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Organisational Design, Culture and Behaviour


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies and BA Urban Studies programmes.


As sociologist Etzioni (1964) phrased it once: “We are born in organisations, educated by organisations, and most of us spend much of our lives working for organisations. Whatever our roles in society are: entrepreneur, employer, employee, manager, customer, stockholder, elected official, voter, political activist, teacher, student, [intern], organisations (will) impact a great many aspects of our lives.”

The purpose of this course is therefore to enrich students’ understanding of organisational life. This is done by building on two management disciplines: organisation theory and organisational behaviour.

Organisation Theory (OT) draws on the sciences, the humanities, and the arts, and covers concepts such as design, culture, structure and congruency with the external environment. Organisational Behaviour (OB) draws on psychology and sociology, and covers concepts such as group development, leadership and communication. As will be shown, organisational behaviour is embedded in the particularities of time and society and in the dynamics of the local and global.

In this course, students will develop skills to analyse the structure and culture of organisations. They will be able to understand the implications of organisational design for managers, employees and the wider society. This ability is useful for selecting employers, and preparing for future workplaces.

Students will apply their academic knowledge from the course in practice through two case studies on organisations. During the course, these case studies are done together with a writing team while being an outsider to the organisation under study. Later on during internship, these cases are written individually only now being an insider to the own workplace. Former interns have indicated that this application of the knowledge to their everyday context, makes the theory and concepts “come to life”.

The course also teaches students tools to influence group development, and to reflect on accountability, collective agreements, and teamwork, thereby expanding collaborative skills before going on an internship. Classes contain lectures, case writing team check-ins as well as valuable internship preparation activities such as meeting Humanities Career Services, the internship coaches, and former interns to ask questions and benefit from their experiences and insights.

Throughout the course, students may find links to familiar themes within their study programme, however the goal is to acquire new academic knowledge. A unique aspect is learning to understand and frame organisational phenomena through two different theoretical lenses (i.e. traditional/managerialist and critical).

By preparing online modules before joining lectures, students will deepen their understanding and ensure a valuable learning experience. Students will see key theories in action in their case studies, as they apply knowledge from the course onto organisations selected as a team, and later on onto their internship organisation for making sense of their specific workplace and dynamics.

Through all its activities (e.g. classes, modules, case studies) this course is dedicated to teaching students to bridge academia and practice fruitfully, and to support their socialisation and well-being in their future places of work.

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • teach you to grasp the specific culture and structure of an organisation early on and to be able to socialise more quickly into a workplace and to make sound contributions as intern;

  • develop your knowledge on two significant theoretical perspectives in organisation theory and behavior (traditional and critical), and how to think about organisational phenomena from the perspectives of managers, employees and the wider society;

  • build your ability to analyse and evaluate the key concepts of organisational structure or organisational culture through case studies with policy recommendations;

  • to build your knowledge on group development and grow your teamwork competencies (e.g. accountability, responsibility, empathy in groupwork, and professional communication with peers, by supporting the collectively agreed norms, values and goals you set in collaboration with your writing team);

  • to introduce you to data collection and analysis of interviews, observations and secondary data;

  • introduce you to the challenges and opportunities of the contemporary world as encountered by (internship) organisations.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


This course consists of twelve online class sessions, and a small set of online modules. To benefit all students should actively participate in online (and any offline) components of the course. All students should contribute according to their team agreement, engage in professional communication with peers, and practise accountability, responsibility and empathy in their writing team collaborations. This ensures growth through collaboration within teams and as individuals preparing to enter and thrive in their future workplaces.

Assessment method

Assessment method and Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Case Study I 20%
Case Study II 30%
Final Exam 50%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of both Case Study Grades, and Final Exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the Case Study Grades and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), there is a possibility of retaking the exam, replacing both the Final Exam grade. No resit for the Case Studies is possible.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2022 – 2023.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.

Reading list

Selected chapters from core book: Work and Organizational Behaviour (4th Edition) by John Bratton.


  • Enrolment through My Studymap for the lecture is mandatory.



  • This course must be passed in the Spring semester prior to the internship in the elective credits

  • This course can also be taken by students interested in learning about management and organisation, such as those aiming for a Master in Management, Business Administration or Public Administration, they may choose to follow the course as part of their extra-curricular space.