MG440 Complex Organizations

for U1B 2006

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Mission Statement: The mission of Park University, an entrepreneurial institution of learning, is to provide access to academic excellence, which will prepare learners to think critically, communicate effectively and engage in lifelong learning while serving a global community.

Vision Statement: Park University will be a renowned international leader in providing innovative educational opportunities for learners within the global society.


MG 440 Complex Organizations


U1B 2006 BL


Onick, Robert L.


Senior Instructor of Social Psychology/Adjunct Faculty


M.Ed. in Secondary Curriculum and Instruction
M.Ed. in Educational Psychology
Certification at the Secondary Level in Sociology

Office Location

To be negotiated as needed

Office Hours

To be arranged or negotiated by phone

Daytime Phone

(915) 821-0660


Semester Dates

May 23 - July 13, 2006

Class Days


Class Time

5:00 - 7:30 PM

Credit Hours


Hodge, B.J., William P. Anthony, Lawrence M. Gales.  Organizational Theory:  A Strategic Approach; 6th Edition; Prentice Hall, 2003.

Course Description:
A sociological approach to the study of organizations.  Focuses on theoretical perspectives, characteristics of organizations, the interrelationship of organizational variables, and other related topics.  3:0:3

Educational Philosophy:
Lectures, presentations, and discussions will be used as well as structured experiential activities for students.  Student presentations and possible interviews will be integrated throughout the course.  Since an experiential, student-centered learning approach will be utilized, authentic performance assessments will be incorporated in alignment with the principles of change (CBAM--Concerns-Based Adoption Model for Change).  Activities will focus on mastering higher order critical thinking skills and problem-solving techniques.  Additionally, an emphasis will be placed on examining organizational activities and mechanisms as they relate to and align with essential organizational principles.

Learning Outcomes:
  Core Learning Outcomes

  1. Describe the issues surrounding organizations and how best to deal with those issues and concerns.
  2. Explain the impact of Societal Pressures on Organizations.
  3. Develop a term paper project on a complex organization.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes
  1. Understand and comprehend theories, concepts and principles related to work activities at an organizational level.
  2. Describe, re-create, define and make comparisons and contrasts concerning the different sociological approaches to organizations and complex human behavior related to organizations.
  3. Analyze, synthesize, and apply various aspects of the course content and activities to one's day-to-day involvement with complex organizations.
  4. Observe and disclose personal reactions related to the course content issues and activities at the organizational level.
  5. Commit to and keep class agreements and negotiations concerning ground rules for the organization or re-negotiate the agreements as needed with the instructor throughout the course.
Core Assessment:

Class Assessment:
Readings and Journal Reaction Sheets (2 - 3 per semester--100 points maximum)
Essay Questions/Applications (2 - 3 exams per semester--100 points maximum)
Class Participation/Demonstrated Class Activities (continuous and ongoing--100 points maximum)
Student Presentation/Interview/Research Abstract (100 points maximum)
Demonstration of Negotiated Course Agreements (assessed twice per semester--100 points maximum)
Class Activity Reaction Sheets (optional--extra credit up to 15 points maximum)

A.  Students will negotiate with the instructor the percentage of their total grade they want determined by each of the categories above (no category can be worth less than 10% or more than 20%).  
B.  They will communicate their intentions in writing to the class instructor and these will be binding unless renegotiated by both parties during the course of the term or at the end of the term.  
C.  Students will also be asked to personally evaluate their achievements in the course based on the stated course objectives and on the evidence of record from the above categories.  
D.  Course grades will be determined equally from instructor's performance assessments and student self-evaluations.

Individual assignments to be graded will be assessed points on the basis of completeness, accuracy and validity.  Points for class participation will be determined according to the degree to which students complete their class presentations; actively engage in small group, experiential activities; and participate in large group discussions of class content material.

Final Letter Grade Assessments:
A--450 - 500 points
B--400 - 449 points
C--350 - 399 points
D--300 - 349 points

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Students who are absent and excused will be given one week to complete assignments with no penalty.  Assignments turned in after one week will have 20 points deducted from the total possible points.  Unexcused absences will result in zeroes unless renegotiated with the instructor prior to the next class.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Students and instructor will negotiate and agree on a set of mutually workable ground rules during the first weeks of the course.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
A.  Readings and Journal Reaction Sheets:  Read all material, both text readings and class handouts, in advance of assigned dates.  Examine the material carefully in terms of the personal meaning it holds for you.  Assignments correspond directly and support planned class activities and provide a background for understanding and realizing what is taking place.  Assessment of readings (for grading purposes) will be done by periodic examination of reaction sheets entered in the student's journal. Examination of journal entries by the instructor will take place two or three times during the course; however entries from the readings are to be made each week (weeks 3 - 7).
NOTE:  After reading assigned material, and in advance of assigned dates, write a concise two-page analysis for one chapter from the assigned readings each week.  The two-page reaction sheets are to be dated and entered in the student's journal on the appropriate dates assigned.  The "summary" will go on the front side of the first page while the student's personal reactions to the readings are to be written on the front side of the second page.

B.  Class Activities Reaction Sheets:  Reaction sheets may be entered in the journal (for grading purposes) on a weekly basis which summarize the previous week's classroom activities and your personal reactions to the activities.  These reaction sheets would be in addition to the reading reaction sheets.  These are not required and may be negotiated by individual students.  The format is the same as reaction sheets to the assigned readings.

C.  Essay Questions/Applications:  Questions pertaining to class activities and assigned readings will be distributed to students on three occasions during the course.  The number of questions on these exams will range from 3 to 7 for each distribution.  Assessment will be based on the student's ability to recreate personal and interpersonal experiences from class activities and personal interpretation of the content material.

D.  Class Participation:  Since the course focuses on people and since all sessions will involve experiential activities and exercises involving class participants, active and consistent attendance and participation is needed from all students enrolling in the course.  Assessment will be based on the instructor's observation of student performance and will be communicated and negotiated with each student during the course of the class and again at the end of the course.

E.  Student Presentation/Interview/Research Abstract:  Although this short research and presentation project will be due the 7th or 8th week, the organization, planning, collaborating and researching will occur in a continuous process beginning in the 3rd week.

F.  Negotiated Course Agreements:  Once the course ground rules have been negotiated, students will be assessed a grade by the instructor based on the extent to which the negotiated agreements have been actualized, demonstrated, and performed.  Students will assess the degree to which they have done what they agreed to do.

Tentative Class Schedule:

Week 1 (May 23 - 25, 2006)
   Introduction to Course/Syllabus/Handouts
   Creating a Context for the Course as an Organization
   Introduction to Course/Syllabus/Handouts
   Negotiating the Syllabus for the Course/Organization
   Negotiations of Class Ground Rules for the Course as a
   Complex Organization

Week 2 (May 30 - June 1, 2006)
   Readings:  Handouts/Chapters 1 & 2
   Class Discussions on Readings/Handouts
   Assignments of Research Abstract/Reaction Sheets
   Background Material from Students (Historical
   Experiential Activity on Organizational
   Experiential Activities on Sociological Perspectives
   of Complex Organizations
   Continuation/Completion of the Negotiation of
   Class Ground Rules/Syllabus

Week 3 (June 6 - 8, 2006)
   Readings:  Chapters 3 & 13 (Case #1)
   Class Discussion of Readings (Mission Possible)
   Experiential Activity on Complexity in Organizations
   Student Presentation of Topics (Planning)
   Collection of 1st Set of Reaction Sheets
   Assignment of 1st Set of Essay Questions
   Experiential Activity on Managing the Organizational
   Context (Continuous Improvement--TQM/Deming's
   Systems Principles)

Week 4 (June 13 - 15, 2006)
   Readings:  Chapters 4, 5, 6, 13 (Case #2)
   Class Discussion of Readings (Mission Possible)
   Experiential Activity on Organizational
   Collection of 1st Set of Essay Questions
   Student Presentation of Topics (Organizing)
   Experiential Activity on Organizational Change/Learning

Week 5 (June 20 - 22, 2006)
   Readings:  Chapters 7, 8, & 9 (Case #3)
   Class Discussion of Readings (Mission Possible)
   Student Presentation of Topics (Refinement)
   Experiential Activity on Organizational Principles
   Collection of 2nd Set of Reaction Sheets
   Experiential Activity on Organizational Mechanisms

Week 6 (June 27 - 29, 2006)
   Readings:  Chapters 10, 11, & 12 (Case TBA)
   Class Discussion of Readings (Mission Possible)
   Experiential Activity on Organizational Processes and
   Collection of 2nd Set of Essay Questions
   Student Presentation of Topics (Refocusing)
   Experiential Activity on Organizational

Week 7 (July 4 - 6, 2006)
   Readings:  Chapter 13 (Revisited)
   Class Discussion of Readings
   Collection of 3rd Set of Reaction Sheets
   Assignment of 3rd Set of Essay Questions
   Experiential Activity on Organizational Change
   Action Research--Validation Activity
   Experiential Activity on Organizational

Week 8 (July 11 - 13, 2006)
   Student Presentation of Related Topics
   Feedback from Students (Processing Action Research
   Collection of 3rd Set of Essay Questions
   Course Completion Activities (Initial)
   Negotiation of Course Grade/Organizational Performance
   Final Course "Completing" Activity as an Organization

NOTE:  Extra credit is optional and can be negotiated individually from week-to-week with the instructor.  It is not a requirement for the course and is intended to be fun, enlightening, and "risking" in nature.


I.   Philosophy, Background and Basic Assumptions of the  

II.  Key Concepts of the Model/Principle/Theory/Practice

III. Main Goal of the Model/Principle/Theory/Leadership

IV.  Description of Impact on Organizational Personnel
    and/or Activities

V.   Specific Application(s) to Organizational Leadership

VI.  Strengths/Advantages/Contributions of the

VII. Weaknesses/Disadvantages/Limitations of the

VIII.Personal Reactions to the Topics/Theories/Styles/


1.  Topics are to be selected from chapters 1 - 13 or negotiated individually with the instructor.

2.  Should not be more than four pages in length (front and back) or eight pages (front only).

3.  Could be a topic you are interested in or curious about or passionate about to some degree.

4.  Topic could be simply something you want to learn more or gather additional information about.

5.  Would be applicable to content and timeline in the course syllabus.

6.  There are to be no duplication of topics within a presentation group.  

Academic Honesty:
Academic integrity is the foundation of the academic community. Because each student has the primary responsibility for being academically honest, students are advised to read and understand all sections of this policy relating to standards of conduct and academic life.   Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Plagiarism involves the use of quotations without quotation marks, the use of quotations without indication of the source, the use of another's idea without acknowledging the source, the submission of a paper, laboratory report, project, or class assignment (any portion of such) prepared by another person, or incorrect paraphrasing. Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 85-87

Attendance Policy:
Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.

  1. The instructor may excuse absences for valid reasons, but missed work must be made up within the semester/term of enrollment.
  2. Work missed through unexcused absences must also be made up within the semester/term of enrollment, but unexcused absences may carry further penalties.
  3. In the event of two consecutive weeks of unexcused absences in a semester/term of enrollment, the student will be administratively withdrawn, resulting in a grade of "WH".
  4. A "Contract for Incomplete" will not be issued to a student who has unexcused or excessive absences recorded for a course.
  5. Students receiving Military Tuition Assistance or Veterans Administration educational benefits must not exceed three unexcused absences in the semester/term of enrollment. Excessive absences will be reported to the appropriate agency and may result in a monetary penalty to the student.
  6. Report of a "F" grade (attendance or academic) resulting from excessive absence for those students who are receiving financial assistance from agencies not mentioned in item 5 above will be reported to the appropriate agency.

Park University 2005-2006 Undergraduate Catalog Page 89
1.  Students will be expected to be in class on time according to the negotiated times given.

2.  Students are to give maximum possible notice should they be unable to attend as agreed.  If they are unable to attend, they will communicate their intentions to the instructor and complete missing assignments prior to the next class meeting.

Disability Guidelines:
Park University is committed to meeting the needs of all students that meet the criteria for special assistance. These guidelines are designed to supply directions to students concerning the information necessary to accomplish this goal. It is Park University's policy to comply fully with federal and state law, including Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, regarding students with disabilities. In the case of any inconsistency between these guidelines and federal and/or state law, the provisions of the law will apply. Additional information concerning Park University's policies and procedures related to disability can be found on the Park University web page: .


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Last Updated:5/2/2006 12:53:14 AM