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2013/2014  KAN-MAIBC_MCO1  Culture, Identity and Organization

English Title
Culture, Identity and Organization

Course information

Language English
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Course period Autumn
Time Table Please see course schedule at e-Campus
Study board
Study Board for MA in International Business Communication
Course coordinator
  • Simon Krogh - Department of International Business Communication (IBC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Globalization, International Business, markets and studies
  • Communication
  • Organization
  • Language and Intercultural Studies
Last updated on 09-07-2013
Learning objectives
The course aims to provide theoretical and empirical insight into the ongoing production and reproduction of cultures and identities in multicultural organizations, and into the nature of the communication that constitutes and produces such cultures and identities. Students will also learn methods to identify cultural issues in organizational communication, and to devise change implementation strategies, including ‘translating’ theoretical and analytical insights into practical problem solving and recommendations to management.
The successful student should be able to
  • Reflect on the events, texts and media involved in dealing with communication issues in organizations
  • Recognize forms and structures of organizational cultures and communication
  • Identify those issues that are particular to intercultural communication
  • Plan and implement communication strategies to address such issues as they manifest themselves in specific organizations
Culture, Identity and Organization:
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Group exam, max. 5 students in the group
Size of written product Max. 20 pages
app. 5 pp. pr. person in a group. Max. 25 pp. in all.
Assignment type Written assignment
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and external examiner
Exam period Winter Term
Make-up exam/re-exam
Another examination form
Individual 72 hours take home exam of max. 20 pp. No second examiner.
Description of the exam procedure
Individual oral defense of project: A case of max. 25 standard pages collected by groups of (normally) four to five students from international companies or organizations, addressing a set theme, which will include a case description, a research question, and a recommendation, together with a theory-based account of the background for the recommendation.

the exam should demonstrate that the students
• have knowledge of intercultural theory, communication theory and organizational theory
• can implement analytical concepts from such theory in dealing with concrete problems in an international organization
• can point to strategic solutions to concrete problems and argue coherently for the presented choice, as well as for the proactical considerations that they entail
• can relate to theory, analytical methods and empirical data with critical reflection
Course content and structure
Theme clusters : The term contains four thematically arranged clusters for the international organisation, highlighting

- Cultures and identities in geographically close and dispersed organizations
- Agency: roles, participation, ‘voice’
- Communication relating to change and employment conditions, motivation, and power issues
- Ethics, legitimacy, CSR, and rules regulating behaviour

Theories of organizational culture, identity & communication:
Students will learn to use a range of theoretical lenses and to reflect on how to select the most appropriate ones to understand and address the cultural & communication challenges that can arise in organizations.

Theoretical perspectives addressed in this module include: the integration, differentiation and fragmentation approaches to organizational culture; network theory; theoretical perspectives on organizational actors (stakeholders, groups, subcultures), and organizational change (including the ecology & evolution approaches); as well as major theories of organizational communication.


Teaching methods
Methods particularly useful for case writing and analysis, and commonly used to investigate organizational culture, identity and communication, will be singled out for a lecture series intended to train students to devise research strategies to carry out such investigations.
Methods taught will include: ethnographic techniques such as participant observation, interviews, critical discourse analysis, and narrative analysis.

Assignments: practical writing and consultancy.

Each cluster will contain an assignment where a piece of written work is produced that answers a particular need; the group that produced it will also produce the theory-based reasoning behind the selection of material, style etc. Genres covered could include internal blogs, intranet, line communication messages, corporate regulation implementation, or consultancy reports.

The course will consist of seminars, lectures (with guests) and input from student work groups, facilitated by an interactive platform.
Student workload
Lectures 20 hours
Preparation for lectures 90 hours
Seminars 22 hours
Preparation for seminars 90 hours
Group assignments and feed-back 140 hours
Exam (incl. preparation) 30 hours
Expected literature
Textbooks, e.g.
Cheney et al., Organizational Communication in an Age of Globalization
Adler, N. 2007. International dimensions of organizational behaviour. Thomson.

A selection of book excerpts, anthology chapters and journal articles, e.g.

Alvesson, M. and Willmott, H. (2002): Identity Regulation as Organizational Control: Producing the Appropriate Individual. Journal of Management Studies, Vol. 39

Clegg, S. Courpasson, D, and Phillips, N. (2006): Power and Organizations, Sage, London (Chap. 11
Czarniawska, Barbara. (2012). Organization Theory Meets Anthropology: A Story of an Encounter. Journal of Business Anthropology 1(1): 118-140.
Goffee, R , Jones, Gareth (2007) Leading Clever People. Harvard Business Review
Holmes, Janet and Meredith Marra (2005). Narrative and the construction of professional identity in the workplace. In Joanna Thornborrow and Jennifer Coates (eds) The Sociolinguistics of Narrative. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 193-213
Morsing, M. & Schultz, M. (2006).  Corporate social responsibility communication: stakeholder information, response and involvement strategies.  Business Ethics: European Review.  15(4):
Last updated on 09-07-2013