SO 421 Organizational Sociology
U1T 2010 DL
McGinty, Patrick J.W.
Senior Instructor of Sociology
Ph.D. (2005) University of Missouri-ColumbiaM.A. (1994) Western Illinois UniversityB.A. (1992) Knox College
Instructor Office link in eCollege classroom
24/7 via Instructor Office link or e-mail
June 7, 2010 - August 1, 2010
SO308 or equivalent
Textbook: Scott, W. Richard and Davis, Gerald F. (2007). Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems (1st ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.
Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore
Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore
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Educational Philosophy: My philosophy of teaching and learning is rooted in three significant influences: my formal training in sociology as well as the interdisciplinary area of education studies; my commitment to quality undergraduate instruction and improving the educational opportunities in the academic and disciplinary communities of which I am a part; and my ongoing research interests and agenda. I believe that the classroom, course material and methods utilized by instructors need to actively reflect what is known about the multiple ways in which students learn, and with respect to the discipline of sociology, what it is that is central to the sociological enterprise. Accordingly, my approach to teaching and learning focuses on active student participation, quality faculty-student interaction, and the construction of an empowering classroom culture. To that end, I believe that:
1) Course activities and assigned coursework should focus on students learning to use their minds well.
2) Course goals and curricular decisions should be directed toward student mastery of the tenets of the area of study where the emphasis is on student mastery of a few core ideas as opposed to the presentation of numerous disconnected facts.
3) Course goals and objectives apply to all students and classroom practice is geared toward meeting the needs of all students.
4) Teaching and learning should be personalized to the maximum feasible extent.
5) The governing metaphor of the course should be ‘student as producer of knowledge’ as opposed to the more prevalent metaphor of ‘professor as deliverer of instructional services.’ The aim is to provoke students to learn how to learn.
6) The tone of any course should stress unanxious expectation, trust until abused, decency, fairness, generosity, and tolerance.
Within this set of principles there are two inextricably linked conceptions, the first is that of learning, and the second is that of teaching. Learning does not occur in isolation, it is not passive, nor is it the same for each student. What can be said is that learning is an active social process involving both interaction and interpretation. Just as students learn from their course professor, they also learn from each other and from interaction with materials which exist outside the limited set of “required” readings. Additionally, students navigate this learning process by becoming sophisticated problem solvers, using multiple intelligences, and by drawing upon their experiences and existing stocks of knowledge. The courses I develop use a wide range of instructional techniques such as class discussion, small group and oral presentations and written assignments in the attempt to draw more students into participation and active engagement with the material, ideas, concepts, and people associated with the course. Doing so, I believe, also helps the students manage and take ownership of the learning process.
Similarly, teaching does not occur in isolation, though we often act as if it does. Teaching is not passive and it cannot be a static endeavor. Teaching is a process of constant reevaluation and renewal. What could be done better? What isn’t working? What new opportunities or innovations are at my disposal? These are the questions that beg answers. Just as I encourage students to learn how to learn, I learn from them how I can better meet their needs. I learn from faculty who have previously taught the course or similar courses and the dialogue among said parties helps to develop points for reflection. Teaching is an active process – one of engagement, dialogue, and perhaps confrontations with conventional wisdom or other forms of “the way things have always been done.” Teaching must be flexible and accommodating of the “teachable moment” as well as the changing cohorts of students, but still grounded enough not to lose the critical thinking and higher order thinking skills as well as the course content being promoted. In sum, the style, form, and function of teaching must be a dynamic endeavor.
Class Assessment: Class Discussion 200 points (20%)
Weeks 1 through 8 (25 points each week)
Response to each initial Discussion Question posted by established deadline up to 9 points
Responses to at least two classmates in each discussion thread by end of weekup to 12 points
Quality of weekly comments and responses up to 4 points
Quizzes 200 points (20%)
Weeks 1 through 8 (25 points per quiz)
Short multiple-choice/true-false online quizzes involving 5 to 20 questions
Case Study I: Organizational Structure 100 points (10%)
A 750 – 1000 word essay that asks students to analyze: the manner in which complex organizations are organized and structured; the social implications of organizational structure; and the implications of the multiple theoretical perspectives on the roles, functions, and forms of organizations in human social life.
A 750 – 1000 word essay that asks students to analyze: the implications of the multiple theoretical perspectives on organizational change; the implications of organizational change for the way in which people live; and the relationship between organizational change, institutional change, and social change.
Core Assessment: Organizational Analysis Essay 200 points (20%)
1. A summary of the structure of your chosen organization and the challenges proposed by the change it is undergoing or about to undergo. This is not simply a rehash of your previous case studies, but an opportunity to highlight and revise the crucial points based on your continued study and the feedback you received on those previous assignments.
2. A description of the environment the organization operates in. Explain how that environment affects organizational culture, decision making, and may contribute to either conflict or a shared sense of purpose within the organization.
3. An evaluation of the strengths and weaknesses of your organization’s understanding of the challenges it faces and its plans and strategies for changing and meeting those challenges. Again, make sure you incorporate relevant concepts and research into your analysis and evaluation.
4. A projection of your chosen organization in the future (as appropriate to its challenge or plan) and discuss whether you think it will be successful or not. Be very specific in your discussion of which ways you anticipate it to be successful and which ways you do not. Use the conceptual tools of this class to devise alternative strategies for those areas to anticipate deficiency.
Your essay should clearly focus on the challenges faced by one private or public sector organization. It should be carefully proofread and edited, conform to the applicable guidelines of APA format, and include all citations and references. Each point should be carefully explained with sociological concepts, explicitly justified with reason and empirical scientific evidence, and illustrated through specific real-world examples.
Your essay should incorporate the results of several sources of original sociological research, provide clear and well-developed examples for each of your major points, and critically evaluate the effects of this institution in the Information Age.
Proctored Comprehensive Final Exam 200 points (20%)
Proctored exam involving 40 multiple-choice/true-false questions
(4 points each) and 2 short-answer essays (20 points each).
Class Discussion (Weeks 1 through 8)
Response to each initial Discussion Question posted by established deadline up to 9 points
Responses to at least two classmates in each discussion thread by end of week up to 12 points
Quality of weekly comments and responses up to 4 points
Clarity of Thought 5 – 20 points
General Assessment 5 – 20 points
Organization 3 – 15 points
Attention to Issues and Ideas Raised in the Course 3 – 15 points
Attention to Grammar/Punctuation/Structure of Writing 3 – 15 points
Synthesizes and Analyzes Multiple Sources of Sociological Research 3 – 15 points
Summarizes the structure of the chosen organization 3 – 15 points
Summarizes the challenges proposed changes the organization is undergoing 3 – 15 points
Describes the environment the organization operates in, and explains how that
environment affects organizational culture, decision making, and may contribute to 9 – 15 points
either conflict or a shared sense of purpose within the organization
Evaluates the strengths and weaknesses of your organization’s understanding of the 9 – 15 points
challenges it faces and its plans and strategies for changing and meeting those challenges.
Incorporates relevant concepts and research into your analysis and evaluation. 9 – 15 points
Projects the chosen organization into the future (as appropriate to its challenge or plan)
and discusses whether it will be successful or not. 9 – 15 points
Uses the conceptual tools of this class to anticipate deficiency. 9 – 15 points
General Assessment 4 – 20 points
* A detailed Organizational Analysis Assignment Scoring Guide can be found in Course Documents
Late Submission of Course Materials: Late assignments will be accepted by the course instructor. However, ALL work that is submitted and/or received past the established deadline will be assessed a penalty of 50% of the value of the assignment. This policy does not extend to weekly discussion topics. Students who do not participate in the weekly discussions in a timely manner are encouraged to participate in past discussions as possible, but no points will be awarded for said late participation.
Week 1: Introduction to Complex Organizations and Understanding Complex Organizations as Rational Systems
Due Date (if applicable)
Scott & Davis, Chp. 1, “The Subject is Organizations; The Verb is Organizing”
Scott & Davis, Chp. 2, “Organizations as Rational Systems”
Simon, “Decision-Making and Administrative Organization” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Udy, “’Bureaucracy’ and ‘Rationality’ in Weber’s Organization Theory: An Empirical Study” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Introduction to Complex Organizations
Complex Organizations as Rational Systems
Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class
Scott & Davis, Chp. 3, “Organizations as Natural Systems”
Scott & Davis, Chp. 4, “Organizations as Open Systems”
Jones, “Was There a Hawthorne Effect?” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Selznick, “Institutionalism ‘Old’ and ‘New’” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Weick, “The Collapse of Sensemaking in Organizations: The Mann Gulch Disaster.” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Complex Organizations as Natural Systems
Complex Organizations as Open Systems
Scott & Davis, Chp. 5, “Competing Perspectives, Expanding Levels”
Integrated Models of Complex Organizations
Ecological Theories of Complex Organizations
Scott & Davis, Chp. 6, “Technology and Structure”
Scott & Davis, Chp. 7, “Labor and Structure”
Scott, “Organizational Structure” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Technology and Organizational Structure
Labor and Organizational Structure
Case Study I: Organizational Structure
Scott & Davis, Chp. 8, “Goals, Power and Control”
Grimes, “Authority, Power, Influence and Social Control” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Perrow, “The Analysis of Goals in Complex Organizations” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Palumbo, “Power and Role Specificity in Organization Theory” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Complex Organizations and Goals
Complex Organizations and Power
Complex Organizations and Social Control
Scott & Davis, Chp. 9, “The Dyadic Environment of the Organization”
Scott & Davis, Chp. 10, “Organization of the Environment”
DiMaggio & Powell, “The Iron Cage Revisited: Institutional Isomorphism and Collective Rationality in Organizational Fields” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Environments and Organizations
Organizations and Larger Social Processes
Case Study II: Organizational Change
Scott & Davis, Chp. 11, “Networks In and Around Organizations”
Scott & Davis, Chp. 12, “Strategy, Structure, and Performance: The Sociology of Organizational Strategy”
Scott & Davis, Chp. 13, “The Rise and Transformation of the Corporate Form”
Burt, “Models of Network Structure” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
Networks and Organizations
Core Assessment: Organizational Analysis Essay
Scott & Davis, Chp. 14, “Changing Contours of Organizations and Organization Theory”
Perrow, “An Organizational Analysis of Organization Theory” (.pdf file in Course Documents)
The Future of Organizations
The Future of Organization Theory
Proctored Final Exam
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Plagiarism: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 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Attendance Policy:Instructors are required to maintain attendance records and to report absences via the online attendance reporting system.
Park University 2009-2010 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95ONLINE NOTE: An attendance report of "P" (present) will be recorded for students who have logged in to the Online classroom at least once during each week of the term. Recording of attendance is not equivalent to participation. Participation grades will be assigned by each instructor according to the criteria in the Grading Policy section of the syllabus.
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Last Updated:5/15/2010 4:14:19 PM