Guide to this Assignment
The following points are to help you to understand and complete your assignment:
1. The essay question asks you to explain how a multiple perspective approach assists us in achieving a more comprehensive understanding of complex organisational phenomena. In your essay you must provide an explanation and fully answer the question.
2. In answering the question students need to demonstrate (1) their understanding of the 3 perspectives-modernist, symbolic-interpretive and post-modern and (2) how these perspectives have contributed to different views, ideas and perceptions about organisations. This is not an essay asking students to consider management practices or styles of management. It is asking you to focus on ‘ways of seeing’ and thinking about the organisation (i.e. perspectives of the organisation). Think of yourself as an observer (rather than manager) of organisations and you have three pairs of glasses each providing you the ability to see the organisation differently. What would you ‘see’ with the modernist glasses? What would you see with the symbolic-interpretive glasses? What would you see with the postmodern glasses?
3. It is expected that students will be able to compare and contrast these perspectives as part of this exercise and how the perspectives assists us assist us in achieving a more comprehensive understanding of complex organisational phenomena. These comparisons are to be made by considering how the different perspectives consider a particular aspect of an organisation. Your choices are (1)organisational structure, (2)physical structure of organisations, (3)culture within organisations and/or power within organisations. You may choose one or more than one of these to discuss in your essay. In answering the question you may also want to consider differences at the ontological and epistemological levels or the different sorts of assumptions made by each perspective about organisations. The key is to demonstrate how these perspectives contribute to different ways to think about organisations and aspect of organisations.
4. It is expected that students will engage with all three perspectives and must demonstrate an understanding of all three perspectives.
5. Students must make use of at least 6 references one of which must be the textbook.
6. Before you begin to look for additional reading you should first acquire a good understanding of the three perspectives through the discussions about these perspectives found throughout the textbook. Once you acquire this understanding you will then begin to recognise these perspectives in the articles you come beyond the textbook. You can do this by looking for key concepts or theories used by the different perspectives. For example, if you see an article referring to ‘deconstruction’ or ‘self-surveillance’ you can be pretty sure it is coming from a postmodern perspective. If you come across articles using general system’s theory or structural contingency theory you can be pretty confident that these are articles drawing upon modernist ideas. You can then draw upon and talk about this reading in your essays.
7. Students can make use of the Web but they need to make use of reliable sources- Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information. I encourage you to make use of journal articles which can be found via a range of library databases. I suggest you use Expanded Academic ASAP (Gale) database which is located through the Databases section of the library website. This database allows you to search a range of journals using keywords. Some of the keywords you should consider are: organisational culture, power in organisations, organisational change, organisations and modernism, organisations and symbolic interpretivism, organisations and postmodernism, etc. You will find an enormous amount of relevant literature. You can also do author searches which can be helpful to locate recent articles by scholars mentioned in the textbook. I also encourage you to make use of the references and further reading suggested by the textbook at the end of each chapter. ‘Citation Linker’ found through the library website is a useful tool to locate some of the journal articles mentioned in the textbook. There is a lot of information out there regarding the topic.
8. Student’s should look at to the assessment sheet found in the course guide. It will give you a feel for the sorts of things we will be assessing.
9. Student’s should also look at the other part of the course guide which explains the differences between the different marks-i.e. what separates a ‘P’ from a ‘C’.
Aims of the assignment
The aims of this assignment are for you to:
• develop your understanding of the nature of organisation theory;
• develop your understanding of different theoretical approaches and how they can be applied to understand different aspects of an organisation.
• gain skills in the written presentation of an argument, including the ways in which scholars incorporate and acknowledge the ideas of other writers.
Present your argument in an essay format. You may use examples to support your argument.
Students will be expected to use the Library and other resources such as the World Wide Web to access relevant information.
Criteria for assessment
For this assignment your essay will be assessed on the extent to which it demonstrates:
• an accurate comprehension of the three perspectives;
• in-depth engagement with academic sources relevant to the topic; and
• an ability to write a clear and compelling, well-presented and properly referenced argument.
‘Ch.1. Business research strategies’. In Bryman, Alan and Bell, Emma. (2003) Business research methods, (p. 3-30). Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press.
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