This course makes a broad distinction between organisational, inter-organisational and internationalcontexts. You will explore what is involved in collaborating effectively within and across such different contexts.
There are five study themes throughout this course, all of which are central to understanding how different individuals perceive and experience the different contexts in which they work. The themes are:
power, politics and trust
international management perspectives
the darker side of collaborative arrangements.
The course has seven units: an introductory unit; a unit on each of the five themes; and a final unit that provides a means of reflection and consolidation of the entire course.
The course gives you opportunities to learn from a whole variety of different resources including reading articles, studying case material, watching short video and audio clips and using other online media. Your learning will be structured through and around activities. These will involve you exploring your own situation, being introduced to that of other students on the course and critically analysing and applying relevant theory. You will study some of the material independently and some of it collaboratively with other students through participation in online forums, audio conferencing sessions and a collaborative wiki. (For the collaborative wiki you'll work jointly with 3-5 other students for each of Units 2 to 5, and this work will form part of the assessment.) This will ensure that you experience a level of collaboration and exposure to different contexts; different cultures; different ways of experiencing them; different ways of managing and being managed in them; and different interpretations of key themes.
By the end of the course, you should be able to interpret individuals’ experiences and perceptions – including your own – of different intra-, inter-organisational and international contexts that in turn should enable you to engage effectively with others across such different contexts. Through the exposure of course theories and concepts, you should be able to engage more effectively with a range of key challenges and issues in the workplace.
Unit 1: Working in organisational, inter-organisational and international contexts
In this introductory unit you will look at different contexts in which work, organisation and management take place and how these different contexts affect individuals’ perceptions and experience of working in them. There is a particular focus on collaboration and you will begin to identify some of the issues that need to be carefully managed if individuals are to collaborate effectively across organisational and cultural boundaries. You will be introduced to the theory of collaborative advantage which underpins the design of the course and which you will use to explore many of the challenges associated with collaboration in and across different contexts.
Unit 2: Managing aims
In this unit you will be studying aims at different levels – the individual, organisational and collaboration level. Through reflecting on your own experiences and that of other students and through analysing and applying theory, you will identify issues and challenges pertaining to the management of aims within and across different contexts. You will explore the role of aims as a motivator for individuals’ actions and behaviours; learn about advantages and difficulties associated with goal setting in organisations; the cultural influence on the aims that business leaders pursue; and the sheer ambiguity and complexity of aims in collaborative contexts.
Unit 3: Organisational power, politics and trust
Unit 3 focuses on the three interrelated themes of power, politics and trust. Through critical evaluation of relevant theories (such as those by Machiavelli, Lukes and Foucault on power and politics) and reflection on personal experiences, you will explore the importance of power, politics and trust in organisational interactions between individuals, teams and organisations in and across different contexts.
Unit 4: Cultural diversity
In Unit 4 you will be studying culture and how it is used as a concept to describe and explain the behaviour and actions of individuals within their context, be it an organisation, a nation, a region or a profession. You will discuss how culture impacts on individuals’ actions and behaviours within and across organisations and ultimately how this affects what organisations are attempting to do.
Unit 5: International management perspectives
In this unit you will study international management perspectives on different contexts relating to individuals, organisations and collaborations. You will focus, in particular, on the growth, nature and diversity of international collaboration in the context of globalisation. You will be introduced to a number of cases that show how collaboration can be different in the international context. You will therefore learn about the international context of collaborations and the kinds of implications they entail for both organisations and managers.
Unit 6: The darker side of collaborative arrangements
Corruption, politics, whistle-blowing, conflict and failures are covered in this unit on the darker side of collaboration. You will examine signs and symptoms of organisational problems and be introduced to ways of recognising problems in collaborative settings. You will explore cases of failed collaborations (such as the failure to work collaboratively in the wake of hurricane Katrina and the corruption surrounding Ikea’s entry into Russia), look at ways of tackling problems, and learn about strategies that individuals can pursue to help surface or resolve problems.
Unit 7: Paradoxes, tensions and dialectics
In the final unit, you will reflect on your learning journey throughout the course and consider how you can carry on using what you have learnt in future collaborative contexts. You will be introduced to concepts and theories that can help you address collaboration in practice. This will focus particularly on the ways in which tensions, paradoxes and dialectics can support your understanding about how to make things happen in collaborative contexts.
You will learn
After studying this course you should have a good understanding of:
themes pertinent to organising and managing within and between organisational and international contexts
issues pertinent to different organisational actors and stakeholders including aims, power and politics; cultural diversity; international diversity and the darker side of collaborating.
You should be able to:
synthesise, critically evaluate and challenge existing knowledge of inter-organisational relations (IOR) and organisational behaviour (OB)
identify and critically assess different perspectives on managing and organising
use conceptual frameworks to describe functions of organising and managing in and across organisational and international contexts
critically evaluate theories in relation to personal experiences, organisational, inter-organisational and international setting with which you are familiar and the relative standpoints of others within different contexts
articulate ideas and communicate effectively using appropriate IOR and OB concepts to specialist and non-specialist audiences.