MG440 Complex Organizations

for F2R 2004

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COURSE NUMBER: MGT 440 COURSE TITLE: Complex Organizations
INSTRUCTOR: Jim Oppedal HOME PHONE:235-7343
TERM DATES: 18 Oct – 12 Dec 2004 MEETING TIMES: Tue & Thur 1945-2215

I. Course Description

This course is a sociological approach to the study of organizations. We will focus on the organizational and group dimensions of work place and industrial change. The course focuses on theoretical perspectives, characteristics of organizations, the interrelationship of organizational variables, and other related topics.

During this course we will discuss organizations with many variables. The worth of the entire class is contingent on the ability of class members to be informed and contribute to discussions on questions like:
Are organizations prisons of our own making?
Do they control and constrain us rather than promote the free development of our potentials and capacities?
Must productivity and efficiency be achieved at the expense of human needs and ideals?
Do some benefit from organizational operations while others lose?
Do bureaucratic organizations facilitate or undermine democratic institutions?
Are there alternative ways for us to conceive, design, and carry out our organizational arrangements?
How can we apply sociological perspectives, methods and techniques to create change in the work place ?
How are organizations created?
Why do some organizations succeed while others fail?
Are internal conflicts healthy as well as harmful for organizations?
Why and how do people organize?
What is a complex organization?
What is power in an organization and how does it work?

II. Course Goals

To have a fuller appreciation of the socio-economic dynamics of complex organizations.

III. Learning Objectives


- To provide an overview of "images", theories and research regarding the nature of complex organizations.
- To critically assess "taken-for-granted assumptions" about the nature of our organizational arrangements.
- To think creatively about the possibility for alternative forms of organizations.
- To demonstrate how we may use this form of organizational analysis in practical ways to design and
manage organizations more effectively.

IV. Course Arrangement

- Aggressive open discussion
- Lecture
- Case studies
- Directed research assignments.

1. Oct 19Introduction, syllabus, Chap 1 (Please read prior to class!)
2 Oct 21 Chapter 2
3 Oct 26 Chapter 3 pg. 79-96
4 Oct 28 Chapter 3 pg. 97-118 & review
5 Nov 2 Exam 1
6 Nov 4 Chapter 4 pg. 119-139
7 Nov 9 Chapter 4 pg. 140-156
8 Nov 11 Submit organization to be analyzed, Chap 5
9 Nov 16 Start Chap 6 pg. 178-200
10 Nov 18 Finish Chapter 6 pg. 200-218 & review
11 Nov 23 Exam 2
12 Nov 25 Thanksgiving
13 Nov 30 Chapter 7 pg. 219-235
14 Dec 2 Chapter 7 pg. 236-257
15 Dec 7 Chapter 8, Turn in Organizational Analysis & review
16 Dec 9 Final Exam 3

V. Course Requirements

Successful completion of this course is contingent upon satisfactory performance on:

a. Three essay and short answer exams
b. An analytical paper reporting an organizational analysis of an organization; minimum of 6 double spaced, type written pages (title pages and reference pages do not count towards the 6-page req.).
c. Class participation and attendance

VI. Text

Complex Organizations, A Critical Essay, Charles Perrow, 3rd ed., 1993

VII. Grading Policy

The final course grade will be determined using the following measurements:

Class participation/ attendance 20% 100 points
Exam 1 20% 100 points
Exam 2 20% 100 points
Exam 3 20% 100 points
Analytical Paper 20% 100 points
TOTAL 100% 500 points

Course Grade Determination

A = 92 - 100%
B = 83 - 91%
C = 73 - 82%
D = 66 - 72%
F = Below 66 %

Due to the Thanksgiving Day holiday, please be prepared to discuss chapter 1 during our first class. Anticipate we will use most if not all of our allotted time.