Module title: Sociology of Organisations

SCQF level: 09:
SCQF credit value: 20.00
ECTS credit value: 10

Module code: SSC09106
Module leader: Gavin Maclean
School School of Applied Sciences
Subject area group: Social Science


2018/9, Trimester 1, Face-to-Face, Edinburgh Napier University
Occurrence: 001
Primary mode of delivery: Face-to-Face
Location of delivery: SIGHTHILL
Partner: Edinburgh Napier University
Member of staff responsible for delivering module: Gavin Maclean
Module Organiser:

Learning, Teaching and Assessment (LTA) Approach:
Each taught input uses a variety of resources to foster student engagement including in class exercises and group discussions. A reflective and critical approach to the subject matter is maintained through fostering empirically grounded theoretical approaches which can also draw on students own experience.

Formative Assessment:
Throughout the module students are encouraged to discuss key themes and issues through the medium of tutorial presentations and tutorial exercises to gauge their comprehension of the subject matter and to facilitate them in the practice of public speaking.

Students are offered tutor support in the form of guidance before their essays and a dedicated exam revision class. They are also given written and oral feedback on their coursework essays which they can then reflect on and utilise in preparation for the final examination.

Summative Assessment:
Summative assessment takes the form of a written essay of 2500 words on topics covered in the first half of the module. There is also a final CTE examination of 2 hour duration on topics covered in the second half of the module.

Student Activity (Notional Equivalent Study Hours (NESH))
Mode of activityLearning & Teaching ActivityNESH (Study Hours)
Face To Face Centrally Time Tabled Examination 2
Face To Face Lecture 24
Face To Face Tutorial 12
Independent Learning Guided independent study 162
Total Study Hours200
Expected Total Study Hours for Module200

Type of Assessment Weighting % LOs covered Week due Length in Hours/Words
Essay 50 1,2,3 & 6 9 HOURS= 0, WORDS= 2500
Centrally Time Tabled Examination 50 3,4,5 & 6 14/15 HOURS= 2, WORDS= 0
Component 1 subtotal: 50
Component 2 subtotal: 50
Module subtotal: 100

Description of module content:

The module takes both a grounded historical and sociological analysis of organisations. It begins by examining the nature of organisational society and the rise of systemic behaviour, addressing the strengths and weaknesses of the Orwellian discourse on Big Brother. We then proceed to analyse the contradictory nature of the capital accumulation process and explain the growth in public and private sector organisations within market capitalist societies before moving on to evaluate the managerial revolution and the rise of experts within organisations and our deferral to them. This leads into a detailed examination of bureaucracy and hierarchy within organisations and what types of systems work best in different organisational context’s. The significance of culture and kudos within an organisation is then examined in depth utilising a number of case study examples to illustrate how particular organisational cultures impact on staff morale, customer satisfaction and product/ service perceptions. We then proceed to explore the dynamics of organisational power and decision taking utilising a variety of theoretical perspectives starting with the Managerial, Functionalist and Symbolic Interactionist and moving on to the Weberian, Marxist and Postmodern/Discursive. One of the objectives of the module is to provide students with a sociological overview of the transitions in organisational forms, to understand these forms as contingent, and to consequently appreciate how this affects employment opportunities, lifestyles and living standards to this effect we proceed to examine the arguments of the Flexible Specialisation, Post-Fordist and Regulation theorists perspectives on organisational change. We then focus on the changing dynamics of organisations and how these impact specifically on gender opportunities in the labour market. In the last series of lectures we examine the nature of conflict, cooperation and consent within organisations before finally considering what alternative types of organisations there are and what their strengths and weaknesses might be.

Learning Outcomes for module:

Upon completion of this module you will be able to:
LO1: Identify the reasons behind the growth in private and public sector organisations, the managerial revolution and the rise of systems discourses within organisations.
LO2: Determine the significance of organisational culture in securing resources, personnel and customers.
LO3: Evaluate contrasting theoretical perspectives on organisational power, structure and decision taking.
LO4: Critically reflect upon the broader social processes shaping organisational design and employment opportunities.
LO5 Determine the causes of conflict and the sources of cooperation and consent within organisations.
LO6: Develop critical reading, writing and presentational skills.

Indicative References and Reading List - URL:

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