1. The history of organizations is replete with ideas from many cultures and time periods. Most recently, the ideas behind organizational theories have become the subject of intense scholarly research and study, independent of practitioners in religious, political, or economic arenas, as had occurred in previous time periods. Select one major organizational theory topic from our 630 list and present a brief history of the idea. Explain how it is relevant to you in your profession, career, or place of employment. This may be your hedgehog specialty topic or another one from our list (See your copy of the LPS or the course syllabus for the list.).
2. The priorities of organizations are important, and organizational theory defines the methods that organizations should use to determine and define their priorities and communicate them to stakeholders. Please briefly describe the “priorities” of an organization with which you are familiar. These priorities are the reason(s) that the organization exists and it (they) help determine the structure of the organization. Describe how the highest priorities are communicated internally and externally. Would everyone who is asked about the organization agree with you on the top priorities of the organization? If so, why? If not, then why not? Do not OVERTHINK this question!
3. The lifecycle of organizations is something not generally understood very well beyond organizational theorists. Often, the length of life cycle stages is influenced by the organizational (industry) sector to which the organization belongs. Briefly describe and analyze the industry sector of an organization with which you are familiar. Specifically describe the factors that you believe may influence the periodicity of its stages. Can you say anything about its future given your analysis of the industry in which the organization belongs?
4. Some theorists believe that the appropriate structure for organizations is paramount and necessary for success. Others believe that organizational culture is the primary factor in achieving organizational goals. Please explain and reconcile to the best of your ability perspectives on the importance of organizational structure and culture. Back up your perspectives with support from established organizational theorists.
5. Some managers believe that following the law is all that is required to keep their organizations doing things the right way. Others believe that doing the right things must be accompanied by doing things the right way. What do organizational theorists have to say about how organizations should behave? Briefly describe what you find out. What do you think? Have you ever had to make this type of decision on the job? What happened?
6. Global leadership is not only acted out on a global stage. It can happen right in your own local organization or community. Describe how anyone in any organization (such as the one you might work in and write about) can demonstrate “global” leadership and how research findings about national and regional cultures could contribute.
7. Some theorists might posit that efficiency and effectiveness are a “zero sum game” in all organizations. A zero sum game is where any gain in either efficiency or effectiveness results in a precisely equivalent loss to the other. For example, adding another staff line to the organization is designed to make the organization more effective. However, the cost of the new staff member increases costs and therefore makes the organization less efficient. Please support or refute this proposition and describe how you might prove your position using methods supported by organizational theories of efficiency or effectiveness.
8. We have used at least three research techniques in the first six weeks of MGMT 630: data collection (our leadership (LPS) survey for example); case studies (including your HW#1 case); and literature review of peer reviewed research to support your essay (HW#2). Please select two of these research techniques and compare and contrast them in terms of their potential effectiveness for helping you in your organization (or one that you have been associated with), as you envision yourself in the workplace today and in the future.
9. When organizational theorists write about technology systems they rarely mean information technology per se. Instead, they are usually considering a broader definition that includes human skills, organizational processes, and data (or information), as well as tools (such as machines or software). Do a little searching. Which of these components do organizational theorists generally view as the most significant challenges to change management? Tell us what you find. How does that compare with your experience about change management?
10. Questions can be a great catalyst for human progress and organizational development. Using your special (hedgehog) leadership topic, imagine three questions that a naïve colleague might ask you about the topic if they found out that you were studying it. Write them down here. Now imagine three questions that a sophisticated fellow theorist from MGMT 630 might ask. Write down these questions as well. Which of the six questions will you address in your research report? Why do you plan to include them?