Understanding Organisations

Institute of Local Government Studies, School of Government and Society

College of Social Sciences


Code 17531

Level of study Third/Final year

Credit value 20

Semester 1

Module description

This module is concerned with understanding the theory and practice of organisational analysis and organisational change. The module reviews different ways of looking at organisations and diagnosing organisational problems. Particular attention is given to the rational, political and cultural models of organisation, all of which have a particular relevance to the public sector and which provide a framework for understanding the changes that have occurred in government and the public sector over the last twenty years. The dissolution of organisational boundaries and the rise of partnership and multi-agency working are placed in the context of how and why organisations evolve. Although organisational change is often driven by external forces, it is also initiated, guided and influenced by individuals and groups within the organisation.

The module explores the literature on strategic management from the point of view of strategy as self-determined organisational change. The practical aspects of strategy design and implementation are considered, in particular the choice between competitive and collaborative, radical and incremental approaches. Finally the module uses the case-study method to bring together the themes of the module: diagnosis of organisational problems, identification of pressures for change, selection of strategic aim, design of implementation strategy.