20753 - MANAGING ORGANIZATIONS
Course taught in English
Class-group lessons delivered on campus
Modern organizations carry out almost every task we need in order to function as a society – from education, to healthcare, to security, to the production of goods and services. Many of the achievements of our world would not have been possible without a sophisticated understanding of how to organize vast amounts of resources and the efforts of many people in order to carry out complex tasks. Symmetrically, many of the failures and disasters of modern society are the failures and disasters of organizations. The objective of this course is to give you the fundamental tools to understand how organizations operate, how they can be designed to achieve their goals, and what are the processes and the phenomena that affect their functioning, which we cannot design but can attempt to influence. We will do this by combining a rigorous theoretical approach with the discussion of cases, simulations and exercises that will enable you to gain a solid understanding and command of the complexities of modern organizations, with a particular emphasis on the specificities of organizations operating in an international context.
The ability to understand the full complexity of organizations begins with the development of multiple frameworks on organizations. As a starting point, this course is organized around three different frameworks on organizations: the strategic design framework, the political framework, and the cultural framework. Each of them offers a different angle on what is an organization, and each offers different tools for action. Yet, these frameworks provide only simplified versions of what an organization is. Therefore, to fully understand organizational complexity, we need to integrate these three frameworks into a more holistic view. For these reasons, the course will start by examining these three frameworks in details. Within the strategic design framework, it will focus on the most important organizational designs, their determinants, and on incentive systems. Within the political framework, it will focus on the role of individual preferences in determining political issues, on how to manage with power, on the role of social capital, and on the pathologies inherent in the use of power. Within the cultural framework, it will focus on how to analyze the organizational culture and how to interpret differences in national cultures. Having established these three pillars, the course will then explore the role of social networks to for leadership and brokerage.
1. Acquire the basic jargon and concepts necessary to discuss, in a precise and consistent manner, organizational issues and how to address them.
2. Understand and address what determines the choice of formal organization (structure, control), why and how informal organization emerge and change, what shapes organiational culture.
3. Understand the nature and dynamics of key organizational phenomena
4. Understand the key organizational issues faced by organizations that operate globally, and what solutions have been developed in order to address them
1. Identify the relevant dimensions pertaining to each framework
2. Integrate the different frameworks to develop a better understanding of organizational dynamics
3. Use these basic tools to diagnose and frame organizational problems, address them, and devise ways to solve them
- Face-to-face lectures
- Guest speaker's talks (in class or in distance)
- Case studies /Incidents (traditional, online)
- Group assignments
- Interactive class activities (role playing, business game, simulation, online forum, instant polls)
Classes are organized so as to provide students with the relevant concepts and theory, and with the opportunity to discover and apply them through the use of cases and exercises. It is important that students not only attend class, but also come to class having read the cases or exercises assigned for the class, and ready to participate in the discussion.
With the purpose of measuring the acquisition of the learning outcomes of the course, students’ assessment is based on different components.
The final written exam (100% of the final grade) will be the same for attending an non attending students. The written exam is based on a mix of multiple-choice and open (short-answer) questions. The purpose is to verify that the students master the underlying theoretical concepts and methods presented in the readings and the additional class material. The exam will also test whether the students can develop solutions to organizational problems by drawing inferences from what they have learned.
For students who decide to actively participate in class, a maximum of 2 points might be added to the final exam grade. The points will be determined relative to the performance of all the students participating in the class. These additional points will be based on:
1. A group case writeup. Students will be assigned a case that they will need to analyze using the material learned in class. The case will present a problem, and students will have to analyze the root causes of the problem and propose a solution.
2. In class exercises/simulations. Students will be asked to participate in either group or individual activities aimed at understanding and testing specific topics.
The teaching material will be indicated before the beginning of the course