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2014/2015  KAN-CSOLO1019U  Organizations and Society

English Title
Organizations and Society

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Course period Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Christina Garsten - Department of Intercultural Communication and Management (ICM)
  • Susanne Boch Waldorff - Department of Organization (IOA)
Course responsible: Christina Garsten
Course secretary: Mette Ellekrog (mbe.ioa@cbs.dk)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organization
Last updated on 09-01-2015
Learning objectives
At the exam the student should demonstrate ability to:
  • discuss upon ethical dilemmas with importance for organizations
  • explain the meaning and influence of institutional environments on organizations
  • explain options of organizational responses and managerial actions to institutional environments
  • relate responses to individual organizations, organizational fields, or sectors/industries
  • discuss the strengths and weaknesses in theories of the course
Organizations and Society:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual
The student should demonstrate ability to write an essay in which ethical dilemmas are clearly articulated in the case of an individual organization, organizational fields, or sectors/industries, and which explains how organizational strategies and practices are influenced by institutionalized meanings and emerging concerns in the organizations’ environments. The essay should be based on the topics of the course and primarily draw upon course literature
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Essay
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-step scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Spring Term and May/June
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
The theme of the re-exam will be different from the theme of the ordinary exam. The make-up/re-exam takes place in August.
Course content and structure

This course focuses on organizations as actors in a broader society. It examines processes by which organizations’ strategies and practices are influenced by institutionalized meanings and emerging concerns in their environments. A main tenet of the course is that institutional pressure and complexity – in terms of different institutional logics - create challenges and ethical dilemmas, and organizations respond differently to these challenges. The institutional environment also poses particular demands on managerial responsiveness and actions. The course exemplifies responses to institutional pressure and complexity by investigating how organizations (public as well as private) deal with questions of sustainability.

The course explores the ethical dilemmas stemming from the pressure and complexity in organizations’ institutional environments, and the organizations’ responses to these.
Concerns about the market, participatory democracy and sustainability - to name some – posit complex challenges which are reflected in organizational phenomena such as innovation, human resource management, and corporate social responsibility. Organizations might respond strategically to the challenges by altering their own practices and policies and/or by redefining their environment.
The course draws upon two distinctive theoretical perspectives, institutional theory and actor-network theory, to analyze the ethical dilemmas and institutional complexity which organizations face, and also their organizational responses.

Teaching methods
The course combines lectures with case-method teaching.
Expected literature

Bergström, O. & Diedrich, A. (2011) Exercising Social Responsibility in Downsizing: Enrolling and Mobi_lizing Actors at a Swedish High-Tech Company’, Organization Studies 32(7), pp. 897–919.

Garsten, C. & Hernes, T. (2008) Ethical Dilemmas in Management, Routledge

Hassard, J.  & Alcadipani, R. (2010). Actor-Network Theory, organizations and critique: towards a politics of organizing. Organization, 17, pp. 419-435

HBS case (Bartlett, Deesin and Sjöman) IKEA’s Global Sourcing Challenge: Indian Rugs and Child Labor.

Latour, B. (2004). Why has critique run out of steam? From matters of fact to matters of concern. Critical inquiry 30 (2), pp. 225-248.

Oliver, C. (1991). Strategic Responses to Institutional Processes, Academy of Management Review, 16(1), pp. 45-179.

Purkayastha, Debapratim & Fernando, R. (2007) The Body Shop: Social Responsibility or Sustained Greenwashing? In J. Hamschmidt (Ed.) Case studies in sustainability management and strategy. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing, pp. 226-251.

Scott, W.R. (1992). Conceptions of Environments. In “Organizations, Rational, Natural, and Open Systems”. Prentice-Hal, Inc.

Silverman, M. & Thomas, T. (2007) Kimpton Hotels: Balancing Strategy and Environmental Sustainability. In J. Hamschmidt (Ed.) Case studies in sustainability management and strategy. Sheffield: Greenleaf Publishing, pp. 68-88.

Waldorff, S. B. (2013). Accounting for Organizational Innovations: Mobilizing institutional logics in translation. Scandinavian Journal of Management.

Waldorff, S.B. & Justesen, L. (2013). Dong Energy. In Justesen, L. & Waldorff, S. B. (Eds). 2012. Strategies in Action: A case collection. Frederiksberg: Samfundslitteratur.

Warburton, N.  (1999): Philosophy: The Basics. Routledge, London New York, pp. 39-68

Last updated on 09-01-2015