English   Danish

2023/2024  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 cand.merc. and GMA (CM)
Course coordinator
  • Julia Bodner - Department of Strategy and Innovation (SI)
Main academic disciplines
  • Human resource management
  • Organisation
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 15-02-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
At the end of the course, students should be able to demonstrate:
  • Knowledge and understanding of core concepts of incentives and the allocation of decision-power within organizations’ structures as building blocks of strategy implementation that apply broadly to all types of organisations
  • The ability to apply core concepts 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 elements of organization design—e.g., incentives and pay (wages/bonuses/stock), team design, recruitment, but also leadership and the desire to have a broader societal impact—to understand how employees are motivated and act, and to elicit desired behaviors (such as initiative, prosocial behavior, 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 to analyse employee behavior and the ability to embrace and detect sources of ambiguity in such analyses
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
Release of assignment An assigned subject is released in class
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 learn about how 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 and consider the interdependences of incentives and organization design choices and be better equipped to manage these interdependencies in their future workplaces and responsibilities.

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 some (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. Polls and multiple-choice questions will be used to also prompt discussions and enable feedback. Discussions are structured and accompanied to encourage students to collaborate in groups and exchange constructive feedback. 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.


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

Last updated on 15-02-2023