HR9693 - Fiction and Organisation

What will I learn on this module?

Through this module you will develop your understanding of academic critique and gain confidence in your ability to construct academic arguments by critically reflecting upon a range of fictions. You will encounter theories and perspectives that will support your understanding of a range of contemporary organisational issues and improve your ability to separate rhetoric from reality. Key theories will include gender, identity, performativity, power and the nature of being, such as embodiment. You will learn the benefit of reading widely and how to see real life scenarios as human stories and shared narratives. This will support you to empathise and see people, and yourself, from different perspectives. Learning from a variety of quality fictions related to the world of work will help you in developing critical thinking skills and how to apply the persuasive narrative style of fiction to evoke affective responses from colleagues and audiences in business contexts. These skills are essential to performing well in academic work as well as operating at a strategic level in organisations, particularly when managing projects which necessitate challenging existing ways of doing things, from eliminating discriminatory practices to implementing large-scale change. The assessment on this module will support you in reflecting on the implications of what you have learned for your future professional career as well as wider business and social change. You will also consider your future career as a professional and your potential social impact in a way that goes beyond standard preconceptions of how business professionals think and what they do.
You will develop these skills by engaging with fictional narratives (i.e. reading, listening and watching). Fictions are typically more accessible to wider audiences compared to management texts as sources of information about management and organisational practice. While fiction is often defined as something which is imaginary or invented, it is often inspired by real life; it feels real because it draws us closer to different experiences and allows us to glimpse alternative possibilities. Therefore, through fiction, you will consider aspects of organisational life and management that are not typically covered in traditional business and management textbooks, such as emotions, prejudice, sexuality, and humour, and thus develop a more holistic picture of management practice.

How will I learn on this module?

Your experience of learning on this module is likely to be very different to what you have encountered so far on your degree. Therefore, while an interest in reading is beneficial, you will be given all the tools needed to successfully engage with both fiction and organisational theory. The module will start by engaging you with shorter pieces of fiction which have a clear relevance to organisation life, building to medium length texts with more complex and abstract themes. You will build your skills in applying critical lenses by first considering the differing perspectives of characters within fiction and discussing their interpretations and motivations. You will examine the (blurred) line between fiction and (messy) “reality”, gaining an understanding of irreconcilable positions.
Taking part in small group activities, including book clubs/reading circles, will support you in gaining confidence to share and discuss your own interpretations, and strengthen these with evidence from your reading. You will therefore gradually develop your ability to make the connection between fiction and organisation, and to apply theory to both in a supportive community environment.
Typical classroom activities will include watching, reading or listening to short pieces, analysis through structured activities, delivering feedback on content (e.g. book reviews, opinion pieces), research (e.g. finding case studies to connect to a piece of fiction) and group presentations. The module will emphasise collective dialogue both inside and outside the classroom, particularly through encouraging small groups of students to form reading circles in order to undertake mutually supportive exploration, analysis and reflection. Film, tv and digital media will be used throughout to provide illumination and improve accessibility to the texts.

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will be provided to you by a member of academic staff who will facilitate your learning and support you through the led sessions whilst disseminating appropriate activities you should be engaging in during your independent study time. They are also available upon request to support you outside of formal session time by responding to questions or concerns that you might have either via email or via individually pre-arranged appointments and/or drop-in sessions.
Tutor-led, tutor-guided and learner-led activities are organised in groups of around 20 working in smaller teams. This approach provides a closer, more personal academic support. All workshops and seminar sessions will consist of learners who are also studying on your programme.
Academic support is also provided through the provision of a range of University learning support services. A wide range of online support materials are also available thought the virtual learning environment. These materials include recordings, webcasts, pre-recorded sessions on the use of specialist software and key academic skills, also an electronic reading list including RSS feeds that showcase the application of various practices presented in the module.

To support you in your academic progress, you will receive both formative and summative feedback/feed-forward on your work through the course of each academic year. Regular formative feedback on class activities provides you with the necessary guidance to scaffold your knowledge and understanding of key issues to enable your success in the final summative assessment. Summative feedback/feed-forward will be provided on your work after it has been assessed and graded. You should use all feedback that you receive to identify areas of strength and areas for future study and improvement.

In addition – support from each other

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?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Understand the construction of organisational and business reality and analyse own preconceptions [MLO1]
• Develop knowledge of prominent organisational analysis theories and their application such as power, identity and conflict [MLO2]
• Increase knowledge and understanding of the emerging professional self through reflection and dialogue [MLO3]

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Recognise different perspectives and critically analyse and apply theory [MLO4]
• Experience collective exploration of issues including competing perspectives and how this can be managed [MLO5]
• Reflect on the process of transformative organisation and social change, recognising barriers and enablers [MLO6]

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Awareness of how and why some perspectives may be suppressed and how fiction may reveal these [MLO7]

How will I be assessed?

Formative assessment:
Throughout the module you should actively participate in scheduled and self-directed activities and should engage in discussions, team work and feedback exercises to challenge your own thinking and that of your peers.

Face-to-face sessions will provide you with the opportunity to self-assess your knowledge and understanding through applying the different aspects/topics examined. You will work through small groups activities which will enable you to secure on-going feedback from your peers.

Summative Assessment:
1. A group video submission relating to the breadth students have learned on the module to the potential for social and business change. (40% of module grade) (ML1, MLO5, MLO6, MLO7)
2. Individual 2,000 word essay based on a critical reflection on one or two themes within the students’ choice of fiction, considering how they, as a future professional, may tackle such problems and the barriers that may be faced in doing so effectively (60% of module grade) (MLO1, MLO2, MLO3, MLO4, MLO7)





Module abstract

Fiction is an accessible form of information about organisational practices that translates often hard-hitting themes to audiences through entertaining narratives. On this module you will encounter a selected range of fictional pieces, including stories, novellas, film, audio and tv. Using fiction, you will critically reflect upon, and analyse themes which are recurrent in organisational life yet are not typically covered in management textbooks, such as emotions, prejudice, sexuality, and humour. The skills you will gain on this module in critique and constructing academic arguments are essential to performing well in academic work as well as operating at a strategic level in organisations, particularly when managing projects which necessitate challenging existing ways of doing things, from eliminating discriminatory practices to implementing large-scale change. The module assessment is based on your individual reflections of what you have learnt and the relevance of this to your future career, as well as a recorded group submission resulting from meetings of your reading circle throughout the module.

Course info

UCAS Code N205

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 year sandwich

Department Newcastle Business School

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2024 or September 2025

Fee Information

Module Information

All information is accurate at the time of sharing. 

Full time Courses are primarily delivered via on-campus face to face learning but could include elements of online learning. Most courses run as planned and as promoted on our website and via our marketing materials, but if there are any substantial changes (as determined by the Competition and Markets Authority) to a course or there is the potential that course may be withdrawn, we will notify all affected applicants as soon as possible with advice and guidance regarding their options. It is also important to be aware that optional modules listed on course pages may be subject to change depending on uptake numbers each year.  

Contact time is subject to increase or decrease in line with possible restrictions imposed by the government or the University in the interest of maintaining the health and safety and wellbeing of students, staff, and visitors if this is deemed necessary in future.


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