Excerpt from course description

Organising for the Unexpected


This is a Master of Management course (15 ECTS), addressing Organising for the Unexpected, originally designed for the Norwegian Armed Forces and other organizations working with security issues. It constitutes a part of 5 in a 90 ESCTS Executive Master of Management program specializing in Security and Cultural Understanding.

All organizations deal to a larger or smaller extent with exceptions and unexpected events. Certain departments, organizations and even industries are in general dealing with tasks which best can be characterized as a series of unexpected events. Usually many aspects of the task resolution process unfold as expected - but those unique and surprising elements that throw the organization out of its routine create the challenges that must be managed. Organizing for the unexpected requires different arrangements than organizing for the expected. Organizations such as the defense, police force, emergency health care units, fire departments, and rescue operations in general, are just a few examples of organizations that operate on the extreme end of the expected - unexpected continuum.

Experiences from the 22nd of July, 2011 and the In Amenas incident are discussed as examples to clarify what organizing for the unexpected means. We follow the "macro to micro" logic from the first course. In this course, we are concerned with the organizing of operations under uncertainty. We will focus on the sharp end of the organization and discuss what organizational theory has to say about organizing for the unexpected. 

Course content

1st gathering: Classical and modern organization theories. We discuss fundamental issues of coordination and challenges in the handling of unexpected situations.

2nd gathering: Coordination and team decisions with subsequent feedback on decision making at the team- and individual level.

3rd gathering: Decision Theory; How to learn from experience and exercises. Training and feedback in uncertain and learning hostile environments.


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.