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2019/2020  KAN-CPHIO1801U  Organizational Philosophy

English Title
Organizational Philosophy

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 15 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Autumn
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Philosophy, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Bent Meier Sørensen - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
  • Christian Garmann Johnsen - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Philosophy and ethics
  • Organisation
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 23-05-2019

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Formulate a philosophical problem within the context of organization
  • Relate the problem to the philosophical concepts that are represented in the course curriculum
  • Discuss the philosophical concepts represented in the course curriculum in their original context and in relation to each other
  • Exemplify the philosophical problem and concepts through the use of relevant case-material
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved: 1
Compulsory home assignments
In order to be able to attend the exam, the student must have one written assignment approved. The assignment should relate to one of the themes of the course. The student is expected to write 4 pages that critically reflect upon a philosophical concept and problem in its original context and show how it can be used to think about different aspects of organization.
Organizational Philosophy:
Exam ECTS 15
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 Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Essay
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
30 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure

Written essay and oral examination: The student is expected to write a 10 page essay. The written essay will provide the basis for an oral examination. The essay should contain the following elements:


  • An introduction that identifies and formulates a specific philosophical problem within the context of organization
  • A section that relates and discusses the chosen problem in relation to the one or several philosophical concepts that are represented in the course curriculum.
  • An analysis that exemplifies the chosen problem through the use of relevant case-material.
  • A discussion that reflect upon and critically discusses the implications, limitations and consequences of the analysis.
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Organizational Philosophy introduces to the student a specific philosophical analysis of organization. The course maps out what differentiates organizational philosophy from both classical philosophy, on the one hand, and classical organizational analysis, on the other hand.


The aim of the course is to introduce the students to basic philosophical concepts and analytical tools that may become their later professional profile. The predominantly contemporary curriculum mirrors the ambition of enabling the student to identify problems, challenges and potentials within organizations. As well, the course shows the students how philosophy can become a productive force in the analysis of organization.


It is also the intention of the course to show how philosophical concepts allow for a creative engagement with various organizational phenomena. Thus, the course enables students to think differently about central themes within organization studies, including leadership, bureaucracy, entrepreneurship, management and so forth.


Aim of the course:

The course will give an introduction to organizational philosophy and demonstrate how philosophy provides new ways of conceptualizing and analyzing organizations and organizational phenomena. The course will consist of lectures, company visits and workshops. The active participation of the students is a prerequisite for the success of the course.


The course’s development of personal competences:

Students that have participated in this course will be able to understand and analyze organizations with the use of philosophical concepts. The students will obtain knowledge of central themes within organization studies, including leadership, bureaucracy, entrepreneurship, management, and learn how to engage with them from a philosophical perspective. As well, the students will learn how to use philosophical concepts to explore concrete organizational problems and practices.



Description of the teaching methods
The course is constructed so that it first introduces to the specific methods and concepts of organizational philosophy, and later offers cases, through which these methods are applied.
Feedback during the teaching period
The students will receive feedback during the course through the following channels: feedback on student presentations in class; feedback on performance at workshops; as well as feedback on the performance on the final examination. In addition, all students are encouraged to attend the office hours of the faculty.
Student workload
Lectures 60 hours
Exam 20 hours
Preparation 334 hours
Expected literature

Agamben, G. (2007): “In Praise of Profanation”, Profanation, New York: Zone Books.

Arendt, H. (1998): “Prologue” and “The Human Condition”, in: The Human Condition, The University of Chicago Press

Chia, R. & Holt, R. (2006). Strategy as Practical Coping: A Heideggerian Perspective. Organization Studies, 27(5), 635-655.

Deleuze, G. & Guattari, F. (1994): “What is a concept?”, in: What is Philosophy?, London: Verso.

Deleuze, G. (1992). Postscript on the Societies of Control. October, 3–7.

Derrida, J. (2008): “A Certain Impossibility of Saying the Event”, Critical Inquiry, Vol. 33(2): 441-461

du Gay, P. (1994). “Making up Managers: Bureaucracy, Enterprise and the Liberal Art of Separation”, The British Journal of Sociology, 45(4), 655–674.

Grint, K.. “The sacred in leadership: separation, sacrifice and silence”, Organization Studies 31 (2010): 89-107.

Hamel, G., (2006): “The Why, What, and How of Management Innovation”, Harvard Business Review, 84, 72–84

Heidegger, M. (1962). Being and Time. (J. Macquarrie & E. Robinson, Trans.). Malden, MA; Oxford: Blackwell, 28-35 + 91-102.

Johnsen, C. G. & Sørensen, B. M. (2014). “It”s capitalism on coke!’: From temporary to permanent liminality in organization studies. Culture and Organization, 0(0), 1–17.

Johnsen, C. G. (2015): “Deconstructing the future of management: Pharmakon, Gary Hamel and the impossibility of invention”, Futures Vol. 68(4): 57-66

Jones C. & Spicer A. (2005): “The Sublime Object of Entrepreneurship”, Organization, 12(2): 223–46.

Latour B. (2004): “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern”, Critical Inquiry, 30(2): 225–48.
Reed, M. (2011): “The Post-Bureaucratic Organization and the Control Revolution”, in S. Clegg, M. Harris and H. Höpfl (eds), Managing Modernity: Beyond Bureaucracy?, pp. 230–56. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Macauley, D. (1996): “Hannah Arendt and the Political Place: From Earth Alienation to Oikos”, in Minding Nature: The Philosophers of Ecology, The Guilford Press

Schumpeter, J. A. (1989): “The Creative Response in Economic History”, in: Essays on Entrepreneurs, Innovation, Business Cycles and the Evolution of Capitalism, Transaction Publishers.

Serres, M. “Theory of the Quasi-Object”, in: The Parasite, Minnesota: University of Minnesota Press.

Śliwa, M., Spoelstra, S., Sørensen, B. M., & Land, C. (2012). “Profaning the sacred in leadership studies: a reading of Murakami’s A Wild Sheep Chase”. Organization.

Sørensen, B. M. & Spoelstra, S. (2012). Play at work: continuation, intervention and usurpation. Organization, 19(1), 81-97.

Spoelstra, S. (2007): “Philosophy”, in: What is organization?, Lund: Lund Business.

Turner, V. (1974). Liminal to Liminoid, in Play, Flow, and Ritual: An Essay in Comparative Symbology. The Rice University Studies, 60(3), 53–92.

Weber, M. (1958): “Bureaucracy” in From Max Weber: Essays in Sociology. Oxford University Press

Žižek, S. (1989): The Sublime Object of Ideology, Verso, p. 24-55

Last updated on 23-05-2019