Organization Theory (2020/2021)

Course partially running (all years except the first)

Course code
Name of lecturer
Cecilia Rossignoli
Cecilia Rossignoli
Number of ECTS credits allocated
Academic sector
Language of instruction
A.A. 20/21 dottorato dal Oct 1, 2020 al Sep 30, 2021.

Lesson timetable

Go to lesson schedule

Learning outcomes

The objective of this course is to introduce students to fundamental questions and theoretical approaches in the study of organizations, and to the fundamental issues about organizational design. At the beginning a particular attention will be placed to the introduction of qualitative and quantitative research approach.
The readings are organized historically and thematically to capture the intellectual trajectories of organization theory and various shifts in emphasis: from workers to managers, from organizational processes to outputs, from studies of single organizations in their environments to studies of collective action in organizational populations and fields. Students are expected to complete all the readings prior to class.
Our primary goal is to cover the major theoretical approaches to organizations, and we will examine recent advances in theory and research that extend these approaches in interesting ways. During the course, students will develop a solid understanding of some of the major economic perspectives guiding the study of organizations and they will examine how different theoretical perspectives are tested.
The course does not presume specialized background in organization theory.


This course is designed to develop your skills in discussing and critiquing both arguments and evidence. Students not only need to understand the arguments, but also need to be able to talk about them and extend them. Each lesson’s readings will typically include some “classics” defining the particular perspective, some more recent theoretical and/or empirical developments of the perspectives, and either implicit or explicit critiques of the basic perspective.

Assessment methods and criteria

Article presentation & Discussion
40% - Each student will be required to present in front of the class and discuss at least one article assigned by teachers. The article presentation sessions will be organized as follows: at first, one student (presenter) will present the article (30-40 minutes) as he would be the author. At the end of the presentation two students (discussants), whose role has been assigned at least one week before, will discuss the article. Both the presenter and the discussants are required to highlight the main links with the theoretical concepts presented so far in the course. The article presentation will also help students to familiarize with the methodological issues (i.e. qualitative and quantitative research methods) in organizational theory.

60% - Each student will be required to write an original paper based on the literature covered in the course. The paper should present a conceptual/theoretical framework concerning an organizational level question. The paper must present an underlying theoretical rationale and contain the key elements of a theory as discussed in class. Each paper will be presented at the end of the course to the class.