Organisation, Work and Technology

The following modules are available to incoming Study Abroad students interested in Organisation, Work and Technology.

Alternatively you may return to the complete list of Study Abroad Subject Areas.

OWT.100: Management and Organisational Behaviour

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS

Course Description

The aim of this course is to introduce students to the fascinating world of management and organisation(s) via a series of lectures and seminars and reading groups. 

Over a period of ten weeks, we will attempt to familiarise ourselves with some of the main themes and issues that make up our ‘organised’ world.  Our main objective will be to map out the ways in which we understand ourselves in relation to work, management and organisations.  In order to so, we will attempt to trace how the meaning we give to these important themes has developed historically.  To do so, we will analyse the thought of some of their main critics and contributors.   

The course begins by providing a perspective on capitalism (as the social order in which the forms of managing and organising we are interested in takes place), before moving on to look at management more concretely and ends with a focus on people (both managers and workers) in contemporary organisations and society.

Educational Aims

On completion of this course the following learning outcomes are expected:

In the short term:

  • You will learn some basic concepts in social theory and learn to use them in order to make sense of contemporary society
  • You will become familiar with four important approaches in management
  • You will question the scientific status of management and develop awareness of the process by which scientific knowledge is produced

In the medium term:

  • You will develop critical reading and writing skills
  • You will reflect on the purpose of studying management

 In the long term:

  • You will 'learn to learn': you will develop the capacity to learn autonomously
  • You will develop your capacity to make sense of contemporary organisations: you will appreciate their complexity and you will develop scepticism for management quick-fix and magic 'solutions'

Outline Syllabus

This course aims to introduce participants to the academic study of management, organisations, and people.

OWT. 100 introduces three main subjects:

  • Thinking about Capitalism
  • Thinking about Theories of Management
  • Thinking about the Hegemony of Management

They represent building blocks for your future in-depth studies of modern business corporations and theirmanagerial and organisational issues.

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.101: Management, Organisations and Work: Key Issues and Debates

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms only.
  • US Credits: 6 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 12 ECTS

Course Description

This module aims to provide you with a broad introduction to management covering a wide range of topics that are relevant to work, business and organisations.

The module begins by exploring the basis of all management activities – human resource management and development which fundamentally contributes to the development of employee-engaged and productive organisations. The module is constructed to encourage you to think critically and to reflect upon taken-for-granted assumptions about the world of work and management’s role in relation to it.

As a means to achieve this, the second part of the course introduces different metaphors through which we can understand and analyse organisations.

The final part of the module continues this theme of encouraging critical reflection and explores key issues and debates related to technology, globalization, sustainability and ethics that are intimately related to management. Many of these debates and issues will be explored in greater depth in subsequent OWT modules (e.g. OWT.226 Management and Information Technology, OWT.328 Work and Employment Relations).

Educational Aims

The objectives of the course are:

  • an introduction to and understanding of issues, debates and preoccupations in Organisation Theory and Analysis, Contemporary Work and HRM, Technology and Organisation, and Organisational Ethics
  • a broad, critical and practical understanding of how the social sciences contribute to understanding management and organisational behaviour
  • ability to relate contemporary management and organisation issues to theoretical frameworks
  • the capacity to reflect on and develop insights into the relationship between individuals, groups, organisations and society

By the end of the course you should have:

  • been introduced to four major fields of study for analysing management and organisations
  • develop essay writing/argumentation skills
  • work in a group and foster collective learning
  • develop your academic skills

Outline Syllabus

  • Introduction to Management and Organisations II
  • Organisation Theory
  • Technology and Organisation
  • Organisational Psychology 
  • Human Resource Management

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.221: Organisational Behaviour

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Some social science or management background.

Course Description

This course is concerned with major theories in social psychology and related social sciences that have guided the organisation and design of work. The first part of the course will focus on psychological approaches to the understanding of work with emphasis upon individual personality and motivation. The second part will focus on leadership, group processes and social identity in the workplace. 

In this module students should develop an understanding of the importance of the role of psychology in the development of people management techniques and practices. They will also develop an understanding of the historical development of psychology, with specific reference to the relevance of psychological expertise to the effective management of organisations. 

Educational Aims

Students should have an understanding of the historical development of psychology, with specific reference to the relevance of psychological expertise to the effective management of organisations.  Theories of individual difference evolutionary psychology, motivation, the design of work and leadership are discussed in relation to working life. 

Outline Syllabus

  • Week 1: Introduction to the course / The origins of psychology as a science
  • Week 2: The study of individual differences
  • Week 3: Psychometrics and the concept of personality
  • Week 4: Rational economic motivation
  • Week 5: Goal setting theory
  • Week 6: Positive psychology
  • Week 7: Leadership 1
  • Week 8: Leadership 2
  • Week 9: Introduction to work groups – Socio-technical systems/autonomous work groups
  • Week 10: Social Identity and work

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.222: Managing People

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Some social science or management background.

Course Description

This module outlines how the management of people is approached and understood within different cultural, economic and political contexts. It will review to what extent the strategies, practices and meanings of managing work and workers have changed over the last couple of decades. Particular emphasis is thereby placed on the exploration of the social, temporal and spatial dimensions of managing and regulating work within the organizational context and beyond.

Overall, the module aims to outline the organizational as well as individual challenges, ambiguities and complexities that are concomitant with current modes of managing workers and employees. We will cover topics such as bureaucratic and entrepreneurial forms of work organization, creative knowledge work and workers, employee subjectivity and identity, normative forms of power and control, as well as ethico-political aspects of contemporary management.

Educational Aims

At the end of the course, this module will:

  • Allow you to understand and analyse strategies of managing people as strategies being informed by sociocultural values and norms

  • Help you to understand and explore the complexities, ambiguities and frictions of current modes of managing work and workers

  • Support you in developing an awareness of the ethical issues and questions that are inscribed in practices of managing people

  • Allow you to problematise and critically reflect upon recent trends in management and organization

Outline Syllabus

  1. Introduction to the course: Managing people at work
  2. Strategies of managing work and workers in an entrepreneurial knowledge economy
  3. Dimensions of managing work and workers: the temporal, spatial and socio-cultural
  4. Managing work(ers), employment and careers beyond the organizational context
  5. Managing the ‘human resource’: Paradoxes, challenges and questions of ethics
  6. Managing culture at work
  7. Managing teams at work
  8. Managing identity at work
  9. Diversity and inequality regimes at work
  10. Course review and exam revision

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.223: Human Resource Management

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Some social science or management background.

Course Description

The aim of these two modules (223 and 224), which can be taken both separately as well as in combination (which we strongly advise), is to understand how the elementary functions of HRM unfold, and why they do so in certain ways nowadays compared to, say, thirty years ago. 

At one level, HRM seems very simple: it is a combination of (a) recruitment and selection, (b) control and motivation, (c) training and development, (d) strategy and planning.  It is a function which mediates between organisations and people.  How complicated can that be?  The answer is that it is as complicated as the central objects of such practices – the human and work – are: namely, extremely complicated. 

The reason HRM is endlessly complicated (i.e. there never is an end to the central question to which it has to answer, namely what is work?) lies in the simple fact that the relationship between work as effort and efficiency as the rationality of work is always indeterminate.  How much is an hour of work worth?  How much should I be paid so that work is ‘fair’, or ‘just’?  These essential questions cannot be answered in themselves – they depend on an endless list of other crucial questions – such as, what is it that I have to do?  For what should I be paid?  What counts as the work that is covered by an employment contract?  Where does effort begin and end?  What does it mean for instance to be committed to one’s job, company, or team – in terms of effort?  How do we account for sentiments in work? What does it mean to be creative, or innovative?  Are these part of the employment contract?  How much commitment is one contracted to feel?    

These and all the other aspects of HRM have become its language and the objects of its practices; human work and human being have become entangled in management in very complicated forms in the last thirty years.  You will be the subjects of these practices and will have to understand what is going on in them and how the simple question what is worth doing in the context of contemporary work? is asked and answered today.  

This means that HR practices in contemporary organisations (private, public, large or small) can only be understood if you will understand something much more fundamental, much more profound and much more enabling: the cultural conditions and resources that make these practices possible at all.  You will need to understand how these practices are structured from a cultural viewpoint, from the point of view of the social imaginaries that make them possible. 

Educational Aims

The central aim of our HRM modules is to give you a good understanding of the sphere of Human Resource Management – both as a set of organisational practices and as a group of theoretical and conceptual ideas.  From introductory material you should be aiming to learn in what historical circumstances ‘HRM’ emerged in the managerial vocabulary, how it became defined as a programme for ‘managing people’, and how it operates as a cultural system of managerial action.

You should develop sound insights into the analytical framework that guides both modules.  You also ought to be able to explore and analyse various dimensions of HRM as a complex cultural and historical phenomenon and reflect upon HRM from the perspective of academic study.  You should therefore become familiar with the way social scientists conduct their analyses and discourses with the phenomenon called ‘HRM’.  You should also begin to appreciate and detect the ways in which arguments about the nature of HRM are constructed, on what bases they are built.  Thus you will develop an awareness of how and why opinions and judgements differ and often conflict.  This can only be achieved on the basis of:

  • your consistent attendance at lectures;
  • your full and active involvement in seminars;
  • your deep reading of seminar papers and other recommended books and articles;
  • your careful preparation of informed, accurate, analytically proficient and well-presented essays.

Through lectures and seminars, supplemented with references and suggested readings, these two modules aim to provide an opportunity for you to engage in some of the main debates that mark out the domain of Human Resource Management. This should make you increasingly confident in your ability to evaluate and make use of a variety of sources: scholarly books, scholarly articles, textbooks, but also managerial literature (such as professional journals, corporate and consultancy literature, journalistic texts in various mass-media) and managerial imagery and artefacts (such as job adverts and the vocabulary of the labour market, corporate spaces and various objects related to corporate cultures, audio-visual references to management and people on radio, TV, or internet, etc.).

Outline Syllabus

  • Introduction to course organisation and major themes
  • The rise of HRM: a historical perspective
  • The role of academics and the production of HRM as a discipline
  • Normality, abnormality and the production of the ideal subject of social order
  • Recruitment and Selection as processes of classification and measurement
  • Objectivity and its limitations: techniques of HRM
  • Control and motivation as practices of subjection
  • Governmentality and control in contemporary organisations
  • Motivation: traditional thinking and its limits
  • Motivation: alternative understandings

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.224: Human Resource Development

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Some social science or management background.

Course Description

Human Resource Development (HRD) is a dynamic and evolving area that is part of Human Resource Management (HRM).  This module follows on from OWT 223 and assumes the centrality of the ‘self’ in managerial discourses.  Where HRM focuses on a wide range of processes that deal with the needs and activities of ‘people’ in an organisation, within those processes HRD in the new economy is concerned with the theory and practice related to training, learning and development for both the benefit of individuals and the organisation.  In 1989 McLagan proposed that HRD comprises of three main areas: Training and Development; Organisational Development and Career Development.  This module will take McLagan’s three themes and offer a contemporary look at the tensions that occur when human resources (people) are exhorted through particular managerial discourses.   

Educational Aims

On completion of this module students should be able to:

  • Discuss the relationship between HRD and/or workplace learning within the context of contemporary management practices, ie: the knowledge economy
  • Critically analyse the relationship between different images and/or types of knowledge used within contemporary organisations
  • Discuss different modes of analysing learning and development in everyday organisational life and practice
  • Discuss the changing nature of careers within the knowledge economy

Outline Syllabus

  • Week 11: Introduction to course and to Human Resource Development (HRD) - Training and Development I
  • Week 12: Training and Development II - Knowledge Management: Activity Theory and Communities of Practice
  • Week 13­­: Training and Development III - Teamworking and Creative Friction
  • Week 14: Careers I – The Self         
  • Week 15: Careers II – The Self and Other
  • Week 16: Careers III – Managing Others; a look at Diversity and Talent
  • Week 17: Organisational Development I – Creativity and Change
  • Week 18: Organisational Development II – Play
  • Week 19: Organisational Development III – Well-being
  • Week 20: Group Poster Session and Revision

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.226: Management and Information Technology

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer term only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.

Course Description

This module considers several of the transformations that have arisen in contemporary organisations as a result of the introduction and use of information systems. To consider how information systems have been implicated in these transformations, this course will focus on five themes:  

  • IT and Organisational Change;

  • IT and the Public Sector;

  • Organizational surveillance and the new technologies;

  • Knowledge Management and Information and Communication Technology (ICT);

  • Ethical issues in information systems  

All these themes have been important to the study of information systems in the 1990’s and 2000’s. One or more cases and or readings for each theme will be presented and discussed in detail, so as to first familiarise yourselves with these developments, and second to explore the challenges that the introduction of information systems may pose, and finally to consider the scope for management action. You are required to produce a group presentation and sit an exam in the summer. The aim of this is to develop techniques, methods of analysis and research expertise that can be applied to a variety of real world settings.

Educational Aims

The course requires students to appreciate the importance of viewing human activity in organisations as being context bound, and thus emphasises the local, emergent and the contingent, and looks at how our attitudes have been shaped by particular historical circumstances.  The course also seeks to foster a critical perspective on some contemporary areas of information systems use. 

Finally the course encourages students to apply theoretical perspectives to empirical cases so as to understand something aobout the possibilities and limitations of managerial action.

Outline Syllabus

  • Innovation and technology
  • Knowledge Mangement and Information Technology
  • Electronic government
  • Information Systems Disasters
  • IT in a Multi-cultural context

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 30%
  • Exam: 70%

OWT.228: The Changing Role of Management

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Some social science or management background.

Course Description

In OWT 228 we look at the changing role and position of management and managers in organisations and society. Much of modern analysis of management emphasises a change in forms of management control from traditional authority through vertical hierarchical forms to ones which are more horizontal and look to incorporate employees into the organisation and its goals in ever closer ways. This happens for example through attempts to align employees’ identities, emotions and interests with commitment to the organisation: the much discussed ‘capturing of hearts and minds’. Another aspect of this is the manipulation of meaning in order to facilitate this identification of employee and organisation, usually discussed as the ‘corporate culture’ movement. Together these can be taken as two significant aspects of modern management - the management of meaning and the management of identity - which feature little in traditional management texts that emphasise management as the co-ordination of tasks and the control and deployment of resources. 

Thus this module focuses on how management is a social process, and what this means for the lived experience of ‘doing management’. In exploring this we look at topics which are relevant for the day-to-day experience of managers, although rarely are these addressed in conventional management textbooks: issues such as humour, diversity,’ impression management’ and emotional management.

Educational Aims

The aims of this module on completion should enable the student to:

  • Identify trends in the changing context of management, including both the environment of the organisation and changes at the level of the organisation
  • Discuss management as a social process, rather than simply as a technical or rational activity
  • Explain the ‘identity work’ that managers are involved in as part of their role, on both themselves as managers and with other employees
  • Better understand day-to-day organisational experience as it relates to management, including such aspects as emotions, humour, resistance, and inequalities

Outline Syllabus

  • Introduction to course & key concepts: what is ‘management’?
  • What do managers do and how is this changing?
  • Management as a social process: the management of meaning and the management of identity
  • How to make friends and influence people: control, power, politics & resistance in organisations
  • The ‘other’ sides of management (1): Having fun? Humour as deviance or conformity.
  • The ‘other’ sides of management (2) Always look on the bright side of life: emotions at work.
  • Managing spaces and bodies: emotional labour, aesthetic labour and the ‘new workplace’
  • Big brother at work: surveillance, self-discipline and presentation of self
  • Managing inequalities: work-life balance and diversity
  • Consuming organisations
  • Revision session

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.229: Business Ethics

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: OWT 100/101 Management and Organisations (or equivalent), or an Introduction to Management course

Course Description

The main aim of this course is to provide students with a critical understanding of the ethical dilemmas that are associated with business and management.  It will examine the various ways in which we make sense and speak about ethics, how questions of right and wrong occur and what responses they elicit. 

In simpler terms, if we describe ethics as being about sorting out right from wrong, our interest is on what constitutes ethical conduct, and on who the appropriate agent of this conduct might be.  A critical understanding means that this course does not aim at providing answers or tools that would solve the various problems of ethics or that would guarantee the ethical behaviour of managers.  

The delivery of this course has two main components.  First, a traditional series of weekly lectures that will introduce some the key ideas and theoretical frameworks relevant to understanding the themes and issues covered in this module.  In parallel with the lectures there will be a series of workshops which aim to provide an environment more suited to active participation in order to promote engagement with the material covered.

The workshops are built around student-led group presentations and discussions, the objective being both to demonstrate understanding of the assigned material and to promote the ability to relate this material to the ongoing social and intellectual debates.   

As information covered in class often will not be found in your readings, it is to your benefit to attend class regularly.  A significant portion of the course grade derives from work and activities in the classroom.  Most importantly, class time allows you to interact with and learn from one another.

Educational Aims

Knowledge and understanding: on successful completion of this module students should normally have:

  • A broad but critical understanding of the moral dimension of business, management and the capitalist economy
  • Improved ability to relate key ideas and theoretical frameworks such as those presented in this module on the ongoing moral controversies concerning management and its place in the world

 Skills: On completion of this module students should normally have;

  • Developed their ability to describe, analyse and critically discuss key ideas, theories and debates
  • Advanced their skills in utilising the theoretical ideas, frameworks and information acquired in this course to make sense of current developments
  • Developed the integration between this material and other OWT modules
  • Improved their team working skills and the ability to present and communicate their knowledge effectively

Outline Syllabus

  • Week 1: Introduction
  • Week 2: The civic virtues of business or the quest for a social contract
  • Week 3: The moral origins of liberal capitalism
  • Week 4: The critics and commentators
  • Week 5: The social responsibility of business
  • Week 6: The philosophy of business ethics
  • Week 7: The question of moral agency
  • Week 8: Evil in organisations
  • Week 9: Representations of good and bad in popular media
  • Week 10: Recapitulation

Assessment Proportions

Coursework: 100% (Book review 40%, essay 50% and group work 10%)

OWT.230: Management and the Natural Environment: Ethics and Sustainability I

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: OWT100/101 Management and Organisations (or equivalent) or an Introduction to Management course

Course Description

The course focuses upon the relationships between management theory, practice and the natural environment. The first part of the course examines how management have conceptualised the range of environmental issues which have emerged since the rise of industrial society. We then consider different aspects of sustainability focusing upon ecological modernisation, consumerism and ecological economics. Finally, the nature, complexity and implications for policy making are examined.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students should normally have:              

  •  a broad but critical understanding of the complex interrelationships between management in contemporary organizations and their social, cultural and physical environments
  • improved their ability to relate key ideas and theoretical frameworks such as those presented in this module to the ongoing social and intellectual controversies concerning management and its place in the modern world

Outline Syllabus

  • Lecture 1               Introduction
  • Lecture 2               The Nature & Origins of Contemporary Environmental Problems
  • Lecture 3               Environmental Management Under Conditions of Uncertainty
  • Lecture 4               Ethics and Sustainability
  • Lecture 5               Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Lecture 6               Ecological Modernisation I: Managing Technology
  • Lecture 7               Divided We Stand
  • Lecture 8               Ecological Modernisation II: Managing Waste
  • Lecture 9               Ecological Modernisation III: Managing the Consumer

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 100%

OWT.233: Management and Organisations

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to OWT 227 Analysing Organisations, OWT 228 The changing role of management.  Cannot be taken with OWT.101

Course Description

The module Management and Organisational Behaviour aims to introduce students to fundamental issues and concepts to understand the field of management and organisation studies. Emphasising the need to appreciate what taken-for-granted concepts actually mean, assume and imply, the course offers a diversity of perspectives to examine work, work organisations and what happens within such organisations, notably what individuals and groups do, and how they organise and manage organisational life. The topics of management and organisational behaviour, in fact, need to be explored and understood in relation to the complex socio-economic reality in which such activities take place.

The module is structured around four main themes which provide both a historical overview of the development of ideas that have shaped the meaning of work and management, and an assessment of contemporary developments and challenges in the context of work organisations.  These cover the role and place of the individual in the workplace, the meaning of work, the dimensions of power in/and organisations, as well as contemporary debates and challenges facing managers and organisations.

Outline Syllabus

  • Introduction to the module
  • The individual in the workplace I: Definitions and historical evolution of the working subject
  •  The individual in the workplace II: Psychological perspectives on organisational agents
  •  The meaning of work I: Shaping individual identity
  • The meaning of work II: Socio-economic perspectives
  • Power in/and organisations I: Organisational structure and culture
  •  Power in/and organisations II: The role and means of management
  • Contemporary issues in organisational life I: Responsibility and governance
  • Contemporary issues in organisational life II: The human in management
  • Summary discussion and revision session

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 60%
  • Coursework: 40%

OWT.314: Ethical Responsibility in Business

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms Only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to OWT.229 Business Ethics

Course Description

‘Managers must have the courage to ask questions, to press for answers and to speak out when things are going wrong.’ (Graduate Management Admission Council, Autumn 2002). 

The objective of this module is to attempt to develop moral sensibility and practical reasoning in the context of managerial everyday action in organisations.  The module will be concerned with morality in action, as it happens, rather than a removed reflection on codes and principles of ethics and CSR (corporate social responsibility).  The module will aim to show that ethics and CSR in action is diffused and difficult.  Nevertheless, managers and employees have a responsibility to ‘work it out’ for themselves.  It is this ‘how to work it out’ that the module will keep as its focus.  Managers and employees must eventually make a choice and not only do they have to justify this choice but also respect that others may have a different perspective.  The module will use a number of case studies as a basis to develop this moral sensibility so that managers will be able to act in a morally appropriate manner as part of their ongoing organisational action. 

The teaching strategy supports the learning objectives to develop knowledge and understanding round the ‘ethical’ and ‘responsible’ issues that managers and employees face in organisations today.  The module consists of 10 lectures, each 1 hour in length and 9 seminars of 2 hours where case studies will be utilised and form the basis for group and class discussion.  There will also be the opportunity in seminars for personal experiences to be developed as case studies.

Educational Aims

By the end of the module, students should have:

  • An understanding of key ethical and CSR frameworks and ideas

  • An appreciation of how these frameworks and ideas can be used to develop managerial ethical decision-making skills

  • An appreciation of why it is important for managers and employees to care about ethics & CSR

  • An understanding of the current ethical and responsibility challenges facing managers and employees within organisations today.

Outline Syllabus

The teaching strategy supports the learning objectives to develop knowledge and understanding round the ‘ethical’ and ‘responsible’ issues that managers and employees face in organisations today.  The module consists of 10 lectures, each 1 hour in length and 9 seminars of 2 hours where case studies will be utilised and form the basis for group and class discussion.  There will also be the opportunity in seminars for personal experiences to be developed as case studies.

  • Introduction to the Module and Ethics
  • Key Ethical Frameworks
  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
  • CSR and Stakeholders
  • Sustainability
  • Employees and Business Ethics
  • Global Ethical Issues
  • Ethical Leadership
  • Whistleblowing
  • Recap of the module and exam preparation

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

OWT.320: Managing People and Change

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to OWT221 and OWT.222 Organisational Behaviour / Managing People.

Course Description

Organisational change is widely accepted as a defining feature of contemporary life.  Most of the topics covered in management courses, for example, structure; technology; people; power; culture; strategy; leadership and learning, to name a few, assume the need for changes of one kind or another. 

This course of lectures and the associated seminar programme review some key ideas associated with approaches to change.  Seminal approaches to the field that can be said to conceptualise change management are introduced and compared, particularly those at the micro - that is the individual and group level.

Educational Aims

The course aims to encourage a critical and reflexive appreciation of the complexities and uncertainties of change by exploring the dynamics of change and the relevance of established approaches to emerging problems. Material included in the course will help you understand your own and other peoples’ reactions to changes. It will help you develop informed opinions about theories of change and will help you to understand how changes might be managed effectively.

Expressed more formally, the course will:

  • introduce you to some key management and social, and behavioural science contributions in the field
  • help you to compare different orientations and to appreciate their relative strengths and weaknesses
  • help you to relate such ideas to actual events in organisations
  • help you to understand and evaluate your own approaches to the management of change and to evaluate management practices in this area

Outline Syllabus

  • Lecture 1:            Introduction to the Course: What is Change Management? (Yvonne Latham)
  • Lecture 2:            Planned Change/Organisational Development (Yvonne Latham)
  • Lecture 3:            Action Research and Change (Alison Stowell)
  • Lecture 4:            Attitudes and Change (Yvonne Latham)
  • Lecture 5:            Psychodynamic Approaches to Change (Yvonne Latham)
  • Lecture 6:            Complexity Theory and Emergent Change (Colin Brown)
  • Lecture 7:            Coursework Workshop (Yvonne Latham)
  • Lecture 8:            The Concept of ‘Sense making’, Disasters and Change (Yvonne Latham)
  • Lecture 9:            Routine Theory and Change (Yvonne Latham)
  • Lecture 10:          Objects, Technologies and Change (Yvonne Latham)

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.321: Organisational Change

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to OWT 221 and OWT.222 Organisational Behaviour / Managing People.

Course Description

The aim of this course is to provide students with a critical understanding of organisations and the management of change. Management gurus and media commentators have heralded a break with earlier ways of organizing and managing and yet change is often more difficult than they suggest. 

This course introduces different ways in which to understand change. It pays particular attention to management gurus and asks why their prescriptions are so popular? Overall, the course examines some of the problems and obstacles that companies face when attempting to introduce a variety of new change initiatives including teamwork and knowledge management and it draws on case study material to enable students to explore change in different organisational settings.

Educational Aims

  • To explore different perspectives on change initiatives as a means of providing a more in-depth understanding of them
  • To consider why management gurus and the fashions they promote are so popular
  • To reflect on the meaning, operation and difficulties of implementing team working
  • To explore the meaning of Knowledge Management and the problems facing its introduction
  • To consider how our understanding of change and the problems confronted when seeking to introduce and manage change, can be enhanced through an analysis of power

Outline Syllabus

  • Week 11: Introduction
  • Week 12: Perspectives on Change 
  • Week 13: Perspectives on Change
  • Week 14: A Fantasy Theme Analysis of Management Gurus
  • Week 15: The Organization of Guru Knowledge
  • Week 16: Teamwork
  • Week 17: Teamwork and Knowledge Management
  • Week 18: Knowledge Management
  • Week 19: Power
  • Week 20: Conclusion

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.322: Human Resource Management: Theory and Practice

  • Terms Taught: Lent / Summer Terms Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to OWT 223 and OWT 224 Human Resource Management / Development

Course Description

The aim of Managing Human Resources is to develop an informed, critical understanding of how the management of Human Resources is undertaken, why and with what effect.  What it is not is a prescriptive course providing ‘how to do it’ set of rules and practices.  The focus here is on a critical understanding of the employment relationship within the organisational context. Some students are interested in becoming HR practitioners in their future careers and many wish to become a manager of some form.  In both cases the course provides a solid foundation to evaluating different approaches to managing human resources and gain a critical understanding of where they would be appropriate.

Initially the course introduces the development and roles of HRM and the ways in which different management styles can be adopted in organisations.  The course then examines the nature of the relationship between HRM and performance (including aspects of remuneration).  The lectures then present contemporary HRM issues, for example, Equality and Diversity, Flexible working, Careers and Wellbeing.

Educational Aims

The overall aim of OWT.322 is to provide you with the means of achieving the following:              

  • Understand and critically evaluate different managerial approaches and techniques in, exercising control, gaining consent and compliance of workers and attempting to win commitment
  • Be knowledgeable about the prescription and the practice of how labour is recruited, utilised, motivated, rewarded and disciplined
  • Be aware of the nature of research underpinning debates in this area
  • Articulate orally and in written form complex arguments, debates and ideas introduced by the course
  • Plan and execute independent library-based research into a specific course topic

Outline Syllabus

  • Week 11:  Introduction to the course; The Roles of Personnel Management and Human Resource Management
  • Week 12:  Styles of Managing People
  • Week 13: High Performance Work Practices/Appraisal and Performance Management
  • Week 14: Remuneration Management; Essay guidance for coursework assessment
  • Week 15: Part 1: Recruitment and selection; Part 2: Careers
  • Week 16: Equality and Diversity
  • Week 17: Flexible Working and Work-life Balance
  • Week 18: Employee Involvement and Participation
  • Week 19: Absence, Health, Safety and Wellbeing
  • Week 20: Discipline, Dismissal and Redundancy

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.323: International Human Resource Management

  • Terms Taught: Lent and Summer Terms only
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS
  • Pre-requisites: Equivalent to OWT 223, OWT 224 Human Resource Management / Development

Course Description

Economic, social, cultural and political globalization have all contributed to the growth of economic activity that cuts across national borders and to the emergence and proliferation of organizations that transcend national boundaries. Increasingly, organizations are engaged in the employment contract in multiple different national employment systems. The human resources of organizations are located in multiple country locations. Internationalization thereby becomes a key challenge for the practitioners and a dimension that cannot be taken as given or standard for scholars of HRM. In a context of the transformation of a growing number of organizations (and especially the largest ones) into transnational social spaces, HRM practices flow across borders. Some strategic scholarship argues that such flows are critical to the success of individual firms, and concentrate their efforts on identifying best practices that will yield the greatest leverage to each. Strategic scholarship keen to understand what will work best to increase the efficiency and financial performance of multinational organizations also studies the various glitches that might obstruct flows or make the flows of HRM practices everywhere not always desirable. 

This module examines the challenges of managing human resources against a backdrop of cross-cultural and institutional work contexts and teams, variation in local socio-political-legal contexts and the necessity for cross-border assignments. The analytical/critical approach to IHRM taken concerns itself with questions of whether employment (and HRM) practices are converging or diverging around the world, how power and politics are implicated in the internal dynamics of multinational corporations, and if the corporate social responsibility pledges for appropriate treatment of workers can possibly suffice to ensure a fair employment relationship in the absence of a transnational regulator, among others.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Know, understand, and be able to identify and discuss the core concepts, methodological tools, and debates in the field of comparative and international human resource management;
  • Understand the debates surrounding the rise of the multinational and transnational corporate form and the specific employment/human resource management implications of this;
  • Appreciate the contributions of and be able to recognize the differences between strategic and critical approaches;
  • Be knowledgeable of debates about the reasons behind and problems with international assignments and staffing;
  • Understand and be able to provide informed commentary on the role multinational corporations play in the diffusion of HRM practices and the limitations of such diffusion processes;
  • Be familiar with the challenges globalization of economic activity poses for the regulation of the employment relationship;
  • Articulate orally and in written form complex arguments, debates and ideas introduced by the course
  • Plan and execute independent library-based research into a specific course topic;
  • Integrate key themes, insights and ideas from this course into your other OWT and Lancaster University courses (and vice versa)

Outline Syllabus

  • IHRM and the Multinational/Transnational Corporation
  • Key and Contemporary themes and debates in IRHM
  • Global Integration vs. local responsiveness
  • The challenge of institutions I: Distance and Duality
  • The challenge of institutions I: Responding to Duality
  • Power and politics in IHRM
  • Global labour regulation corporate social responsibility
  • Knowledge and Learning
  • The recruitment, selection and training of the transnational worker
  • Mobility and it's changing role in IHRM

Assessment Proportions

  • Coursework: 50%
  • Exam: 50%

OWT.326: Organising in the Digital Age: Power, Technology and Identity

  • Terms Taught: Michaelmas Term Only.
  • US Credits: 4 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 8 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites:
    • Equivalent to OWT 100 / OWT 101 
    • This course cannot be taken in combination with OWT 327.

Course Description

Technology is widely regarded as an unstoppable engine of change that is driving the advance or progress of the modern world. It would seem that no corner of the planet is left untouched by the transformative power of technology: from computers and telecommunications technology to biotechnology, from genetic engineering to the production of designer drugs to control and reshape human behaviour, the technological (re)ordering of the world would appear to have no limits. Against this background - utopian or dystopian depending on your viewpoint – this course aims to explore the (inter)relationship between technology and organisation/society. It places a strong emphasis on the examination of accounts and representations/visions of technology, technologically mediated change in organisations and society (including issues of identity, power and surveillance), and the ethical dimensions of technology.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to: 

  • Appreciate the ideas and visions that inform technologically mediated change in organisations and society
  • Discuss the role of the media and associated imagery in shaping the public understanding of technology
  • Explain the social and organisational issues raised in relation to digital technologies and identity
  • Appreciate and explain the ethical issues posed in respect of information technology

Outline Syllabus

Visions of Organisation and Technology

  • Introduction
  • Visions of Organisation: from the Machine to the Internet
  • Visions of Technology

Organisations & Information technology: Virtuality, Power & Control

  • Organisations, Control, and Surveillance
  • Virtuality: An Electronically Mediated World
  • Financial Services: Telephone Banking
  • Retailing: Getting to Know the Customer
  • First Term Course Recap

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%

OWT.327: Technology and Organisation: Society and Risk

  • Terms Taught: Full Year Course.
  • US Credits: 8 Semester Credits.
  • ECTS Credits: 16 ECTS Credits.
  • Pre-requisites:  
    • Equivalent to OWT 100 / OWT 101
    • This course cannot be taken in combination with OWT 326.

Course Description

Technology is widely regarded as an unstoppable engine of change that is driving the advance or progress of the modern world. It would seem that no corner of the planet is left untouched by the transformative power of technology: from computers and telecommunications technology to biotechnology, from genetic engineering to the production of designer drugs to control and reshape human behaviour, the technological (re)ordering of the world would appear to have no limits. Against this background utopian or dystopian depending on your viewpoint OWT.327 aims to explore the (inter)relationship between technology and organisation. 

In the Michaelmas term the lectures place a strong emphasis on the examination of accounts and representations, visions of technology, technologically mediated change in organisations and society (including issues of identity, power and surveillance), and the ethical dimensions of technology. 

In the Lent term, students will also address the literature on the social construction of technology. Not only is technological development managed and subjected to processes of organising but it also has to be understood in relation to the influences of politics, culture and gender etc. risk and the management of risk in the context of technology, together with an exploration of future technological developments, are also key themes of OWT.327.

Educational Aims

On successful completion of this module students will be able to: 

  • Appreciate the ideas and visions that inform technologically mediated change in organisations and society
  • Discuss the role of the media and associated imagery in shaping the public understanding of technology, including any risks associated with it
  • Explain the social and organisational issues raised in relation to digital technologies and identity
  • Appreciate and explain the ethical issues posed in respect of technology, including new reproductive and human enhancement technologies
  • Understand and explain the range of social factors that influence the development and use of technology
  • Discuss the issues posed in relation to questions of risk, technology and society

Assessment Proportions

  • Exam: 50%
  • Coursework: 50%