Course description

Managing for Excellence - Generative Practices


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.

Course content

The course will focus on the five sets of generative practices:
1. Practices of high-quality connections and energizing interactions;
2. Practices of experiential learning with a focus on designing experiments;
3. Practices for making space productive in collaboration and team mobilization;
4. Practices of meaning making and identity formation;
5. Practices of organizational inquiry with emphasis on appreciation and small interventions.

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.

Learning outcome 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.

Exam organisation

  • Class participation: 30%
  • Home exam: 30%
  • Written assignment: 40%