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2022/2023  KAN-CCMVV2415U  Strategy and Organizational Structure

English Title
Strategy and Organizational Structure

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Fourth Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Julia Bodner - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Organisation
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 11-02-2022

Relevant links

Learning objectives
At the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate:
  • a familiarity with the core concepts of incentives and decision rights—the allocation decision-power within organizations’ structures—as the building blocks of strategy implementation
  • the ability to apply core concepts in order to analyze how people will act in response to any given (change in) incentives, decision rights, and organizational structures to real-world cases, and an awareness of common pitfalls
  • an awareness of the interdependences between different elements of organization design—e.g., incentives and pay structures (wages/bonuses/stock), the design of teams, and recruitment—to better understand how employees act in organizations and to elicit desired behaviors (such as initiative, coordination, cooperation, and trust)
  • an understanding of the role of big data and artificial intelligence in incentives and organization design
  • a basic understanding of how employee data can be used in order to understand which employees are at risk of departing (and possible things to do about it), and to forecast future employee behaviour
Strategy and Organizational Structure:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Incentives and decision rights are core elements of strategy implementation. Organizations need to encourage value-creating behavior and discourage value-destroying behavior to accomplish their strategic goals. To do so, it is important that organizations select the right people, provide the right incentives, and organize their structure accordingly. However, these choices are often challenging: If we change the design of an organization, its incentive systems, or its decision rights, we will change how people in the organization act.


In this class, students will learn that changes in incentives and organizational structure often have surprising and unintended effects. The course will cover core theoretical concepts in organizational economics, human resource management, and strategy. We will use case studies to discuss possible pitfalls of incentives and organization design choices, and potential ways to avoid them. The class seeks to prepare students to better understand employees’ responses to common forms of incentives and organization designs and make better predictions about their intended and unintended consequences. The main goal of this class is for the students to be aware of the interdependences of incentives and organization design choices and be better equipped to manage these interdependencies in their future workplaces.

Description of the teaching methods
The course is structured into four sections: 1) Incentives, 2) People, 3) People Analytics, and 4) Structure. In each session, students learn about core theoretical concepts and research and discuss real-world cases and recent examples from practitioners’ perspectives using theoretical lenses. Students’ preparation for each session will be guided by a few (1-4) questions based on the reading or their own experience, allowing them to focus on a few core takeaways. Readings are complemented by pre-class preparation with podcasts and articles. The reading list below is meant to give an idea about the discussed topics. There is no required textbook for the class.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be given as we discuss the cases and readings. In-class polls and multiple-choice questions will be used to also prompt discussions and enable feedback during class. Finally, students can also stop by to get feedback and ask questions during office hours.
Student workload
Teaching 33 hours
Preparation 100 hours
Exam 73 hours
Expected literature


Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage. Journal of Management, 17(1), 99-120. 


Bidwell, M. (2011). Paying more to get less: The effects of external hiring versus internal mobility. Administrative Science Quarterly56(3), 369-407.


Bloom, N., Liang, J., Roberts, J., & Ying, Z. J. (2015). Does working from home work? Evidence from a Chinese experiment. The Quarterly Journal of Economics130(1), 165-218. 


Bode, C., Singh, J. & Rogan, M. (2015). Corporate social initiatives and employee retention. 26(6): 1702-1720. 


Boudreau, J. and Rice, S. (2015) Bright, shiny objects and the future of HR. Harvard Business Review, 93(7). 


Dietvorst, B. J., Simmons, J. P., & Massey, C. (2018). Overcoming algorithm aversion: People will use imperfect algorithms if they can (even slightly) modify them. Management Science64(3), 1155-1170. 


Dokko, G., & Rosenkopf, L. (2010). Social capital for hire? Mobility of technical professionals and firm influence in wireless standards committees. Organization Science21(3), 677-695. 


Edmondson, A. (1999). Psychological safety and learning behavior in work teams. Administrative science quarterly, 44(2), 350-383. 


Gulati, R., & Puranam, P. (2009). Renewal through reorganization: The value of inconsistencies between formal and informal organization. Organization Science20(2), 422-440. 


Karim, S., & Capron, L. (2016). Reconfiguration: Adding, redeploying, recombining and divesting resources and business units. Strategic Management Journal, 37(13), E54-E62.


Lazear, E. P. (2000). Performance pay and productivity. American Economic Review90(5), 1346-1361. 


Obloj, T., & Sengul, M. (2012). Incentive life-cycles: Learning and the division of value in firms. Administrative Science Quarterly, 57(2), 305-347.


Puranam, P., & Srikanth, K. (2007). What they know vs. what they do: How acquirers leverage technology acquisitions. Strategic Management Journal, 28(8), 805-825.


Thomke, S., & Manzi, J. (2014). The discipline of business experimentation. Harvard Business Review92(12), 17. 

Last updated on 11-02-2022