Organisation Theory

ORG508 Organisation Theory

  • Topics

    Topics

    The course emphasizes readings of original contributions selected from books and scientific journals. It covers the following topics:

    - What is organization theory and what are the requirements we should have for theories?

    - Various organization theory perspectives, theory building, and different models and paradigms

    - Models of behavior, issues in organization theory and how organizational economics relates to other approaches.

     

    The course is divided into three main blocks

    - Economic organization theory, mainly transaction cost economics

    - Knowledge and learning based theories

    - Institutional organization theory and comparative capitalism

    Comparisons are made between the three main theory blocks.

     

  • Learning outcome

    Learning outcome

    The course provides the students with insight into contemporary organization theories, emphasizing the most important directions and contributions to the field with a particular focus on organizational economics. The goal is to develop analytical and critical skills among the students, so that they can evaluate extant theories, models and methods in order to further their ability to critically identify issues and areas for further research.

    The course takes as its starting point organizational economic theory and then subjects this to two strands of critical reflection. The first of these is derived from the resource-based view of the firm which challenges organizational economic theory in terms of its emphasis on market failure as a theory of the firm. The second is derived from neo-institutional theory with its emphasis on legitimacy as an important driving-force in determining organizational boundaries and internal governance mechanisms. In reflecting on these three different theories we will emphasize the importance of choosing relevant starting points for empirical research.

    The course emphasizes readings of original contributions selected from books and scientific journals.

  • Teaching

    Teaching

    Intensive course involving a considerable degree of student participation.

  • Requirements for course approval

    Requirements for course approval

    To pass the course each student has to write a term paper of about 10-15 pages, which should be an independent treatment of a topic, e.g. a critical review or comparisons of theories, models, or articles. A paper can also be written to interpret empirical findings, or compare how two or more theories treat one phenomenon. Abstracting literature is not acceptable, the students should show their ability to present critique, formulate research questions, and contribute to theory.

     

  • Assessment

    Assessment

    Term paper.

    To pass the course each student has to write a term paper of about 10-15 pages, which should be an independent treatment of a topic, e.g. a critical review or comparisons of theories, models, or articles. A paper can also be written to interpret empirical findings, or compare how two or more theories treat one phenomenon. Abstracting literature is not acceptable, the students should show their ability to present critique, formulate research questions, and contribute to theory.

    Exceptional papers will be reviewed for possible publication in Beta. Scandinavian Journal of Business Research (published by Scandinavian University Press).

  • Grading Scale

    Grading Scale

    Grading: Pass or Fail

     

    Exceptional papers will be reviewed for possible publication in Beta. Scandinavian Journal of Business Research (published by Scandinavian University Press).

     

  • Computer tools

    Computer tools

    Internet, library databases, word processing, and e-mail. Students must see to it that they have access to PCs/laptops for preparation of presentations.

  • Semester

    Semester

    Fall.

  • Literature

    Literature

    1. The TCE Theory of the Firm (Coordinator: Svein Ulset)

    - Coase, Ronald H. (1937). The Nature of the Firm. Economica (N.S.) 4:386-405 (November): 5-24

    - Williamson, Oliver E. (1971). The Vertical Integration of Production: Market Failure Considerations. American Economic Review 61: 112-123.

    - Alchian, Armen A. and Harold Demsetz, (1972). Production, Information Costs, and Economic Organisation. American Economic Review, 62(5):772-795 .

    - Klein, Benjamin, Robert G. Crawford and Armen A. Alchian (1978). Vertical Integration, Appropriable Rents and the Competitive Contracting Process. Journal of Law and Economics 21 (2): 297-326.

    - Nordhaug, Odd (2004). Contributions to an Economic Theory of Human Resource Management. Human Resource Management Review, 14 (4); 383-393.

    - Williamson, Oliver E. (1981). The Modern Corporation: Origins, Evolution, Attributes. Journal of Economic Literature: 19 (December): 1537-68.

    - Teece, David J. (1982). Towards an Economic Theory of the Multiproduct Firm. Journal of Economic Behaviour and Organisation 3:39-63.

    - Williamson, Oliver E. (1991). Comparative Economic Organization: The Analysis of Discrete Structural Alternatives, Administrative Science Quarterly 36 (June): 269-296.

    - Williamson, Oliver E. (1993). Calculativeness, Trust and Economic Organization, Journal of Law and Economics, 36: 453-86.

    - Ulset S. (2008). The Rise and Fall of Global Network Alliances. Industrial and Corporate Change, 17 (2):267-300.

     

     

    2. Institutional Theory of Firm Behavior (Coordinators: Bjarne Espedal and Paul Gooderham)

    - Scott, W.R. (1995). Introduction: Institutional Theory and Organizations. In W.R.Scott and S.Christensen (eds.). The Institutional Construction of Organizations. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage (pp.xi-xxiii).

    - Powell, W. and DiMaggio, P. (Eds.)(1991). The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp 1-81 only.

    - Hall, P.A. and Gingerich, D.W. (2004). Varieties of Capitalism and Institutional Complementarities in the Macroeconomy. MPIFG Discussion Paper 04/05. pp.5-22 only.

    - Gooderham, P.N., Nordhaug, O., and Ringdal, K. (1999). Institutional and rational determinants of organizational practices: Human resource management in European firms. Administrative Science Quarterly, 44 (3), 507-531.

    - Gooderham, P.N., Nordhaug, O. , and Ringdal, K. (2006). National Embeddedness and HRM in US Subsidiaries in Europe and Australia. Human Relations, 59 (11): 1491-1513.

     

     

    3. Knowledge and Learning Based Theories of the Firm (Coordinator: Paul Gooderham and Bjarne Espedal)

    a. Knowledge based theories

    - Ghoshal, S. and Moran, P. (1996). Bad for Practice: A Critique of Transaction Cost Theory, Academy of Management Review 21:13-47.

    - Kogut, B. and Zander, U. (1996). What do firms do? Coordination, identity and learning. Organization Science, 7 (5): 502-518.

    - Nahapiet, J. and Ghoshal, S. (1998). Social capital, intellectual capital and the organizational advantage. Academy of Management Review, 23 (2): 242-266.

    - Robert M Grant, J-C Spender . (1996). "Toward A Knowledge-Based Theory Of The Firm" and "Making Knowledge The Basis Of A Dynamic Theory Of The Firm. Strategic Management Journal, 17: 45-62).

    c. Learning based theories

    - March, J.G. (1991). Exploration and exploitation in organizational learning. Organization Science, 2, pp. 71-87.

    - Levinthal DA, March JG. (1993). The myopia of learning. Strategic Management Journal, 14: 95-112.

    - Nonaka, I, Toyama R, Nagata, A.( 2000). A Firm as a knowledge-creating entity: A new perspective on the theory of the firm. Industrial and Corporate Change, 9 (1): 1-20.

    - Spender, J.C. (2008). Organizational Learning and Knowledge Management: Whence and Whither? Management Learning 2008; 39; 159

    - Gooderham, P.N., Minbaeva, D.B., Pedersen, T. (2011). Governance Mechanisms for the Promotion of Social Capital for Knowledge Transfer in Multinational Corporations.joms_Journal of Management Studies 48 (1): 123-150.

    - Espedal, B., og Kvitastein, O. (2011). When cooperation is the norm of appropriateness: How does CEO cooperative behavior affect organizational performance? British Journal of Management (forthcoming).

    d) Debate and alternative perspectives

    - Foss, N. (2007). The emerging knowledge governance approach. Organization, 14(1):27-50.

    - Tsang, E.W.K. (2006) Behavioral assumptions and theory development: The case of transaction cost economics. Strategic Management Journal, 27: 999-1011.

    - Üsdiken B. (2010). Between Contending Perspectives and Logics: Organizational Studies in Europe. Organization Studies, 31: 715-731

     

Overview

ECTS Credits
7.5
Teaching language
English (Norwegian if only Norwegians)
Semester
Spring, Autumn