Organisational Theory

SOL3 Organisational Theory

  • Topics


    Throughout the course, via a series of lectures, group-based assignments and self-study, the students are presented to topics that that help them to understand how organizations are designed, how they function,and how they affected and are affected by the environment in which they operate.

    This covers basic design elements of organizational structure and the role organizational culture plays in contributing to organizational efficiency, adaptability, and innovation, how environment. The decisiverole environment, technology, strategy and size play in determining the most suitable organizational form. How core organizational theories, like contingency theory, resource dependency, institutional approaches, organizational ecology and economic approaches to organizations help us to understand why organizations emerge and how they interact with their environment. Discussion on how to manage change, power and conflict, decision-making and innovation.

    Topics up for discussion are:

    • History of organization theory
    • Authority and control
    • Specialization and coordination
    • Organizational culture
    • The external environment of organizations
    • Inter-organizational relationships and alliances
    • Strategy and internationalization
    • Emergence, growth and decline of organizations
    • Innovation, change and learning
    • Organizational decision-making

    Conflict, power and control.

  • Learning outcome

    Learning outcome

    The purpose of this course is to offer a setting where the student can get acquainted with knowledge, insights, and skills required to analyze and understand the functioning of organizations. This will be accomplished through the introduction of major topics, perspectives and theories within the field of "organization theory", a large and multidisciplinary body of scholarly work with its origin in sociology, economics and business management.

    Because organizations are a ubiquitous phenomenon in the real world, organization theory is of importance for people and managers in all organizations varying from small to large organization, in private, public and non-profit sectors. As such, the aim of the course is not only for the student to understand the theoretical development within the field of organization theory, but also the practical applications in real public and nonprofit management contexts. Students are encouraged to apply the theories and concepts covered in this course to their own experiences.

    Knowledge - upon successful completion the student

    • can demonstrate to have knowledge and understanding of central themes, theories, processes, tools and methodologies within the field of organization theory.
    • can demonstrate to be familiar with research in the field of organization theory.
    • will have an academic basis that prepares for future studies on organization theory.
    • will have a critical and reflective understanding on the predictive power of the theories introduced in the course.
    • can demonstrated to have reflective approach to real-life organizational problems and challenges.

    Skills - upon successful completion the student can

    • apply research findings within the field of organization theory on practical and theoretical issues.
    • reflect on their own academic practice and adjust this practice under academic supervision.
    • locate, select, organize, and document information on a business caser and formulate a relevant problem formulation.
    • apply the relevant tools, techniques and forms of expression

    General competences - upon successful completion the student

    • can plan and execute a variety of tasks and projects that extend over time, alone and in groups, and in line with ethical requirements and guidelines
    • can communicate key subject matter as theories, issues and solutions both in writing, orally and through other relevant forms of expression.
    • can exchange views and experiences with others with backgrounds in the field or organization theory and thereby contribute to the development of good practice.


    Formålet med kurset er at studenten skal bli kjent med den kunnskapen og de ferdighetene som skal til for å analysere og forstå organisasjoners virkemåte. Det vil bli gitt en innføring i viktige temaer, perspektiver og teorier innenfor faget organisasjonsteori, et stort og tverrfaglig felt med røtter i fagene sosiologi, økonomi og bedriftsledelse.

    Organisasjoner finnes overalt i den virkelige verden, og organisasjonsteori er viktig for alle som arbeider i organisasjoner, enten organisasjonene er små eller store, og enten de er private, offentlige eller ideelle. Målet med kurset er derfor ikke bare å gi studentene en forståelse av hvordan organisasjonsteorien har vokst fram over tid, men også å vise hvordan faget kan anvendes i det virkelige liv av ledere i offentlig og ideell virksomhet. Studentene oppmuntres til å anvende teoriene og begrepene som dekkes i kurset, på egne erfaringer.

    Kunnskap: Når studenten har fullført og bestått kurset, vil han/hun

    • kunne vise at han/hun har kunnskap om og forståelse av sentrale temaer, teorier, prosesser, verktøy og metoder innenfor faget organisasjonsteori
    • kunne vise at han/hun kjenner til forskningen innenfor organisasjonsteorien
    • ha et akademisk grunnlag for videre studier innen organisasjonsteori
    • ha en kritisk og reflektert forståelse av prediksjonskraften til teoriene som presenteres i kurset
    • kunne vise at han/hun har en reflektert tilnærming til organisasjonsproblemer og -utfordringer i det virkelige liv

    Ferdigheter: Når studenten har fullført og bestått kurset, vil han/hun

    • kunne bruke forskningsresultater fra organisasjonsteorien på praktiske og teoretiske problemstillinger
    • kunne reflektere over sin egen akademiske praksis og justere denne praksisen under faglig veiledning
    • finne, velge ut, organisere og dokumentere informasjon om en virksomhetscase og formulere en relevant problemstilling
    • anvende de relevante verktøyene, teknikkene og formidlingsmåtene

    Generell kompetanse: Når studenten har fullført og bestått kurset, vil han/hun

    • kunne planlegge og gjennomføre ulike arbeidsoppgaver og prosjekter som strekker seg over tid, alene og i grupper, og i tråd med etiske krav og retningslinjer
    • kunne formidle sentralt fagstoff som teorier, problemstillinger og løsninger både skriftlig, muntlig og på andre relevante måter
    • kunne utveksle synspunkter og erfaringer med andre med bakgrunn fra faget organisasjonsteori og slik bidra til utvikling av god praksis

  • Teaching


    Teaching forms: Lectures, group-based assignments, seminars, and self-study.

    Lectures: The lectures, including guest lectures, will be held in English. The students are free to

    approach to ask questions in Norwegian, but can expect the answer to be in English or Danish.


    Group-based assignments: during the course the students, in groups of 3-4 students, are required to

    write, present and hand-in two group-based assignments on a case organization of their own choice.


    The first group-based assignment, where the group presents the organizational design of the case

    organization with the active use of theory, has to be handed in digitally. Afterwards, groups have to

    present this assignment in a seminar. During this seminar, the group receive feedback from the

    teaching assistants and have to opportunity to improve their assignment before the final delivery

    together with the second assignment.


    For the second group-based assignment the group has to analyze a particular event the organization has

    experienced, or phenomenon the organization is confronted with. The students have to hand in a draft

    version of this assignment to the teaching assistant followed by a presentation. The students have to

    prepare a presentation of this assignment. Following this presentation the students receive feedback on

    the draft and the presentation.


    Following the necessary revisions, Assignment 1 and Assignment 2 are combined in one document and

    submitted as part of the overall course evaluation (50%). Submission dates will be listed in the course



    Seminars: All assignments are accompanied with an 8- to 10-minute presentation, followed by a short

    discussion where the student assistant and fellow students provide constructive feedback to your

    presentation skills and the assignment at large. The seminar provides a platform where students can practice and receive feedback on their presentation skills. One person is responsible for presenting but

    preparation for this presentation is a group effort. All groups have to be present, no exceptions, but not

    all group members have to be present.


    Self-study : the total expected workload on a 7.5 ECTS varies between 187.5 and 225 hours (25-30

    hours per ECTS); subtracting lectures, group-based assignments and seminars leaves a considerable

    amount of hours for self-study, i.e. preparing for lectures and exams

  • Required prerequisites

    Required prerequisites


  • Requirements for course approval

    Requirements for course approval

    For course approval to students have to hand in drafts of the two assignment and deliver, as a group, a

    presentation during the student seminar.

  • Assessment


    3 hours written exam (50%) and group-based assignment (50%). The students may write the group-

    based assignment and answer the written exam in Norwegian or English. For students who wish to retake the exam, the current exam requirements will apply.

     Siste mulige for gjentak av SOL030, SOL030OPPG og SOL030EKS var høsten 2017.

  • Grading Scale

    Grading Scale

    Grading scale: A-F

  • Semester



  • Literature



    Robbins and Barnwell (2006) Organization Theory Concepts and Cases 5th edition. I tillæg til bogen vil jeg læg ud ekstra materiale på Itslearning.


    Ekstra materiale på Itslearning


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Course responsible

Bram Timmermans, Department of Strategy and Management. email: