LLSMA2006

« Theories of organizations»

 

 

 

February - March 2019

 

Class meets Mondays, 9:30 - 12:30; 14:00-16:00

 

Leclerc 72

 

 

Prof. Régis Coeurderoy

 

Université Catholique de Louvain, Louvain School of Management, Place des Doyens, 1;

B-1348 Louvain La Neuve (Belgium)

Tel: +32.10.47.84.24

Fax: +32.10.47.83.24

Email: regis.coeurderoy@uclouvain.be

 

 


 

 

Course objectives

 

Why do firms exist? And why markets and other arrangements among individual or collective actors exist? How can we explain the causes and consequences of interactions and collaborations between actors? How can we assess (and give sense to) performance evaluations (profit, efficiency, legitimacy...) at individual or organizational levels? Here are some of the core questions supporting a sizeable chunk of research works in management. To tackle seriously such issues, researchers need to develop intellectual frameworks that we call theories. Theories provide lens to analyse people actions and behaviors and to draw causal relations. Furthermore, theories create the common grammar that a community of researchers shares.

Albeit considered as a "practice matters at first" discipline, management also needs theories, not only to be accepted as an academic discipline, but also to create sound, replicative and cumulative knowledge. So far, theoretical approaches of organizations developed in management studies have been widely inspired by more old and established disciplines in social sciences – economics, psychology and sociology. More recently, researchers in management have developed efforts to create a more specific approach.

This course is an introduction to these theories of organizations widely used in the research field of management & organizations. We will review the main theoretical approaches through their disciplinary origin: economics (day 2), sociology (day 4) and psychology (day 5). We will also review the theories more “management based”: the competence approach (day 3) and the stakeholders approach (day 6). We will start by a brief introduction and an analysis of behavioural assumptions adopted in these social science theories.

The learning objectives are twofold. The very first learning objective will be focused on the basic features of each theoretical approach. We will help students (a) to acquire a helicopter’s view and a synthetic perspective on the different theories - useful knowledge to position your research on sound foundations (internal consistency); (b) to sort out concepts and frameworks and to be able to identify specific features of each theory and overlaps/contradictions between theories - other useful knowledge to position your research on sound foundations (external consistency). The second learning objective will be more oriented towards the development of a researcher’s skills. We will help students (a) to develop analytical reading skills – useful to manage huge volumes of articles; (b) to develop synthetic writing skills – useful to orchestrate discussion between papers and develop your own way.

 

The course is a PhD level course (1st year). Master students interested by a research course on theories of organization in management can access too.

 

 

 

Course format

 

The format of the course is centred on lectures and paper discussions, with a high level of participation expected from the students. In a typical one day (five hours) session, we will proceed in three steps:

 

(1)       9:30 -11:00     General introduction of the theoretical lens (“Foundations”) Each student will be advised to prepare readings. These readings are useful for appropriation and discussion of the theories;

(2)       11:00 -12:30   Team work & discussion on a recent development of the theory (“Developments”)     We will work in class on a selection of papers, based on a list of questions. Each student will be required to prepare readings. These readings are necessary for appropriation and discussion of the theories;

 

(3)       14:00 -16:00   Team work & discussion on a recent debate on the theory (“Debates”)   We will work in class on a selection of papers, based on a list of questions. Each student will be required to prepare readings. These readings are necessary for appropriation and discussion of the theories;

 

Grading (PhD students)

•          Article reviewing: 50%

-        2/3 hours (working time)

-        Pre-reading

-        2/4 questions

-        Critical analysis of the theory

-        “in bed” exercice

•          Research note on the theoretical foundations of the PhD topic: 50%

-        Maximum deadline: mid-June 2019

-        5/10 pages

-        Synthetic note on the theoretical foundations of the PhD topic

-        Research gap and expected contribution

 

 

Grading (Master students)

•          Article reviewing: 50%

-        2/3 hours (working time)

-        Pre-reading

-        2/4 questions

-        Critical analysis of the theory

-        “in bed” exercice

•          Five analytical notes reviewing the theories studied : 50%

-        Weekly exercice

-        2/3 pages

-        “Review of literature” notes analysing the key issues studied each week

-        Discussion on the key contributions of papers

 

 

 

Course schedule

 

1.     The theories of the organizations: same concern, multiple lens (February 4th, 2019)

 

2.     The economic approach: organizations through the lens of coordination (February 11th, 2019)

 

3.     The sociological approach: organizations through the lens of institutions (February 18th, 2019)

 

4.     The stakeholder approach: organizations through the lens of relationships (February 25th, 2019 )

 

5.     The psychological approach: organizations through the lens of behaviors (March 4th, 2019 )

 

6.     The managerial approach: organizations through the lens of competence (March 11th, 2019)