The organisation

SOL3 The organisation

Autumn 2024

  • Topics

    We are embedded in organizations from our time in the cradle until our time in the grave. Most of us are born in a hospital, run around in a kindergarten, receive education at a school and thereafter (or simultaneously) work in an organization, before we end up in a nursing home or a hospital for our final days. In other words, a lot of the things we do in life, we do in organizations. A basic understanding for organizations and how they function is therefore a prerequisite for maximizing the return from our efforts in life.

    Especially in work life, an understanding of organizational theory is essential in many contexts. For instance, it is difficult to manage a company without a very good understanding of how organizations function. And a good understanding for organization theory becomes even more important in an era where globalization, digitalization, and different aspects relating to sustainability increasingly influence organizations and our work lives.

    Organization theory is a comprehensive subject with an extensive history. In this course you will become familiar with a selection of essential terms, concepts and theories in organizational theory. We will focus on some well-established theories, but also on some more modern theories and perspectives. Much of our focus in this course, particularly in regards to the semester hand-in and the two case-solving gatherings, will be on understanding, explaining and creating organizational change. The purpose is, precisely, that you will acquire an understanding of organizational theory, which can aid you later on, both at NHH and in work life, but also more generally with the activities in life that happens in organizations. One day it may be you leading an organisation.

  • Learning outcome

    Upon course completion, the student will:


    • Be familiar with basic terms, concepts and theories in organizational theory.
    • Be familiar with key developments in the organizational theory subject.
    • Understand how their environments, including sustainability aspects, can influence organizations.
    • Understand how and why many of today’s organizations are different from typical organizations in the 20th century.
    • Have a high level of familiarity with, and understanding of common (i) causes, (ii) content, and (iii) outcomes of organizational change.


    • Be able to view work life and organizational practices in connection with relevant organization theories.
    • Be able to apply organization theory to analyze and explain different characteristics of different organizations.
    • Be able to apply organization theory to analyze and explain different processes in organizations.
    • Be able to communicate analyzes that rely on organization theory in an apt manner.

    General competencies

    • Understand how organizations function.
    • Be able to apply relevant tools (terms, concepts and theories) from organization theory.
    • Be able to contribute with constructive input in discourses relating to organizational change.

  • Teaching

    The educational program in SOL3 consists of four components that complement each other to give students the maximum benefit from the course.

    1. The core of the course is the lectures. The lectures will be based on the curriculum as well as relevant real-world cases.
    2. We will have two-three case gatherings. During these gatherings, students will actively participate in the course by performing tasks with a practical orientation together with other students.
    3. There will be a two-part semester assignment where students can develop their understanding of organisation theory ahead of the exam.
    4. The course will also have a digital component, where various videos and documents explaining information about the course and discussing cases and organizational theory will be made available on Canvas. Note at the same time that physical attendance at NHH is encouraged. This means that digital material will be a good supplement to the teachings, but not a replacement.

  • Required prerequisites


  • Compulsory Activity

    The students will in groups work on a semester paper that is handed in approximately half-way into the course (part 1) and at the end of the semester (part 2). 

    Acquired course approval after autumn 2021 is still valid.

  • Assessment

    6 hour individual school  exam (Digital).

  • Grading Scale


  • Literature

    The main book in this course is Hvordan organisasjoner fungerer by Jacobsen and Thorsvik (fifth edition, Fagbokforlaget).

    In addition, some select key articles will supplement this book in some of the lectures. These will be made available on Canvas in due time. 


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Autumn. Offered Autumn 2024

Course responsible

Lecturer Christer Andre Flatøy, Institute for Strategy and Management