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Regular version of the site

Organization Theory

Academic Year
Instruction in English
ECTS credits
Course type:
Elective course
3 year, 1-4 module


Course Syllabus


The Organisation Theory is a two-semester course for the 3-rd year ICEF students. This is an intermediate course for the students specialised in Economics and Management. “Introduction in Management and Business” course is a pre-requisite, as well as Economics and Sociology courses. The course is taught in English. The course comprises a number of basic approaches to organisation theory in the historical as well as in the methodological aspects. The development of the organisation theory during XX century is presented in its relation to the social and economical processes of that period. At the end of the course a phenomenon of globalisation is studied. It intensifies the interaction between cultures which has a great influence on the functioning of national as well as multinational companies.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The organisation theory is a fundamental subject within modern managerial education. The main objective of the course is to present the fundamental concepts of the organisation theory. Introduction to various approaches to an organisation must teach the students to complete macro- and micro-analysis of organisations in the context of their development and interaction with the environment. The main purpose of the course is to create modern outlook that could be a basis for practical work in any management position.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • •Distinguish between managerial (efficiency-oriented) and non-efficiency-oriented types of organisation theory •Know the historical stages of organisation theory’s development •Understand and be able to use the basic principles of Taylorist production system: standardisation; rationalisation; unification •Be able to identify economic spheres, industries and branches where scientific management could be efficient today •Understand the phenomenon of deskilling and work degradation
  • •Understand Fordism as a interrelated system of production and consumption •Be able to assess the usefulness of Fordist ideology and practice in developed and developing countries •Understand the key elements of intersection between Psychology and Organisation theory •Understand the complex interrelation between productivity and work satisfaction
  • •Comprehend the differences between methodological principles of natural and humanitarian sciences •Know the basic elements and imperatives of critical organisation theories •Be able to use class approach to social events and theoretical models •Distinguish notions of adaptation and selection in the organisation theory •Understand the usefulness of the population ecology in different spheres of economy
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • 1. Introduction to Organisation Theory 2. Organisation Theory and Scientific Management 3. Scientific Management in Russia and other Countries 4. Organisational Structure. Determinants of hierarchal structures. 5. Modern tendencies in the Development of Organisational Structures
    1. An object of study. Methodology of organisation theory. Key concepts of organisation theory. Relations of organisation theory with other managerial disciplines. The ambiguity of the term "organisation". Organisation as a property of orderliness, as a certain social unit. Nature of social organisations. Essential features of organisations. Organisation as a target, hierarchically constructed, managed community, social institution. The concept of organisational (synergistic) effect. Managing the synergetic effect. Organisations as an object of scientific analysis. Approaches to the analysis of the phenomenon of organisation in various fields of knowledge. The theory of organisation as a dynamically developing field of social science during the XX - early XXI centuries. Reasons for the rapid development of organisational theory. The importance of scientific study of organisations. Subject area of research in the theory of organisation. Interdisciplinarity of organisational theory. Problem of conceptual integrity of theory. Influence of the general scientific methodology of system analysis. 2. The formation of a market society in the VIII-XIX centuries. Transformation of traditional structures of production organisation. Historical forms of production organisation: craft workshop, small enterprise, large corporation, global corporation. Rational basis for building organisational systems. Priority development of large companies in the late 19th - early 20th centuries. Classical industrial type of organisation. The principle of economies of scale within large organisations. Basic Taylor’s assumptions. A worker as a resource. A problem of co-operation and paternalism. Rationalisation of work. Organisational principles of simple production work (specialisation, external control). Specialisation in administration work. Line structure and its critics. Taylor’s disciples (H.Gantt, The Gilberths,t). H.Braverman and deskilling debate. 3. The inapplicability of scientific management to non-American systems. The social and economic environment in the USA in the beginning of XX century. The situation in Europe in this period. Taylor successors in Soviet Russia (Gastev, Vitke, Dunoevsky and others). Experimental sociology and psychology in Soviet universities and institutes in 1920-s. Scientific management and in its influence in the post-war time. Job design and work measurement in south-eastern Asia. Nowadays mass production. 4. Types of organisational structures. American and Russian typologies of organisational structures. Advantages and disadvantages of linear, functional, linear-functional, divisional and matrix structures. Organisational structure and life cycle stage of the organisation. Number of structural levels, the problem of its reduction or increase. Application of the hierarchy principle to the construction and transformation of organisational structure. The concept of a flexible and rigid structure. Possibility of solving non-traditional tasks within the framework of one organisational structure. Creation of cross-functional, cross-divisional teams. Combination of single-management and collegiality of decision making. Importance of committees in modern companies. Shortcomings in cross-functional teams. The problem of personnel promotion and career building in the organisation. Traditional structures of American firms: holdings (conglomerates) and functional structures. The basic challenge for Sloan in GM. Emergence of M-firm. Balance of centralisation and decentralisation. Reducing of external and internal risks. Dependence on stock market and the predominance of financial strategy in M-structures. The future of M-structures. 5. Weber’s “ideal” bureaucracy as an organisational model. Goal setting and organisational structure. Technology and its influence on the organisational structure. Project structure. Matrix structure: its advantages and shortcomings. Complex organisational structures (trust, conglomerate, keiretzu). Organisational structure and social context. Current trends in the development of organisations. Reasons for the decline of interest in large corporations of the classical type. Decentralization of management of modern organisations. Small enterprise as an ideal of economic organisation. The role of community relations in modern small business. Origin and development of the tendency to decentralization of production. Formation of flexible organisational structures. Flexible company structure as a response to the constantly changing external environment. "Hill-shaped" and network structures. Formalization of informal ties in modern organisations.
  • 6. Fordism and Organisation Theory 7. Human Relation Approach in Organisation Theory 8. Groups and Leadership in Organisations. Organisations as Motivationally coordinated mechanisms. 9.Contingency Theories and Situation Approach 10.Organisational Culture. Organisations as Culturally coordinated Mechanisms. 11. Critique of American System. New Paradigms of the Organisation Theory
    6. Technology as the basis for building an organisation. Dependence of the spatial structure of the organisation on the type of technology. Operating system of the organisation. Problems of determining the efficiency of the operating system. Accounting and socio-economic interpretation of efficiency. Attempts to take into account the future capabilities of the organisation in determining efficiency. Social problems associated with the functioning of the technical and technological subsystem of the organisation and the development of modern technologies. Adequacy of technology. Monotony of work. Formation of narrow specialist categories. The problem of the ratio of basic and auxiliary functions in the implementation of production processes in modern organisations. Henry Ford as outstanding business reformer. Assembly line and its social and economic consequences. Mass production and work alienation. $5-wage and the emergence of middle class. Fordism as a social and philosophical system. Fordism and world competition. 7. Background and circumstances of the Human relation approach emergence. Hawthorne studies and their interpretation. «Human being as a Social Animal». Informal organisation. Human relations theories and Scientific management. Content theories of motivation. A problems of job enrichment. McGregor’s theories X and Y. 8. The role of leadership crucial to motivation. The Taylorist view on management as responsible for the implementation of the work system Human relations theories and change in the management role interpretation. Different types of leadership (autocratic and democratic, participative and directive). The distinction between managers and leaders. The role of groups. Group dynamic. Typology of groups in organisation. 9. A concept of social system. Open and closed systems. A synthesis of the ideas of classical organisation theory and Human relation approach. Studies of J. Woodward. A concept of technology. Relationship between technology and social organisation. Technology as a contingency parameter. The Aston studies. Elements of organisational structure: specialisation of roles, standardisation of rules and procedures, standardisation of employment practices, formalisation of instructions and procedures, centralisation of decisions, spans of control, length of the management chain of command, numbers of specialised support staff. Four main types of structure: personnel bureaucracies, workflow bureaucracies, full bureaucracies, non-bureaucracies. 10. The notion of organisational culture modern Organisation Theory. The rise of the public interest to Organisational Culture in the end of 1970-s. The norms and values of the members of organisation. The involvement and participation in the work process ias a cultural value. Positive and negative aspects of co-operation, teamwork, flexibility, integration, competition, individualism, job demarcations and hierarchy. Peters and Waterman’s key characteristics of the best American companies. Hofsteade’s study of organisational cultures in different countries. The problem of typology of organisational cultures. The key points of organisational culture of Russian companies. Development of organisational culture. Role of the founder of the organisation in the process of formation of its culture. Stages of organisational development and changes in organisational culture. Organisational development as a purposeful process of changing the norms and values of the company. Management of organisational culture, its different levels. Ability to manage culture. Culturally forming context of latent functions of managerial decisions. Need for diagnostics of organisational culture. Information, education, radical reforming as methods of changing the culture of the company. Ethical components of organisational culture. 11. A concept of paradigm. Problems of organisational paradigm. The functionalist paradigm. The interpretive paradigm. The radical humanist paradigm. The radical structuralist paradigm. Organisation metaphors (Morgan’s images of organisation). Post-modernism in organisation theory.
  • 12. Marxism, Feminism and Organisation Theory 13. Population Ecology Approach to Organisations 14. Institutionalism, Neoinstitutionalism and the Nature of Organisations 15. Organisations in Post-industrial Society. Post-Fordism. 16. Globalisation of Organisation Activity
    12. Marxist influence on Organisation. Organisations as structures of domination.Labour process theory. Braverman's theory and his interpretation of Taylor and Ford’s work. The routinisation and fragmentation of work as mechanisms to de-skill the worker and make the worker dependent on the capitalist. The development of labour process theory. The clash between skilled workers and managers attempting to de-skill. Contradictions between different parts of the workforce. Critical theory. The designation “critical theory”. Habermas's work. Technical rationality in organisations. Development a non-objective view of management techniques and organisational processes. Gender in Organisations. Organisation Theory as reflected male dominance within society and organisations. The gendered nature of organisational life. Job design, labour markets and equal opportunities. The barriers to equal opportunities. 13. Critique of innovation and strategic conceptions of organisation development. Rational-natural and conflict-balance development models. External environment as cultural ambience, a set of ecological niches, competition and environment. The principle of Isomorphism. Ecosystem. Conservative nature of organisations. The external environment as a system of ecological niche occupations and as a socio-cultural environment. Natural selection as a mechanism of organisational change and adaptation. The direction of development is to achieve a better correspondence of organisational characteristics to the external environment. Natural selection model. Selection of socio-cultural samples at the population level. Selection of the most appropriate structures, activities and forms of behaviour by the environment. Adaptation as a result of the previous development of the organisation. Three-stage model of evolutionary process. Density and dynamics of organisational populations. Emergence and disappearance of organisations. Birth rate and mortality rate in organisational populations. Survival of a whole type of organisations. Emergence or disappearance of entire industries or types of organisations when faced with new types of competition and environmental conditions. Organisational (structural) inertness. 14. Elements of the theory of the firm. Inter-firm networks. Transaction cost. A concept of institutionalism. Evolutionary economics and a transformation of the firm. The neo-institutionalist economics of D. Norton. Whitley’s five business systems. Characteristics of the market as a socio-economic institute. Characteristics of the organisation: the presence of hierarchy, non-monetary assessments of people's behavior and performance, the principal emphasis on cooperation. 15. New types and dimensions of competition. The key characteristics of Post-Fordism: a flexible production process based on flexible machines; process innovations rising incomes for polyvalent skilled workers and increased demand for new differentiated goods. Nations, competition and Post-Fordism. A tendency to minimize the number of employees of an enterprise or a subdivision. Small enterprise as an ideal of economic organisation. Reasons for the fading of interest in large corporations of the classical type. The role of community relations in modern small business. Changes in public opinion in the 80s and 90s in relation to small forms of business. Origin and development of the tendency to decentralization of production. Tendency to co-ownership by enterprises. Co-ownership as an objective basis for cooperation between managers and employees. New organisational forms of distribution of shares among the company's employees (ESOP, etc.). Formation of flexible organisational structures. "Hilly" and network structures. Possible solutions. Flexible firm structure as a response to constantly changing external environment. Development of information technologies and telecommunications systems, their use in organisations. Information as an economic basis of modern society. Economic and technical reasons for the separation (geographical and organisational) of production and generation of ideas in the modern economy. 16. Phenomenon of globalisation. Multinational corporations and national cultures. Main stages of a global company development: local, national, international, global. Functioning of the organisation in the international market. The concept of international business. Reasons for companies to enter foreign markets. Organisational forms of access to foreign markets. The concept of multinational, transnational, global company. Organisational structures of multinational companies. Development of flexible and hierarchical structures.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking solution case studies in seminars
  • non-blocking preparation of reports
  • non-blocking homeworks
  • non-blocking writing essays on the most important issues addressed in the course
  • non-blocking mid-term tests
  • non-blocking exam
  • blocking UoL exam
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (2 module)
    0.4 * exam + 0.1 * homeworks + 0.25 * mid-term tests + 0.1 * preparation of reports + 0.15 * solution case studies in seminars
  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.025 * homeworks + 0.3 * Interim assessment (2 module) + 0.1 * mid-term tests + 0.025 * preparation of reports + 0.05 * solution case studies in seminars + 0.5 * UoL exam


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • Economic approaches to organizations, Douma, S., Schreuder, H., 2002
  • Organization theory : selected readings, Pugh, D. S., 1997
  • Organizational behaviour : an introductory text, Huczynski, A., Buchanan, D., 2001
  • Г.Нив - Организация как система: Принципы построения устойчивого бизнеса Эдвардса Деминга - Альпина Паблишер - 2014 - ISBN: 9785961433173 - Текст электронный - URL: https://hse.alpinadigital.ru/book/956
  • Организационное поведение : учебник и практикум для академического бакалавриата, Барков, С. А., 2018
  • Социология организаций : учебник для бакалавров, Барков, С. А., Зубков, В. И., 2013
  • Теория организации (институциональный подход) : учеб. пособие для вузов, Барков, С. А., 2009
  • Э. Деминг - Выход из кризиса: Новая парадигма управления людьми, системами и процессами - Альпина Паблишер - 2015 - ISBN: 9785961438932 - Текст электронный - URL: https://hse.alpinadigital.ru/book/3013

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Business in Context : An introduction to business and its enviroment, 2nd ed., 405 p., Needle, D., 1997
  • Business systems in East Asia : firms, markets and societies, Whitley, R., 1999
  • Global and transnational business : strategy and management, Stonehouse, G., Campbell, D., 2004
  • Great writers on organizations : the second omnibus edition, Pugh, D. S., Hickson, D. J., 1999
  • Images of organization, Morgan, G., 1997
  • Models of management : work, authority, and organization in a comparative perspective, Guillen, M. F., 1994
  • Modern organizations : organization studies in the postmodern world, Clegg, S. R., 1999
  • Organizational theory : text and cases, Jones, G. R., 2001
  • Sociological paradigms and organisational analysis : elements of the sociology of corporate life, Burrell, G., Morgan, G., 2003
  • Выход из кризиса : новая парадигма управления людьми, системами и процессами, Деминг, Э., Адлера, Ю. П., 2017
  • Двенадцать принципов производительности, Эмерсон Г., 1997
  • Диагностика и изменение организационной культуры, Камерон, К. С., Куинн, Р. Э., 2001
  • Жизненный цикл организации: концепции и российская практика, Широкова, Г. В., 2007
  • Корпоративная культура как фактор эффективной деятельности организации, Макеев, В. А., Грибова, В. Д., 2012
  • Корпоративная социальная ответственность: технологии и оценка эффективности : учебник и практикум для академич. бакалавриата, Тульчинский Г.Л., НИУ ВШЭ, 2016
  • Менеджмент : природа и структура организаций, Минцберг, Г., Медведь, О. И., 2011
  • Менеджмент, пер. с англ. А. И. Зак, 137 с., Тейлор, Ф. У., 1992
  • Моя жизнь, мои достижения : пер. с англ., Форд, Г., Кочерин, Е. А., 1989
  • Образы организации, Морган, Г., Матвеевой, И., 2008
  • Организации : системы и люди, Пригожин, А. И., 2015
  • Организационная культура и лидерство : учебник для слушателей, обучающихся по программе "Мастер делового администрирования", Шейн, Э. Х., Жильцова, С., 2011
  • Организация как система : принципы построения устойчивого бизнеса Эдвардса Деминга, Нив, Г. Р., Адлер, Ю., 2007
  • Открывая организации будущего, Лалу, Ф., Кулябиной, В., 2016
  • По ту сторону уверенности : о новом мире внутри и вокруг организаций, Хэнди, Ч., Жильцова, С., 2002
  • Принципы научного менеджмента, Тейлор, Ф. У., Зак, А. И., 1991
  • Пятая дисциплина : искусство и практика самообучающейся организации, Сенге, П. М., Пинскера, Б., 2011
  • Развитие деловых организаций : теоретические модели и проблемы практического применения: учеб. пособие, Щербина, В. В., Попова, Е. П., 2010
  • Размышления о менеджменте, Адизес, И. К., Ишковой, М., 2016
  • Слон и блоха : будущее крупных корпораций и мелкого бизнеса, Хэнди, Ч., Гутниковой, Т., 2004
  • Структура в кулаке : создание эффективной организации, Минцберг, Г., Раевская, Д., 2004
  • Теория менеджмента: от тейлоризма до японизации, Шелдрейк, Дж., Спивака, В. А., 2001
  • Философия управления между теорией менеджмента и философией культуры, Беляев, В. А., 2012
  • Экономические институты капитализма : фирмы, рынки, "отношенческая" контрактация, Уильямсон, О. И., Благова, Ю. Е., 1996