GRA 2261 Managing for Excellence - Generative Practices

GRA 2261 Managing for Excellence - Generative Practices

Course code: 
GRA 2261
Leadership and Organizational Behaviour
Course coordinator: 
Arne Carlsen
Course name in Norwegian: 
Managing for Excellence - Generative Practices
Product category: 
MSc in Business - Leadership and Change
2023 Spring
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

This is a course on how to manage for excellence in organizations through a dual attention to what makes people thrive and grow and what creates extraordinary performances. The course assumes that employee and group thriving is the key to organizational excellence and that we need to understand how work practice can be generative for both individuals and organizations. The course draws from a fairly new and exciting tradition of research and managerial practice called Positive Organizational Scholarship. It also borrows from recent developments within practice-based approaches to organizations, narrative psychology and the field of "design thinking". You will be challenged to discover and/or cultivate those generative practices in which you yourself can thrive, manage at your best and be valuable to others. In line with the focus on practice, the course will present rich examples from recent research along with new theory and historical overviews.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

The overall objective of the course is to provide knowledge and attitudes for how to cultivate generative practices and manage for excellence in organizations. Three types of learning outcomes are sought:

Students will get an overview of recent key contributions to generative practices, with an emphasis on empirical research and path-breaking new concepts.

Learning outcomes - Skills
  • Practical tools: Students will get familiar with examples of tools to enable generative practices in organizations, ranging from exercises of reflective best self-portrait to the making of physical space for creative work.
  • Personal development: The course will seek to practice what it preaches in terms of offering students possibilities to use theory and tools purposively to generate more learning and vitality in themselves and others.
General Competence

Students will be encouraged to maintain a critical approach and learn of research approaches that lend themselves particularly well to study and understand generative practices, with an emphasis on qualitative research, interventions and practice-based studies.

Course content

The course will focus on the five sets of generative practices:

  1. Practices of fostering quality and energy in interactions;
  2. Practices of experiential learning with a focus on learning through action experiements;
  3. Practices of meaning making and identity formation;
  4. Practices for making space for creative collaboration;
  5. Practices of positive organizational change.

The last of these generative practices, organizational inquiry, involves a strong methodological component, one that can be used when doing research or when working more hands on with development efforts.

Teaching and learning activities

This is a course that relies heavily on active participation in class and that presupposes thorough preparations for each session.

For each of the five main components of the course - the five sets of generative practices - the following learning strategies will be pursued:

  • Discussion of real life situations and cases, with small guest appearances by leading practitioners;
  • Discussion of articles, some of which are presented in plenary (by teacher), some in smaller groups (by students);
  • Brief overviews of theoretical roots (by teacher)
  • Discussion of tools, some of which are the subject of active experimentation by students with small written assignments to reflect on what was learned

Computer-based tools: It's learning/homepage, Mural, Padlet, Jamboard

Software tools
No specified computer-based tools are required.
Additional information

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.

This is a course with continuous assessment (several exam components) and one final exam code. Each exam component is graded by using points on a scale from 0-100. The components will be weighted together according to the information in the course description in order to calculate the final letter grade for the examination code (course). Students who fail to participate in one/some/all exam elements will get a lower grade or may fail the course. You will find detailed information about the point system and the cut off points with reference to the letter grades when the course starts.

At resit, all exam components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course.


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 specific prerequisites and will assume that students have followed normal study progression. For double degree and exchange students, please note that equivalent courses are accepted.


Deviations in teaching and exams may occur if external conditions or unforeseen events call for this.

Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Class participation
Participation and in-class activities
Exam code: 
GRA 22611
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Exam category: 
Form of assessment: 
Written submission
Group/Individual (1 - 2)
72 Hour(s)
Home examination
Exam code: 
GRA 22611
Grading scale: 
Point scale leading to ECTS letter grade
All components must, as a main rule, be retaken during next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Continuous assessment
Grading scale: 
Total weight: 
Student workload
30 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
60 Hour(s)
16 Hour(s)
Seminar groups
24 Hour(s)
30 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 6 ECTS credits corresponds to a workload of at least 160 hours.