Excerpt from course description

Advanced Topics in Organisation Science


This course provides the students with an in-depth understanding of organizations. Organizations are the primary tool modern society uses to innovate and resolve complex tasks. Understanding how to organize to resolve the challenges organizations encounter is the main focus of this course. The first part of the course uses Scott and Davi's book, "Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural and Open System Perspectives" (2017), to chronologically review key contributions to organization theory. Another objective is to provide students with a background to understand the changes in organizational structures as a response to increasing environmental complexity, which we observe in both the private and public sectors. Therefore, the last part of the course is dedicated to understanding organizing in the face of the unexpected. Based on classic and recent scientific articles, we discuss how organizations can handle the unexpected. The course provides advanced knowledge into how organizations deal with deviations from the expected; specifically, the course is concerned with how deviations from routines and plans are handled. We discuss classic and new theories of coordination within organizations and teams to understand how organizations can better deal with "wicked" environments.

Course content

  • Introduction, Organisations as rational, natural & open systems
  • Organizations as Rational systems
  • Organizations as Natural systems
  • Organizations as Open Systems
  • Designing Organisations & Combining Perspectives
  • Technology & Structure: Coordination & Routines
  • Goals, Power & Control
  • Alternative coordination mechanisms in organizations & teams. Mental models in teams
  • Routines as a source of flexibility and Change: Improvisation and consequences for communication demands
  • Normal accidents & High-reliability Organizations


This is an excerpt from the complete course description for the course. If you are an active student at BI, you can find the complete course descriptions with information on eg. learning goals, learning process, curriculum and exam at portal.bi.no. We reserve the right to make changes to this description.