HR4043 - Organisational Behaviour and Practice

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What will I learn on this module?

This is a 20-credit semester-based module. In this module you are introduced to a variety of approaches to organisational analysis, enabling you to challenge and critique, both organisational practice, and the theories, models and frameworks underpinning management, business and organisation. Mainstream views of organisational behaviour and practice are introduced, with progression to exploring alternative ways of ‘seeing’ organisation and organizing. This approach develops your critical thinking and draws on contemporary research to explore alternative ways of organizing. The module introduces you to the most established paradigm perspective on organisation theory (Burrell and Morgan’s (1985)), and thus allows an exploration of organisation behaviour and practice through the lens of mainstream and critical organisation theory on following topics:

• Culture and organisation
• Structure
• Innovation, change, and management
• Gender
• Power and control
• Teams and groups
• Ethics

How will I learn on this module?

Critical reflection on knowledge, experience and practice underpins the learning and teaching philosophy along with the explicit development of competence. This is key to your learning on the module. The module is research-oriented in that the curriculum emphasises teaching processes of knowledge construction in the field of Organisation Behaviour and Practice. The lectures, seminars and online resources are designed with an emphasis on research-based learning and problem solving skills. The content will be based on a core textbook (Knights, D. & Wilmott, H. (Eds) (2012). Introducing Organisational Behaviour and Management, Hampshire: Cengage.) as well as guided reading consisting of academic and practitioner research papers, academic books, case studies and company reports.

You will gain a deeper understanding of organisation behaviour and practice through employment of a number of learning tools incorporated within the module structure:

• The module is supported by a teaching and learning plan which outlines the formal sessions, together with the tutor-directed study and independent reading.
• Weekly one-hour lectures will provide you with a theoretical underpinning of the module content by drawing on the most influential research on organisational behaviour, and will familiarise you with the major debates in the field. The lectures draw on recent organisation research challenging the conventional views of organisation theory, and will encourage you to look into the implications of such critical views for practice. An interactive approach to lecture sessions will draw upon the directed learning undertaken and your own experiences.
• Weekly two-hour seminars facilitate the application of theory to ‘real-life’ situations, critically analysing and making recommendations for appropriate ways forward for the individual/organisation. Seminar activities will encourage independent learning, research-based inquiry and problem solving through interactive learning methods e.g. simulations, role plays, and debates. Throughout, the emphasis will be on high levels of participation, both individually and within small groups or teams.
• Directed learning will centre upon the participants identifying and pursuing areas of interest in relation to the subject area or by providing deeper/broader knowledge and understanding of the subject through a range of learning activities that might include extended reading, reflection, research etc.

You will receive formative feedback and guidance on how to start and complete your assignment (e.g. how to conduct research, analysis and final presentation of your assignment) through lectures, seminars and online learning resources (e.g. e-Learning Portal).

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Support will be provided to you by:
• A member of academic staff leading the module and a set of subject experts leading the lecture inputs on organisation behaviour and practice and the seven key topics. Support will be provided by members of teaching team during scheduled lectures and seminars and by appointments during their office hours
• Peers during seminar activities and teamwork
• Technology-enabled learning resources such as e-Learning Portal which provides detailed guidance on teaching and learning plan, lecture and seminar content, assessment, electronic reading list (providing direct links to textbooks, journal and conference papers).

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at:
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team –

What will I be expected to achieve?

Knowledge & Understanding:
• Demonstrate an understanding of the impact of organisational behaviour contemporary research on the business and management community. [MLO1]
• Understand and critically analyse contemporary organisations and professional practices. [MLO2]

Intellectual / Professional skills & abilities:
• Acquire, interpret and apply knowledge of international business, management and organisations. [MLO3]

Personal Values Attributes (Global / Cultural awareness, Ethics, Curiosity) (PVA):
• Develop critical awareness of cultural and ethical contexts in organisations. [MLO4]

How will I be assessed?

The module assessment consists of two elements:

1) A research poster and presentation to be submitted/presented in week 10 of our module – 20% (MLO1, 3, 4)

You will design a research poster that supports a short presentation to be given to your seminar group. The poster and presentation will provide an overview of your assignment focus; providing details on:

• the chosen organisation
• your paradigm
• topic/s chosen
• organisational behaviour/practices
• list of academic references

You will receive feedback on this from your tutor, with a mark given, which will account for 15% of your final mark. Peer feedback will account for a further 5% of your mark.

2) A 3000 word essay which analyses a case organisation using one, or a maximum of two of the topics covered in the module, chosen by the student – 80% (MLO1-4)

Choose an organisation with which you are familiar to answer the following question:
How can organisation theory be used to analyse selected behaviours and practices of (your chosen) organisation?





Module abstract

The module provides a comprehensive guide to the established paradigms of organisation theory i.e. functionalist, interpretivist, radical humanist and radical structuralist, and offers practical guidance to application of these theoretical perspectives for understanding behaviours and practices in organisations.

It highlights the implications of contrasting theoretical perspectives in practice, and further explores the latest developments in organisational practice. Through challenging conventional understanding of organisational behaviour, the module enables you to critically approach organisations as a field of theory and practice, and to construct your own knowledge and understanding of ‘management’. It helps you to situate yourself within this field as critical thinkers, and as capable and reflective practitioners. As such the module contributes to your enhanced employability, and informed employment decision making.

Course info

Credits 20

Level of Study Postgraduate

Mode of Study 2 years full-time (with study abroad in second year)
2 other options available

Department Newcastle Business School

Location Law and NBS Building, City Campus East

City Newcastle

Start September 2019

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