theoretical and conceptual perspectives
• Ability in engaging in critical and reflective examination of conventional understanding of organisation theory and practice
• Making recommendations with awareness of cultural and ethical implications
2. Formative component:
• Weekly quizzes in seminars
• Tutor and peer feedback received in small and big group activities, discussions and debates

All MLOs, MLO1-4, will be addressed in the summative assessment.





Module abstract

The module provides a comprehensive guide to Organisation Theory, and offers practical guidance to application of theoretical perspectives to organising practices. It offers an introduction to main theoretical perspectives dominant in Organisation Theory, i.e. modern, symbolic and contemporary perspectives. It highlights the implications of contrasting theoretical perspectives in practice, and further explores the latest development in organising practices. Through challenging conventional understanding of organisation and management, the module enables you to critically approach Organisation as a field of theory and practice, and to construct your own knowledge and understanding of ‘management’. It helps you to situate yourself within this field as critical thinkers, and as capable and reflective practitioners. As such the module contributes to your enhanced employability, and informed employment decision making.

Course info

UCAS Code N202

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Newcastle Business School

Location Law and NBS Building, City Campus East

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

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