GRA 6026 Organization Science


GRA 6026 Organization Science

Responsible for the course
Thorvald Hærem

Department of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour

According to study plan

ECTS Credits

Language of instruction

One of the main objectives of this course is to provide the students with an in depth understanding of organizations. Organizations are a main tool that modern society applies to meet the challenges of innovation and resolution of complex tasks. To understand how to organize to resolve the challenges organizations meet is a main focus of this course. The course reviews the main contributions to organization research. Another objective is to provide students with a background to understand the changes in organizational structures that we observe in both the private and in the public sector. Understanding new organizational forms - why they are emerging and which characteristics they bear - are of key importance for managers acting in these sectors. Therefore, the course also aims at giving the students a deeper understanding of the present "experiments" in organizational structures and processes.

Learning outcome
Understand the concept of Organizations
Know about the fundamental research streams in organization science
Know how to organize to facilitate the resolution of different types of tasks
Know how to adjust the organizational structure to the influence of different types of environment
Know about the effectiveness of major organizational mechanisms
Know about the workings of major organizational mechanisms such as power, authority and goal setting.

Be able to analyze organizational problems
Be able to identify mismatches in different organizational settings
Know techniques to adjust an organization to environmental demands
Know techniques to adjust an organization to internal technological demands
Be able to apply theoretical frameworks to specific organizational problems
Be able to pinpoint generic organizational problems

Developed a measured understanding about the relevance and scope of organizations
Be able to understand how organizations can analyzed in different perspectives
Have a realistic and empirically based attitude to the strengths and limits of rational organizational theories
Developed a measured and empirically based understanding of how micro and macro conditions interact in organizations and how to analytically disentangle them
Understand how organization theory is the foundation for leadership and management


All courses in the Masters programme will assume that students have fulfilled the admission requirements for the programme. In addition, courses in second, third and/or fourth semester can have spesific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.

Compulsory reading
Scott, W. Richard and Gerald F. Davis. 2014. Organizations and organizing : rational, natural, and open system perspectives. New international ed. Pearson Education

Collection of articles:
Collection of scientific articles will be made available before course start.

A list of compulsory readings will be provided on It's learning or in class.
During the course there may be hand-outs and other material on additional topics relevant for the course and the examination.

Recommended reading

Course outline
- Introduction, Organizations as rational, natural & open systems
- Organizations as Rational systems
- Organizations as Natural systems
- Organizations as Open Systems
- Designing Organizations & Combining Perspectives
- Organizations & Environment

- The Nature of the Firm
- Boundary Spanning & Boundary Setting
- Technology & Structure: Coordination & Routines
- Environment & Structure
- Modern Organizational forms

Computer-based tools
Not applicable

Learning process and workload
A course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of 160-180 hours.

The course is structured as seminars, combining lectures with active dialogues. The course will combine text book readings with research articles. The lectures will utilize current business cases to illustrate main points in the literature. There are two mandatory assignments, one case based and one simulation based, which are designed to train the students in application of the theory to real situations.

Please note that while attendance is not compulsory in all courses, it is the student’s own responsibility to obtain any information provided in class that is not included on the course homepage/It's learning or text book.

The course grade will be based on the following activities and weights:
10% Case work
30% Paper/assignment
60% Written examination 3 hours

Form of assessment Weight Group size
Case work 10%
Assignment 30%
Written examination 3 hours 60%

Specific information regarding student assessment will be provided in class. This information may be relevant to requirements for term papers or other hand-ins, and/or where class participation can be one of several components of the overall assessment. This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded using points on a scale from 0-100. The final grade for the course is based on the aggregated mark of the course components. Each component is weighted as detailed in the course description. Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam components will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the points system and the mapping scale in the student portal @bi.

Examination code(s)
GRA60261 continuous assessment accounts for 100% of the final grade in the course GRA 6026.

Examination support materials
Bilingual dictionary
Permitted examination support materials for written examinations are detailed under examination information in the student portal @bi. The section on support materials and the use of calculators and dictionaries should be paid special attention to.

Re-sit examination
It is only possible to retake an examination when the course is next taught. The assessment in some courses is based on more than one exam code. Where this is the case, you may retake only the assessed components of one of these exam codes. All retaken examinations will incur an additional fee. Please note that you need to retake the latest version of the course with updated course literature and assessment. Please make sure that you have familiarised yourself with the latest course description.

Additional information
Honor Code
Academic honesty and trust are important to all of us as individuals, and represent values that are encouraged and promoted by the honor code system. This is a most significant university tradition. Students are responsible for familiarizing themselves with the ideals of the honor code system, to which the faculty are also deeply committed.

Any violation of the honor code will be dealt with in accordance with BI’s procedures for cheating. These issues are a serious matter to everyone associated with the programs at BI and are at the heart of the honor code and academic integrity. If you have any questions about your responsibilities under the honor code, please ask.