English   Danish

2023/2024  KAN-CCDCO1004U  Leading Complex Organizations

English Title
Leading Complex Organizations

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Mandatory (also offered as elective)
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Semester
Start time of the course Spring, Spring
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Study board
Study Board for BSc and MSc in Business, Language and Culture, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Dan Kärreman - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
Main academic disciplines
  • Management
  • Organisation
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 29-09-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Define leadership in light of the range of different theoretical perspectives and concepts presented in the course, including social movements theory, social network theory, intergroup leadership, tempered radicalism, gender and diversity, sexual harassment, and cross-cultural leadership theory.
  • Explain clearly the differences between individualistic, leader-centered approaches and relational, leadership-centered approaches to leadership.
  • Define, compare and contrast the systems control perspective and the process relational perspective on strategy, management, organization, and leadership
  • Define complexity, and explain how concepts such as complex adaptive systems, emergence, and adaptive space complements relational and leadership-centered approaches to leadership.
  • Apply the concepts and perspectives covered in the course to analyze a wide range of cases chosen to exemplify the complex mix of strategic, organizational, managerial, and leadership challenges and dilemmas that confront complex organizations and the people who work in them.
Leading Complex Organizations:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Case based assignment
Release of assignment The Assignment is released in Digital Exam (DE) at exam start
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

This course prepares students for careers as effective managers by exploring the key practical and conceptual tasks and challenges facing complex organizations and the people who work in them. These challenges include organizing work as a series of diverse and challenging projects; managing project portfolios; negotiating work tasks with experts, professionals, and knowledge workers; maintaining integration in very diverse workplaces; and grappling with uncertainty and change. The course stresses that in such contexts, the strategic, organisational and cultural aspects of management practice always intersect and overlap. At the same time, the course explores several theories that link these dynamics tightly together.
The course further pursues the notion that management practices rooted in industrial regimes of production increasingly have been superseded in many instances by new management practices that foreground collaboration, leadership, culture and the regulation of identity. The course therefore includes discussion of those aspects of organisational life that are often marginalised in standard texts, including the politics and complexities of managerial decision-making, the personal stresses associated with managerial work, the roles played by ordinary human interaction, relationships, and humour in organizational settings.

Description of the teaching methods
Class time will consist of a combination of lectures and case-based discussions. Students will participate actively in and analyzing presenting readings and cases. Students will be strongly encouraged to form study groups that meet outside of class to prepare and discuss the readings and cases in advance.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback will be given continuously in class and/or during office hours.
Student workload
Lectures 30 hours
Exam 34 hours
Preparation 142 hours
Total 206 hours
Expected literature

Course materials consist of a textbook, journal articles, and business cases. All students are responsible for obtaining all course materials and for showing up for class ready to discuss them. The case materials assigned for this course are all available for purchase at the Harvard Business School Publishing.

Indicative Literature:
Tony Watson, Organising and Managing Work. Financial Times/ Prentice Hall; 2 edition (10 Jan 2006).

Last updated on 29-09-2023