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It is hard to imagine living in modern society without participating in or interacting with organizations. The ubiquity and variability of organizations means there is ample room for complexity and confusion in the organizational challenges we regularly face. Through this course, students will consider cases describing various organizational struggles: school systems and politicians attempting to implement education reforms; government administrators dealing with an international crisis; technology firms trying to create a company ethos that sustains worker commitment; and even two universities trying to gain international standing by performing a merger.
Each case is full of details and complexity. So how do we make sense of organizations and the challenges they face, let alone develop means of managing them in desired directions? While every detail can matter, some matter more than others. This is why we rely on organizational theories -- to focus our attention and draw out relevant features in a sensible way.
Through this course you will come to see that there is nothing more practical than a good theory.Every week, you’ll learn a different organizational theory, and it will become a lens through which you can interpret concrete organizational situations. Armed with a toolset of theories, you will then be able to systematically identify important features of an organization and the events transforming it – and use the theories to predict which actions will best redirect the organization in a desired direction.
Week 2: Decisions by rational and rule-based procedures
Week 3: Decisions by dominant coalitions
Week 4: Decisions in organized anarchies
Week 5: Developing organizational learning and intelligence
Week 6: Developing an organizational culture
Week 7: Managing resource dependencies
Week 8: Network forms of organization
Week 9: Institutions and organizational legitimacy
Week 10: Summary
It all depends on what track you take (see syllabus).
1. Basic track – demonstrates basic literacy in organizational analysis (involves 2-3 hour time commitment per week)
a. View about 2 hours of video segments each week and complete the inline quiz questions.
b. Participate in the forum.
c. Take the final exam.
2. Advanced track – demonstrates capacity for analysis and application (involves ~10-12 hour time commitment per week)
a. Complete basic requirements above.
b. Read course texts.
c. Take peer evaluation training.
d. Write papers. e. Evaluate peers’ papers.
• Will I get a “statement of accomplishment” after completing this class?
Yes. Students will receive a statement of accomplishment signed by the instructor. It will designate whether the students met the “basic requirements” that demonstrate literacy in organizational analysis, or if they completed the “advanced requirements” that demonstrate their capacity for analysis and application.
• Does Stanford award credentials or reports regarding my work in this course?
Stanford University does not award certificates or other credentials for student work in this course. The instructor will offer a statement of accomplishment.