Not available in 2020/21
PB424      Half Unit
Organisational Life

This information is for the 2020/21 session.

Teacher responsible

Mr Barry Rogers


This course is available on the MSc in Behavioural Science, MSc in Organisational and Social Psychology, MSc in Psychology of Economic Life, MSc in Social and Cultural Psychology and MSc in Social and Public Communication. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

Organisational Life has been turned upside down in recent years. In an increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex world disruptive technologies challenge taken-for-granted assumptions and established business models. Simultaneously, issues like climate change and Covid19 underscore the fragility of the system while also questioning the usefulness of many traditional approaches. This begs a simple, but fundamental, question - how do we make sense of these circumstances and equip ourselves to shape, lead and enable change?

The course will address a range of emerging organisational questions such as:

  • What does it mean to manage and lead in an increasingly VUCA world?
  • Why do we work? How do we engage five generations at work?
  • Post ‘Zoom’ have we moved from the workplace to the 24/7 workspace? What does that mean for sustainable working lives?
  • Organisational time(s) and the crisis in attention: how do we equip ourselves for the diminishing gap between stimulus and response?
  • In the wake of MeToo where now for organisational equality, diversity and inclusion?
  • Organisational purpose: how do organisations meaningfully relate to wider stakeholders
  • Power, politics and navigating relationships – how do we mobilize resources to get things done?
  • ‘Showing up’ in challenging times - what does the post-heroic leader look like?
  • Beyond the 'ivory tower': how do we bridge organisational theory to practice?


10 hours of lectures and 10 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

One formative piece of coursework to be submitted in the LT.

Indicative reading

Berg, J. L. (2015). The role of personal purpose and personal goals in symbiotic visions. Frontiers in Psychology, 6.

Choi, S. (2019). Breaking Through the Glass Ceiling: Social Capital Matters for Women’s Career Success? International Public Management Journal, 22(2), 295–320.

Hoffman, A. J. (2016). Reflections: Academia’s Emerging Crisis of Relevance and the Consequent Role of the Engaged Scholar. Journal of Change Management, 16(2), 77–96.

Leroy, S. (2009). Why is it so hard to do my work? The challenge of attention residue when switching between work tasks. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision  Processes, 109(2), 168–181.

Moran, C. (2015). Time as a social practice. Time & Society, 24(3), 283–303.

Paoli, D. D., Sauer, E., & Ropo, A. (2019). The spatial context of organizations: A critique of ‘creative workspaces.’ Journal of Management & Organization, 25(2), 331–352. 

Weick, K.E. (2003). ‘Theory and Practice in the Real World’ In: Tsoukas, H. & Knudsen, C. (eds.) The Oxford Handbook or Organizational Theory. London: OUP, pp 453-476.

Wood, M., & Dibben, M. (2015). Leadership as Relational Process. Process Studies, 44(1), 24–47.


Essay (100%, 3000 words) in the LT.

The essay is structured as a three-part process involving a practical topic of choice, a theoretical exploration of the practical issue and a ‘translation’ of theory back to a real-world setting.  The logic is to enable students to bridge the gap between theory and practice in ways that are rigorous, relevant and connect with real world needs. 

Important information in response to COVID-19

Please note that during 2020/21 academic year some variation to teaching and learning activities may be required to respond to changes in public health advice and/or to account for the situation of students in attendance on campus and those studying online during the early part of the academic year. For assessment, this may involve changes to mode of delivery and/or the format or weighting of assessments. Changes will only be made if required and students will be notified about any changes to teaching or assessment plans at the earliest opportunity.

Key facts

Department: Psychological and Behavioural Science

Total students 2019/20: 31

Average class size 2019/20: 15

Controlled access 2019/20: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information