Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2007-2008 (archived)


Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)


Type Tied Level 4 Credits 15 Availability Available in 2007/08
Tied to N1D317
Tied to N1D217
Tied to N1D314


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To create an analytical framework that can help students understand the power dynamics within an organization. Through consideration of different philosophical conceptualisations of power, the key aim is to help students see their own organization as a discrete site for releasing productive power. Analysis will indicate that the amount of productive power that can be released will in part depend upon the internal structure of the organization and the extent to which it can be changed.


  • Introduction to the concept of power
  • Exchange theory
  • Systems theory perspective
  • Power and bureaucratic organisations
  • Group power – from groupthink to teamthink
  • Information technology and productive power
  • Power in the public sphere
  • Power in advanced liberal democracies
  • Power, design and organisational transformation
  • The new federalism
  • Each section with Readings, self-assessment questions, and indicative answers

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • By the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • understand the distinction between common usage and social science usage of the term ‘power’;
  • understand and critically analyse main theories of power;
  • understand ways of overcoming groupthink and other thinking flaws in order to engender creativity and the release of productive power;
  • critically appreciate the role of power in organizational design and transformation.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • By the end of the module, students will be able to:
  • critically evaluate the complex nature of the relationship between information technology and productive power;
  • critically analyse the various forms of power in organizations;
  • debate whether power is a resource or a relationship.
Key Skills:

    Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

    • The module is delivered in discrete Units. These are designed to enable the learning outcomes to be achieved through a combination of specially written material, directed reading, reflection through self-assessed assignments and guidance for further reading. Module tutors provide feedback on formative work and are available for individual consultation as necessary (by email, telephone, post or fax).
    • The written assignment will test students’ understanding of relevant concepts and their ability to apply and interpret what they have learned to the analysis of a particular issue in depth.

    Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

    Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
    D L Study Units (a combination of spcially written material, directed reading, self-assessed assignments and guidance for further reading) 150
    Total 150

    Summative Assessment

    Component: Written Assignment Component Weighting: 100%
    Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
    Written Assignment 4,000 words maximum 100%

    Formative Assessment:

    The Distance Learning material will contain self-marked exercises with indicative answers, and reflective questions that will be discussed with the module Tutor.

    Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University