Teaching OS

Department of Sociology, Yerevan State University

Lecture: Organizational Sociology (fall term 2010).

Instructor: Assoc. Prof. Dr. Steffen Roth


On the origins of organizational sociology: Organizations as bureaucracies (Lecture 1)

  • O’Neill, John (1986) ‘The Disciplinary Society: From Weber to Foucault’, The British Journal of Sociology, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp. 42-60 (download).
  • Weber, Max (1947) The Theory of Social and Economic Organization, Translated by A. M. Henderson & Talcott Parsons, New York, The Free Press.
  • Warner, Malcolm (2007) ‘Kafka, Weber and organization theory’, Human Relations, Vol. 60, No. 7, pp. 1019-1038 (download).
  • Jutta Allmendinger und Thomas Hinz (2002) ‘Perspektiven der Organisationssoziologie’, Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Sonderheft 42, pp. 9-28.


On getting humans ‘into’ organization: Scientific management and human relations (Lecture 2)

  • Mayntz, Renate (1965) ‘The Study of Organizations’, Current Sociology, Vol. 13, No. 3, pp.  95-119 (download).
  • Taylor, Frederick W. (2006) The principles of scientific management, New York, Cosimo (Reprint of the original edition of: London: Harper & Brothers, 1911).
  • Bruce, Kyle (2006) ‘Henry S. Dennison, Elton Mayo, and Human Relations historiography’, Management and Organizational History, Vol. 1, No. 2, pp. 177-199 (link).


Organization and person: Challenging the total organization (Seminar 1)

Questions to be discussed:

  • What does Weber mean by claiming bureaucracies were iron cages?
  • What is the ‘total institution’? What examples and cases come to our mind?
  • Is the Tayloristic organization a total institution? Do more ‘holistic’ models of organization lead to more or to less ‘total’ organizations?


On the origins of organization: Organization and trans-action (Lecture 3)

  • Coleman, James (1974) Power and the structure of society, New York, Norton and Company (provided by professor).
  • Schimank, Uwe (2002) ‘Actor Constellations – Corporate Actors – Systems Theory’, Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Sonderheft 42, pp. 29-54.
  • Wittek, Rafael and Andreas Flache (2002) ‘Rational Choice and Organizational Theory’, Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Sonderheft 42, pp. 55-87.


On the boundaries of organization: Organizations and networks (Lecture 4)

  • Roth, Steffen (2008) ‘Open innovation across the prosperity gap. An essay on brining the Caucasus into the European innovation society’, International Black Sea University Journal, Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 5-20 (download).
  • Jansen, Dorothea (2002) ‘Network Approaches in Organizational Analysis’, Kölner Zeitschrift für Soziologie und Sozialpsychologie, Sonderheft 42, pp. 88-118.
  • Castells, Manuel (1996) The Rise of the Network Society, The Information Age: Economy, Society and Culture Vol. I, Cambridge, MA; Oxford, UK, Blackwell.

Organization and interaction: Adjusting the boundaries of organization (Seminar 2)

Questions to be discussed:

  • What reason(s) have organizations been invented for?
  • What impact did network theory on previous concepts of organizational boundaries?
  • Do organizations consist of their members?

On the functions of organization: Organizations as systems of decision (Lectures 5 and 6)

  • Seidl, David (2006) ‘Organizations as Distinction Generating and Processing Systems: Niklas Luhmann’s Contribution to Organization Studies’, Organization, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 9-35 (download).
  • Hernes, Tor, and Tore Bakken (2003) ‘Implications of Self-Reference: Niklas Luhmann’s Autopoiesis and Organization Theory’, Organization Studies, Vol. 24, No. 9, pp. 1511-1535 (download).
  • Hernes, Tor and Tore Bakken (2003) Autopoietic Organization Theory: Drawing on Niklas Luhmann’s Social System Perspective, Copenhagen, Copenhagen Business School Press.
  • Luhmann, Niklas (1964) Funktion und Folgen formaler Organisation (Functions and impacts of formal organization), Berlin, Dunker und Humboldt.
  • Luhmann, Niklas (2000) Organisation und Entscheidung (Organization and Decision), Opladen, Westdeutscher Verlag.


Organization and decision: Programming communication (Seminar 3)

Questions to be discussed:

  • How are organizational boundaries maintained by according to Luhmann?
  • What do organizations consist of according to Luhmann?
  • What is an organization program?


On the problem of organization: Organization and management (Lecture 7)

  • Mayr, Katharina and Jasmin Siri (2010) ‘Management as a Symbolizing Construction? Re-Arranging the Understanding of Management’, Forum Qualitative Social Research, Vol. 11, No. 3 (download).
  • Baecker, Dirk (2006) ‘The Form of the Firm’, Organization, Vol. 13, No. 1, pp. 109-142 (download).
  • Baecker, Dirk (2003) Organisation und Management (Organization and management), Frankfurt am Main, Suhrkamp.
  • Luhmann, Niklas (2009) Zur Komplexität von Entscheidungssituationen (On the complexity of, Soziale Systeme, Vol. 15, No. 1, pp. 3-35.


On the plurality of organization: Organizational polyphony (Lecture 8 )

  • Andersen, Niels Åkerstrøm (2003) ‘Polyphonic Organizations’, in T. Hernes and T. Bakken (eds.) Autopoietic Organization Theory. Drawing on Niklas Luhmann’s Social System Perspective, Copenhagen, pp. 151-182 (provided by professor).
  • Andersen, Niels Åkerstrøm (2000) ‘Public Market – Political Firms’, Acta Sociologica, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp. 43-61.
  • Andersen, Niels Åkerstrøm (2003b) Discursive analytical strategies – Under- standing Foucault, Koselleck, Laclau, Luhmann, Bristol, Policy Press.
  • Clegg, S., M. Kronberger and C. Carter (2003) ‘The Différend, Strangers and Democracy: Theorizing Polyphonic Organization’, in Conference Proceedings of the Academy of Management Best Conference Paper Proceedings, pp. 1-6.
  • Hazen, M. A. (1993) ‘Towards polyphonic organization’, Journal of Organiztional Change Management, Vol. 6, No. 5,  pp. 15–26.
  • Hazen, M. A. (1994) ‘Multiplicity and change in persons and organizations’, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 7, No. 5, pp. 72-81.
  • Hazen, M. A. (2007) ‘Silences, perinatal loss, and polyphony. A Post-Modern Perspetive’, Journal of Organizational Change Management, Vol. 19, No. 2, pp. 237-249.


Managing the polyphonic organization: Challenging the firm firm (Seminar 4)

Questions to be discussed:

  • What is the firm of the firm?
  • What dimensions of polyphony can be observed?
  • What is the difference between multi-reference and polyphony?

On the calculus of organization: Organizations and markets (Lecture 9)

  • Roth, Steffen (2010) Markt ist nicht Wirtschaft, Heidelberg, Carl Auer.
  • Baecker, Dirk (2006) ‘Markets’, in A. Harrington, B.  Marshall und H.-P. Müller (ed.) Encyclopedia of Social Theory, London und New York, Routledge, pp. 333-335.
  • Baecker, D. (2001) ‘Kapital als strukturelle Kopplung’, Soziale Systeme, Vol. 5, No. 2, pp. 313-327.


On the ‘responsibility’ of organization: Organizations and society (Lecture 10)

  • Luhmann, Niklas (1996) ‘The Sociology of the Moral and Ethics’, International Sociology, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 27-36 (download).
  • Sun, William (2010) How to Govern Corporations So They Serve the Public Good: A Theory of Corporate Governance Emergence, New York: Edwin Mellen.
  • Saether, Kim T. and  Ruth V. Aguilera (2008) ‘Corporate Social Responsibility in a Comparative Perspective’, in A. Crane, et al. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook of Corporate Social Responsibility, Oxford, Oxford University Press.
  • Carroll, A. and A. Buchholtz (2006) Business and Society: Ethics and Stakeholder Management, Mason, Thomson and South-Western.
  • Carroll, A. (1998) ‘The Four Faces of Corporate Citizenship’, Business and Society Review, Vol. 100, No. 1, pp. 1–7.

Moral, competition and competing ethics: Challenging the mainstream in corporate responsibility and business ethics (Seminar 5)

Questions to be discussed:

  • How does moral ‘enter’ an organization?
  • When can an organization be said to act ethically?
  • Whose moral, whose ethics? Who defines the standards of CSR?


Contemporary organizations revisited. Presentation on term papers’ topics (Seminar 6)

Potential term paper topics:

  • Functional competition in the Caucasus (or elsewhere)
  • Polyphony and monophony in the Caucasus (or elsewhere)
  • CSR and organizational ethics in the Caucasus (or elsewhere)
  • Total institutions in the Caucasus (or elsewhere)
  • (Innovation) Management in the Caucasus (or elsewhere)
  • Founding new organizations and start-ups in the Caucasus (or elsewhere)
  • Crises and catastrophes and their impact on organizations in the Caucasus (or elsewhere)

Your term paper accounts for max. 4 points. In addition, the defense of your term paper’s topic will cover 50% of the final oral exam (max. 4/8 points). Another maximum of 4 points will be awarded for both class participation and a progress report on your term paper.