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SO 421 Organizational Sociology
McGinty, Patrick J.W.


Mission Statement: Park University provides access to a quality higher education experience that prepares a diverse community of learners to think critically, communicate effectively, demonstrate a global perspective and engage in lifelong learning and service to others.

Vision Statement: Park University, a pioneering institution of higher learning since 1875, will provide leadership in quality, innovative education for a diversity of learners who will excel in their professional and personal service to the global community.

Course

SO 421 Organizational Sociology

Semester

F2T 2012 DL

Faculty

McGinty, Patrick J.W.

Title

Adjunct Instructor of Sociology

Degrees/Certificates

Ph.D. (2005) University of Missouri, Columbia, MO
M.A. (1994) Western Illinois University, Macomb, IL
B.A. (1992) Knox College, Galesburg, IL

Office Location

Instructor Office Link in eCollege Classroom

Office Hours

24/7 via link in eCollege, e-mail or phone

Daytime Phone

309-331-4796

E-Mail

Patrick.McGinty@park.edu

Semester Dates

Monday, October 22, 2012 - Sunday, December 16, 2012

Class Days

TBA

Class Time

TBA

Prerequisites

SO308 or equivalent

Credit Hours

3


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.

ISBN:              0-13-195893-3

Textbooks can be purchased through the MBS bookstore

Textbooks can be purchased through the Parkville Bookstore

Additional Resources:

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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:
  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.

Finally, I have developed an unwavering commitment to teaching high quality courses with high expectations for my students. As a result of my commitments I have come to the conclusion that the teaching of sociology should be done in a sociological manner by stressing the rejection of dichotomous thinking and instead seeking out plausible explanations of social phenomena in the structural, interactional, and environmental conditions of human activity. To that end, while I have high expectations of myself and my students, my foremost goal for all students is the creation of an analytic mindset and a constructively critical approach to knowledge and human social life while developing a competency in the subject matter of the course and course content.

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

      based on material from assigned readings.
 

Case Study I: Organizational Structure                                     100 points (10%)

     Week 4

      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.

     
 
Case Study II: Organizational Change                                       100 points (10%)

     Week 6

      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%)

     Week 7


The Core Assessment essay is a 3000 word essay that builds on your two previous Case Study assignments and will allow you to continue and deepen your previous analyses. Be sure to incorporate all relevant concepts and theories from the course and your additional readings. You should also illustrate your points with real world examples and explain how they apply. The essay must include the following components:

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%)   

     Week 8

      Proctored exam involving 40 multiple-choice/true-false questions

      (4 points each) and 2 short-answer essays (20 points each).

Grading:

Course grades will be assigned based on the total points earned during the term. The grading scale is as follows:
 

PointRange            Grade

 1000-900                 A

  800-899                  B

  700-799                  C

  600-699                  D

  000-599                  F   
 

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


Organizational Analysis Essays I & II Scoring Guide*

      Clarity of Thought                                            5 – 20 points

      Organization                                                            5 – 20 points
 
Attention to Issues and Ideas Raised in the Course      5 – 20 points
 
Attention to Grammar/Punctuation/Structure of Writing            5 – 20 points

      General Assessment                                                 5 – 20 points

      * A detailed Essay Scoring Guide can be found in Course Documents
 

Organizational Analysis Essay Scoring Guide*
    Clarity of Thought                                                                              3 – 15 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.

Course Topic/Dates/Assignments:
 

Week 1: Introduction to Complex Organizations and Understanding Complex Organizations as Rational Systems

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

Readings

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)

Discussion Topics

Introduction to Complex Organizations

Tuesday

Complex Organizations as Rational Systems

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

Assignment

Quiz #1

Sunday


Week 2: Understanding Complex Organizations as Natural and Open Systems

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

Readings

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)

Discussion Topics

Complex Organizations as Natural Systems

Tuesday

Complex Organizations as Open Systems

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

Assignment

Quiz #2

Sunday


Week 3: Synthetic Models of Complex Organizations

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

Readings

Scott & Davis, Chp. 5, “Competing Perspectives, Expanding Levels”

Discussion Topics

Integrated Models of Complex Organizations

Tuesday

Ecological Theories of Complex Organizations

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

Assignments

Quiz #3

Sunday


Week 4: Organizational Structure: Relationships to Technology and Labor

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

Readings

Scott & Davis, Chp. 6, “Technology and Structure”

Scott & Davis, Chp. 7, “Labor and Structure”

Scott, “Organizational Structure” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

Discussion Topics

Technology and Organizational Structure

Tuesday

Labor and Organizational Structure

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

Assignments

Quiz #4

Sunday

Case Study I: Organizational Structure

Sunday


Week 5: Organizational Goals, Power and Forms of Control

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

Readings

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)

Discussion Topics

Complex Organizations and Goals

Tuesday

Complex Organizations and Power

Thursday

Complex Organizations and Social Control

Saturday

Assignments

Quiz #5

Sunday


Week 6: Organizations, Environments, and Organizational Fields

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

Readings

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)

Discussion Topics

Environments and Organizations

Tuesday

Organizations and Larger Social Processes

Thursday

Organizational Fields

Saturday

Assignments

Quiz #6

Sunday

Case Study II: Organizational Change

Sunday


Week 7: Organizations: Networks and Strategies

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

Readings

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)

Discussion Topics

Networks and Organizations

Tuesday

Organizational Strategy

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

Assignment

Quiz #7

Sunday

Core Assessment: Organizational Analysis Essay

Sunday


Week 8: Changes in Complex Organizations: Future Possibilities

Assignment Type

Assignment

Due Date (if applicable)

Readings

Scott & Davis, Chp. 14, “Changing Contours of Organizations and Organization Theory”

Perrow, “An Organizational Analysis of Organization Theory” (.pdf file in Course Documents)

Discussion Topics

The Future of Organizations

Tuesday

The Future of Organization Theory

Thursday

Ask the Instructor/Poll the Class

Saturday

Assignment

Quiz #8

Sunday

Proctored Final Exam

Sunday

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 (www.park.edu/current or http://www.park.edu/faculty/).from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95-96

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. from Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 95

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.
ONLINE NOTE: Students must participate in an academically related activity on a weekly basis in order to be marked present in an online class. Examples of academically-related activities include but are not limited to: contributing to an online discussion, completing a quiz or exam, completing an assignment, initiating contact with a faculty member to ask a course related question, or using any of the learning management system tools.

Park University 2011-2012 Undergraduate Catalog Page 98
ONLINE 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.

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: http://www.park.edu/disability .

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Last Updated:10/20/2012 9:08:44 PM