English   Danish

2020/2021  BA-BSOCO1813U  Introduction to Organizational Sociology

English Title
Introduction to Organizational Sociology

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory
Level Bachelor
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 in Business Administration and Sociology
Course coordinator
  • Erik Mygind du Plessis - Department of Management, Politics and Philosophy (MPP)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organisation
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 25-06-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
On successful completion of the course, students should be able to:
  • Account for, at a basic level, how organizations are viewed and analyzed from a sociological perspective based on relevant theories of organizational sociology
  • Account for the meaning, purpose, and functions of organizations when analyzed through different perspectives in organizational sociology,
  • Describe, explain, compare and assess organizational circumstances and identify models for how organizations handle their everyday operations
  • Account for and discuss the implications of different concepts of organization for actual organizational practices
Introduction to Organisational Sociology:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 5 pages
Assignment type Essay
Duration 48 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Description of the exam procedure


Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

The study of organizations is an interdisciplinary field drawing upon disciplines such as sociology, economics, psychology, management studies and political science. This reflects the role organizations play in modern societies. Organizations such as trade unions, companies, universities or public administration permeate all aspects of public and private life and shape our everyday life. The primary focus of this course will be on the sociological dimension of organizational analysis. We will examine and discuss the development, relevance and impact of organizations. In order to do so we draw upon classical and contemporary organizational sociology. The main objectives of this course are therefore to first provide the student with a basic sociological knowledge about organizational structure, purpose and functioning. We secondly will examine specific organizational phenomena such as power, conflict or organizational change, and the ways in which organizations handle their everyday operations by attending to these. Based on this knowledge and drawing upon case studies of different types of organizations, students will thirdly acquire the skills to identify and analyse how various types of activities are organized in the private and the public sector.


In the autumn 2020 parts of the teaching may take place online.

Description of the teaching methods
We have 15 sessions which will be combinations of lectures and group discussions/case work.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will be given in-class feedback through group discussions, peer-to-peer discussions and case work. Feedback will accordingly be given from peers as well as teachers. The feedback is specifically aimed towards stimulating reflection on key concepts within organizational sociology. Furthermore, the primarily dialogical feedback allows the students to asses, through talking to peers, to what extent their understanding of texts and concepts is adequate.

Furthermore, the course ends with an exercise class in which the students will be presented with questions and tasks that mimmick what they will face in the 48 hour exam. During this session the teacher will be available to provide feedback.

In addition, the teacher(s) of the course will be available to discuss any queries and issues arising in relation to the course as well as first year project ideas.

Student workload
Lectures 34 hours
Preparation per lecture 2 hours
Exam 48 hours
Preparation for exam 40 hours
Independent course work 20 hours
Exercise 2 hours
Varioius 60 hours
Further Information

The course is an introduction to organizations and will provide sociological tools for how to analyse them. As such, it relates to the other courses in the program in such a way that it provides the substance on which the first-year project is supposed to be based. Students will not only engage with theories of organizations but also analyze selected case studies of different organizations that might assist and inspire them to generate research questions for their own project.

Expected literature

There will be a compendium for the course available in CBS bookstore. Further readings and other material will be provided on CANVAS if necessary. The compendium consists largely of original or primary texts as apposed to secondary or more explanatory texts. If you are interested in the latter, I can recommend purchasing or borrowing one of the following books:


Handel, Michael J. (2003) The Sociology of Organizations. Classic, Contemporary, and Critical Readings. Thousand Oaks, London, New Dehli: SAGE.


Hatch, Mary Jo (2006) Organization Theory: Modern, Symbolic, and Postmodern Perspectives. Oxford: Oxford University Press.


Both feature excellent introductions to most of the texts in the compendium and can assist in providing a more fundamental understanding of the material. Good for introduction to the topics or a quick  ’brush up’.

Last updated on 25-06-2020