Undetstanding Organizations

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MMM262 Understanding Organisations Trimester 3, 2012 Assignment Details Case Analysis with Progress Report Learning Objectives This assessment offers opportunities for you to: 1. Critically evaluate organisational issues from multiple perspectives; 2. Conduct industry-relevant analysis of modern, symbolic and postmodern concepts of organisational theory; 3. Identify the assumptions underpinning organisational theory and explain the strengths and limitations that flow from these. Assessment Overview Tasks: 1. Analyse a chosen case organisation using modern, symbolic-interpretive, and post modern perspectives. 2. Submit a progress report as part of the assignment. Due Dates: 11.59pm) Case Analysis (report) Sunday 13 January 2013 (by 11.59pm) Marks: 40% of total marks (5 marks for the progress report and 35 marks for the case analysis) Word limit: Case Analysis = 3000 words +/-10% (plus cover page and reference list) Progress Report = 100-200 words Progress Report Monday 3 December 2012 (by

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Note: You have the option to work as an individual or with a group on this assignment. For a group, there may be either 2 or 3 members per group. Purpose and Background The purpose of the assignment is for you to analyse an organisation of your choice using the three main perspectives of this course; modern, symbolic-interpretive, and postmodern.

How to get started To start, select an organisation that you are interested in analysing. You need to be able to identify and verify sufficient details about the organization for the markers so that you can link key facts of the case to organisational theories in this course. An organisation with lots of published detail in business press, on their website, and in their annual reports will be the best option for you to choose. Next, recall the definitions of each organisational perspective:

Modernist: rooted in the Enlightenment idea that progress is based on scientific knowledge and rationality (page 36), and can be seen in three main theories: • General Systems Theory (pages 37-39): we can explain scientific and social phenomena by viewing them as systems governed by laws and principles. Socio-Technical Systems Theory (pages 40 -41): an offshoot of General Systems theory that includes human behaviour in the system. Contingency Theory (page 41): which states there is no one best way to organise, rather that the most appropriate way in a given situation will depend upon particular circumstances or contingencies.

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Symbolic-Interpretive: emerged in response to some of the shortcomings of the modernism perspective. Key factors include: • Anthropologists began to question whether we could accurately represent the culture of other people when we interpret observations and data through our own cultural lens. They also claimed that to interpret other’s actions means that we impose our own views. There is no one understanding because meanings and social realities are created by people as they interact (social construction theory, pages 43-44). So we need to try to understand how ‘natives’ (e.g., organisational members) shape their world and understand it in different ways (multiple interpretations). The social/organisational world is not objective but becomes ‘objectified’ – seemingly real or taken-for-granted as real We ‘enact’ or construct our world as we act/interact and try to make sense of our experience (Weick’s sensemaking theory, pages 44-45). Symbols are part of the process of making meaning (Institutional theory, pages 45-46). We need to understand and study how we create our world and meanings and also how we generate knowledge about our world (reflexivity, pages 46–47).

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The Postmodern perspective: draws heavily on a philosophical understanding. Postmodernists shun simplification. Postmodernists often look either at: 1. • • 2. Social and cultural conditions There is no fixed, external social reality but images and simulacra/simulations. The...
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