Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Postgraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2010-2011 (archived)

Module BUSI40145: Perspectives on the Modern Organisation

Department: Economics, Finance and Business (Business)

BUSI40145: Perspectives on the Modern Organisation

Type Tied Level 4 Credits 45 Availability Available in 2010/11 Module Cap None.


  • None


  • As specified in Special Regulations

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None


  • Familiarise students with leading-edge research on organisations from the specialised perspectives of macro-organisation theory; work, management, and organisation; and behavioural decision-making;
  • Provide opportunities for students to develop and extend their skills in thinking critically and theoretically in these three areas.


  • Philosophy of science: Evaluating theories
  • Historical foundations
  • Institutional theory
  • Transaction cost economics
  • Organisational ecology
  • Networks of organisations
  • Organisational environments
  • The human resource-performance link
  • Trust within organisation
  • Justice within organisations
  • The “new” employment relationship
  • Managing knowledge within the organisation
  • The “new” career
  • Prospect theory
  • Agency theory
  • Inter-temporal choice
  • Process models of choice
  • Applying choice to the domains of management, health, finance, and consumer behaviour

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • have gained an understanding and critical awareness of the nature and scope of advanced research within business and management;
  • be able to critically review scholarly literature in macro-organisation theory; work, management and organisation; and behavioural decision-making;
  • be able to develop theoretical questions relevant to their own research
Subject-specific Skills:
  • be able to undertake critical appraisal of relevant literature, and apply critical judgement and discrimination;
  • be aware of, and familiar with, the research methods employed in carrying out important research in the field;
  • be able to use the ideas in the field in research projects of their own design.
Key Skills:
  • have the ability to critically review a specialised area of knowledge and apply it in complex situations;
  • have the capacity for sustained independent work and learning at an advanced level and the ability to learn through critical reflection on practice and experience;
  • be able to think independently, including problem-solving ability and the ability to operate and exercise appropriate judgement in complex and specialised contexts;
  • be able to understand complex research, critically analyse it, and communicate ideas about it to peers;
  • have the ability to accept a high level of personal responsibility, including an ability to evaluate and resolve any ethical dilemmas which may arise, in research and professional practice.

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

  • A combination of lectures, seminars and group work will contribute to achieving the aims and learning outcomes of this module. Summative assessment by three written examinations will test students' ability to apply what they have learned to the analysis of particular issues in depth through a critical assessment of relevant research literature and analytical techniques in macro-organisation theory; work, management and organisation; and behavioural decision-making.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Workshop 20 Weekly 3 hours 60
Preparation and Reading 390
Total 450

Summative Assessment

Component: Written examination Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
unseen written examination 2 hours 33.3%
unseen written examination 2 hours 33.3%
unseen written examination 2 hours 33.4%

Formative Assessment:

Formative assessment, and feedback, may take a number of forms such as answers to questions discussed during workshops, or posted on DUO; discussions with teaching staff during consultation hours, or via e-mail.

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