SO421 Organizational Sociology

for F2H 2010

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SO 421 Organizational Sociology


F2H 2010 BU


Curtis, Ronald J.


Senior Professor/Adjunct


Ed.D, M.A., B.S.

Office Location

Bldg. 596, Room 212, MCAS Beaufort, SC

Office Hours

10:00am-3:00pm Tues.-Thurs.

Daytime Phone



Web Page

Semester Dates


Class Days


Class Time

5:00 - 7:30 PM

Credit Hours



Hall & Tolbert, Organizations:  Structures, Processes and Outcomes, Prentice Hall, 10th ed. 0132448408
(This text forms a sociological analysis of organizations.) 

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Additional Resources:

American Sociological Review, American Journal of Psychology, Academy of Management Journal

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Course Description:
SO 421 Organizational Sociology: Study of the origins and operations of formal bureaucratic organizations, such as business, governments, prisons, and voluntary and service associations; their place in modern society; and their relations to one another and to individuals. Topics include major organizational theories, leadership, and authority. Task performance, communication, decision-making, and effectiveness. Focuses on the structural and cultural aspects of these organizations. 3:0:3 Prerequisites: SO 308 or equivalent or instructors permission.

Educational Philosophy:
The student will be involved in an active learning process consisting of academics, research, writing, oral interaction with the professor and fellow students along with examinations, all aimed at learning through the lively exploration of ideas, issues and contradictions.

  Instructor Learning Outcomes

  1. 1.  Summarize the importance of organizations to society.
  2. 2.  Describe the basic functions of organizational structure.
  3. 3.  Explain the two major categories of organizational structure.
  4. 4.  Examine power outcomes in organizations.
  5. 5.  Summarize the complexities of organizational leadership.
  6. 6.  Describe how the concept of "social embeddness" affects organizational decision making.
  7. 7.  Explain the role of social relations in the organizational communications process.
  8. 8.  Characterize the overall organizational change process.
  9. 9.  Assess the perceived effectiveness of interorganizational relationships.
  10. 10.  Explain the details of a leading model of organizational theory.
  11. 11.  Summarize the issues affecting appropriate measures of organizational effectiveness.
Class Assessment:
Students are required to read all assigned material prior to class and to be prepared to discuss questions relating to the assignment.  These questions will be distributed to the student.  Students will participate in small group discussions along with class-wide discussions.  A term paper (typed, double-spaced, 10 pages minimum excluding title and documentation pages) analyzing an aspect of a complex organization will be prepared and presented to the class.  Two examinations will be given.  The comprehensive final examination will cover the learning outcomes of the course. 


Mid-term exam 30% (30 pts.)
Final exam 30% (30 pts.)
Term paper 30% (30 pts.)
Presentation 5% (5 pts.)
Class participation 5% (5 pts.)
Grading percentages:  90-100=A
                                  59 or below=F

Late Submission of Course Materials:
Late submissions will receive appropriately lowered grades.

Classroom Rules of Conduct:
Students are expected to attend all classes and to be on time for the start of class.  Students are expected to participate in class and group discussions.  A make-up assignment is required for all classes missed (excused absence).

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:

25Oct   1      The nature of organizations and their societal outcomes.
27Oct   2      The forms and outcomes of organizational structure relating to the organization and the wider society.
01Nov   3     Explanations of organizational structures for its members and the relevant social system.
03Nov   4     An analysis of power and its outcomes in the organization.
08Nov  5      Leadership behavior within the structure of the organization and its surrounding society.
10Nov          Review
15Nov  6      The substance and politics of decision making. 
22Nov   7     The multi-faceted organizational function of communications. 
24Nov          Review organizational nature, structure and process.
29Nov   8     The internal and external societal factors that affect organizational change and innovation.
01Dec   9     Organizational environments and the resulting interorganizational relationships.
06Dec  10    Organizational performance and change.
08Dec          Organizational effectiveness and its effects on society.  TERM PAPERS DUE.
13Dec          Student presentations.

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 students and faculty members are encouraged to take advantage of the University resources available for learning about academic honesty ( or Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92
Dishonesty will result in a failing grade for this course and may result in expulsion from the University.

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. from Park University 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 92-93
Plagiarism will result in failing grade for this course and may result in expulsion from the University.

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 "F".
  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 2010-2011 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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:9/8/2010 8:37:59 AM