Understanding Organisations: Theory & Practice



You have to write an Essay using two organizational theories to analyse an organization of your choice. The central idea is to demonstrate your understanding of organizational theories by applying them to a concrete context and, at the same time, develop an appreciation of the value and of the limitations of these theories and understand the need for personal discernment and judgement in evaluating the differences and variations in those perspectives. In other words, we need you to develop an understanding of the complex nature of organisations and related management issues – i.e. as seen from multiple but often contested perspectives – for example, from the views of executives, middle and front-line management, shareholders, employees, and broader community. The purpose is to recognise diverse and contested complexity in practical context, i.e. through the analysis of your chosen organisation (irrespective of size, location or sector). You are particularly recommended to choose an organization that is in a state of crisis (in the
etymological sense of ‘decisive moment’). For instance, it could be an organization that is considered spectacularly successful; or an organization that was once thriving and it is now on the verge of bankruptcy; an organization that has been involved in some corporate scandal or that has come under  public scrutiny; an organization that is undergoing a dramatic transformation; an organization with
unusual structure/practices etc. Focusing on this issue/challenge you can apply an appropriate theory to ‘make sense’ of the situation, shedding light on its causes and possible consequences, also reflecting on what can be done about it. Recommended essay structure
• Introduce the topic of your essay, your case organisation (very briefly) and outline the major themes you will be discussing (approx. 150 words)
• Briefly describe your chosen organisation via available facts (approx.300 words):
✓ Industry (e.g. service, manufacturing) and location(s) (local; international)
✓ Sector (business, not for profit enterprise, government agency)
✓ Number of employees
✓ Ownership and Management structure (e.g. family based, publicly owned – shares,
not for profit)
✓ How long this organisation has existed/current level of success or failure
✓ What is the key issue or characteristic that makes this organization interesting (i.e.
why did you choose it)?
• Select two Organisation Theory frames/lenses discussed in the lectures/tutorials before the
break. Why did you choose these lens? (approx.. 250 words).
• Summarise the relevance of TWO seminal or highly influential papers within EACH of the Organisational Theories you have nominated (approx. 400 words). That is, in about 400 words summarise key points of four major papers that have helped shape your views about these Organisation Theories. To identify these papers, start with the seminal papers presented by Miles, 2012 and/or the other suggested textbooks for each of your chosen lens/frames; you can also perform a search using Google scholar and considering highly cited papers (i.e. with more than 500 citations) discussing these theories. That will take you into the UTS library data bases and or (but ideally) a conversation with a librarian about how to source specific reference works. If you are still unsure about the relevance/importance of a source, contact your tutor or the subject coordinator for further advice
21512 Understanding Organisations: Theory & Practice AUT2017 ]

Assignment 1 – Briefing sheet
• NOW: What management and/or organisation issues do these two theories (you’ve
selected) now help you to see? Please describe some of those issues. (approx. 500 words)
• What are the limitations of each of the Organisation/Social theories you’ve selected in
illuminating key organisation issues? (approx. 200 words)
• Very briefly anticipate differences in perspectives associated with those selected theories?
In other words, can you identify/of if not, imagine, how other stakeholders might describe
the management and/or organisation issues they see with this same organisation? (200
• As a manager/leader (in development) what kinds of personal knowledge and capability do
you imagine will be needed to address these differences? This is an open ended invitation to
explore – there are no set texts for this question (approx. 200 words). Conclude your essay
with a brief overview of how the theories you selected apply to your case organisation, and
the lessons
• that can be taken from this for managers, and for yourself (approx. 150 words)
• All of the above woven into a single (academically persuasive) essay (with reader-friendly
• Add Works Cited. (word count for this section not included)

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