MM254-Organisational Behaviour

Module Provider: Leadership, Organisations and Behaviour
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Chris Woodrow


Summary module description:
This course is intended to be both practically relevant and intellectually stimulating. Whatever path students chose after university, they are highly likely to perform most of their activities in organizational settings such as firms, universities, hospitals, clubs, etc. The module will explore three distinct bodies of knowledge: firstly, the informal and tacit knowledge of organizations built up in everyday life; secondly, contributions from mainstream approaches to organizational behaviour (OB) and management studies; and finally, alternative, critical approaches drawn from OB and the wider social science disciplines.

The aim of the module is to provide an advanced understanding of organisational analysis and behaviour through reliance on the tacit knowledge of students and on social and human sciences such as management, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Assessable learning outcomes:
Through lectures, reading, essay writing and discussion, students will:

1. Acquire concepts and frameworks that are used to analyse organisations.

2. Understand and solve some of the problems/crises that tend to arise in organisational contexts.

3. Develop independent research and writing skills associated with producing longer assessed essays.

4. Develop teamwork, problem-solving and presentation skills in tutorials.

Additional outcomes:
Students will also:
1. Learn to make their way in new or more complex organisational settings.
2. Become more sensitive to the political aspects of organisations.
3. Acquire (critical) reflexivity concerning managerial discourse.

Outline content:
The module is comprised of 10 weekly two-hour lectures and 5 fortnightly one-hour tutorials on themes introduced in the module textbook. The material reflects two broad areas of scholarship: research on individual motivation and behaviour in employment contexts and research on the nature of business and bureaucratic organisations and the social relations that underpin and sustain them. Lectures typically cover the following themes:

Week 1 Introduction to OB
Week 2 Essay writing skills
Week 3 Motivation and work
Week 4 Management and leadership
Week 5 Weber on authority
Week 6 What is power?
Week 7 Is bureaucracy rational?
Week 8 Post-bureaucracy
Week 9 Technology and organisation
Week 10 Group essay feedback

Tutorials cover the themes and case studies listed below, with the first and last tutorials given over to developing presentation and essay writing skills.

Week 1 Tutorial guide
Week 2 Tutorial guide
Week 3 Motivation
Week 4 Motivation
Week 5 Bureaucracy
Week 6 Bureaucracy
Week 7 Technology
Week 8 Technology
Week 9 Individual essay feedback
Week 10 Individual essay feedback

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures are designed to provide (especially theoretical) grounding for students to be able to prepare their coursework. Lectures are led by the module convenor, using power point and blackboard as appropriate. Students are encouraged to participate in discussion during the lecture and time is reserved for discussion towards the middle and end of each session. In addition, lectures are usually punctuated by interludes in which students are asked to form small groups and answer specific questions on the topic of the lecture. The lecturer then collates information from the room and feeds the gathered data back into the lecture. Whiteboards and electronic media are used to do this.

Tutorials are compulsory and develop selected themes from the lectures by focussing on specific case studies that form the basis of student presentations. Students are divided into small working groups that have to make three ten-minute (usually power point-based) presentations to the tutorial group. After each presentation, 10 minutes are reserved for questions and class discussion moderated by the convenor. Students are encouraged to work collectively over a two-week period in preparing their presentations and frequently seek guidance from the lecturer on how to manage group work and ensure good coordination. The first tutorial session is a seminar that aims to coach students on how best approach group work over the course of the term. The last tutorial session is given over to individualised feedback.

Teaching and marking is carried out by the module convenor with the support of Teaching Assistants.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Tutorials 5
Work-based learning 0
Guided independent study 175
Total hours by term 200.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 70
Oral assessment and presentation 30

Other information on summative assessment:

Formative assessment methods:
Extensive feedback and feed forward is used during the teaching term so that, by the time students come to write their essay they will have received group feedback to indicate where their work lies in the class distribution and individual feedback and feed forward on how to improve their essays specifically. Tutorial feedback is given immediately after presentations, so that students have an indication of their performance in the module from the 3rd week of term onwards. This also allows students to get specific advice on how to improve their presentations through the course of the term.

Penalties for late submission:
The Module Convenor will apply the following penalties for work submitted late, in accordance with the University policy.

  • where the piece of work is submitted up to one calendar week after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): 10% of the total marks available for the piece of work will be deducted from the mark for each working day (or part thereof) following the deadline up to a total of five working days;
  • where the piece of work is submitted more than five working days after the original deadline (or any formally agreed extension to the deadline): a mark of zero will be recorded.

  • The University policy statement on penalties for late submission can be found at:
    You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

    Length of examination:

    Requirements for a pass:

    Reassessment arrangements:
    Reassessment arrangements: re-submission of essays by August 22nd of the same year.

    Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
    1) Required text books:
    2) Specialist equipment or materials:
    3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
    4) Printing and binding:
    5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
    6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

    Last updated: 21 December 2016

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