Module Details

BE865-7-SP-CO: People And Organisations

Year: 2016/17
Department: Essex Business School
Essex credit: 10
ECTS credit: 5
Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students: No
Full Year Module Available to Study Abroad / Exchange Students for a Single Term: No
Outside Option: No

Teaching Staff: Christina Volkmann
Contact details: C. Volkmann email: crvolk

Module is taught during the following terms
Autumn Spring Summer

Module Description


This module is designed to encourage students to reflect critically upon the nature of organizations, the nature of management and upon their practices as managerial practitioners. In particular the module encourages students to reconsider many of the key aspects of management and organization that are, so often, taken-for-granted and in so doing provides students with an understanding of core debates that shape the management of people in organizations. The module invites participants to reflect upon the assumptions that shape their own managerial practice.


The main aim of the module is to enable students to reflect critically upon the assumptions, practices and processes that shape everyday interactions of people and organizations.


On successful completion of the module, students should be able to:

Demonstrate a full understanding of the importance of people in the organizational context.
Discuss management and managerial work from a variety of perspectives.
Reflect critically on their managerial practice in the light of critical research on behaviour in organizations.


The module will be delivered through five integrative topic areas covering the following:

Introduction to Organizational Behaviour and its relation to management.
Aspects of Organizational Culture.
Decision-making by individuals and in groups.
Leadership (incl. the aspect of Ethics).
Conflict in the organizational context.


The following learning and teaching methods will be used to inform the pedagogic structure of the module:

Class exercises
In-class discussions
Signposting to other support

The lectures will be developed around the key concepts as mentioned in the indicative module content and will use a range of live examples and cases from business practice to demonstrate the application of theoretical concepts.

Class exercises will be used to introduce particular topics e.g., an exercise on decision-making or to invite students to reflect on their own practice, e.g. when applying the Vroom-Yetton model. It is of particular importance here to provide students with the opportunity to develop critical and practical skills.

As students on our MBA come with work experience, in class discussions on a variety of materials will help the student to both integrate and broaden their learning. Students are encouraged to participate actively in these discussions.

Learning and Teaching Methods

Lectures, Seminars, Analysis and discussion of case studies, Analysis and discussion of journal articles, Class exercises, Group work, Tutorials, Signposting to other support.


100 per cent Coursework Mark


Assessment for this module is 100% coursework. Specifically, students will be required to produce an individual 3500 word report analysing a contemporary organisational/ management issue as reported in the business press or quality media (to be agreed with module tutors in advance). This assignment will allow students to apply knowledge and understanding gained across the module in order to evaluate an instance of current business practice and produce appropriate recommendations

Other information

COMPULSORY module. This module will be taught over one full day per week, during a 5-week teaching block (Weeks: 16-20).


  • Essential reading:
  • Selected Chapters from:
  • 1. Knights D and Willmott H (eds) (2007) Introducing Organisational Behaviour and Management, London: Prentice-Hall.
  • 2. Thompson P and McHugh D (2009) Work Organizations: A Critical Approach, Basingstoke: MacMillan.
  • 3. Linstead S, Fulop L and Lilley S (eds) (2009) Management and Organization: A Critical Text, Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan.
  • In addition, weekly journal article readings will be given as the basis for class work.
  • Recommended reading:
  • Selected chapters from
  • 1. Noon M and Blyton P (2007) The Realities of Work: Experiencing Work and Employment in Contemporary Society, Basingstoke: Palgrave-MacMillan.
  • 2. Watson T (2006) Organising and Managing Work, London: FT-Prentice Hall.
  • 3. Gabriel Y, Fineman S and Sims D (2000) Organizing and Organizations, London: Sage.
  • 4. Terkel S (1974) Working: People talk about what they do all day and how they feel about what they do, New York, NY: The New Press.
  • 5. Martin J (1992) Cultures in Organizations: Three Perspectives, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 6. Grint K (1997) Fuzzy Management: Contemporary Ideas at Work, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • 7. Watson T J (2001) In Search of Management: Culture, Chaos and Control in Managerial Work, London: Thomson International.
  • 8. Khurana R (2007) From Higher Aims to Hired Hands: The social transformation of American Business Schools and the unfulfilled promise of management as a profession, Princeton NJ: Princeton University Press.
  • Students are encouraged to read:
  • 1. The Financial Times
  • 2. The Guardian

Further information