Organizational Theory sample essay

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1. Develop your understanding of the nature of the key organisation perspectives and their related theories; 2. Demonstrate an understanding of the key perspectives and the meta-theoretical assumptions that underpin each; 3. Demonstrate an appreciation of the relationship between perspectives and their respective theories; 4. Develop research skills and the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of various debates and arguments; 5. Gain skills in the written presentation of an argument, including the ways in which scholars incorporate and acknowledge the ideas of other writers.

Criteria for assessment

For this assignment your essay will be assessed on the extent to which it demonstrates: 1. Your ability to present a clear, compelling, well-presented and properly referenced argument. 2. Your ability to respond directly to the key issues raised by the question. 3. Your ability to engage with the work of other authors and extract relevant detail and explanation.

4. Your ability to assess the arguments and debates of and between other authors and incorporate them into your response.


What are the advantages and disadvantages of a multi-perspective approach to understanding organisations? In answering the question you will need to engage with the nature of the various perspectives and how they enable and limit our understanding of organisations. In answering the essay question you must focus explicitly on the key issues identified in the question. A failure to follow this and the following instructions will result in a significant loss of marks.

Presenting your answer:

Please use headings with care. It is better to avoid using them in an essay but if you must, please keep them to a minimum and ensure that they enhance rather than undermine your argument.

In order to construct a logical response to the question the following structure is suggested. You do not need to use the provided headings (see above comment regarding ‘headings’) and the structure itself is not mandatory. But, if you are going to use an alternative structure please ensure that it enables you to present a clear and direct response to the question asked.

In answering the essay question you must focus explicitly on the key issues identified in the question.

In this section you must provide an overview of your answer to the question; provide answers to the key what and why questions of your argument/answer. These should take the form of direct responses to the key issues raised by the question. Your argument should be informed by a critical analysis of the content of the key readings.

Please keep in mind that in all sections of your response you must move past description to analysis, this means providing answers to the why questions that emerge from your key statements. Exploration of your argument:

In this section of the essay you need to accomplish two tasks. First, you must explore the key perspectives showing how each is underpinned by different assumptions that determine the way organisations are interpreted and understood. You must also address the theoretical implications of these various ways of seeing and how they enable and limit our understanding of organisations.

Second, having demonstrated an understanding of the perspectives and their theoretical implications you need to evaluate the different arguments for and against a multi-perspective approach to understanding organisations. This evaluation must draw on and relate to your discussion about the individual perspectives and how they enable and limit our understanding of organisations.

The whole response must be informed by an engagement with relevant sources, especially the textbook and the readings provided on the Blackboard. You must draw upon and evaluate academic debates and arguments. This is not to be viewed as an exercise in which you make up a response off-the-top-of-your-head. Conclusion:

You must conclude with your general answer to the question. It should reiterate the key argument and answer to the question provided in the introduction and indicate to what extent it has been supported or challenged by your analysis of the debates and arguments of other authors.


This essay question has been designed to encourage you to prepare your own individual essay. There is no single ‘right’ answer. Markers will be looking for evidence that you have read broadly, including the provided material, and have synthesised the material to develop your own answer/ argument. The markers will also expect you to answer the question in your own words.

The following points are to help you to understand and complete your assignment:

1. The question asks you to compare and contrast perspectives with regards to how they enable and constrain our understanding of organisations. The focus for this comparison is on the perspectives’ meta-theoretical assumptions and how these shape their respective theories. This part of the essay allows you to demonstrate your understanding of the course material covered in weeks 1-4.

2. Do not try to cover every single detail; you only have 2000 words so concentrate on the major points rather than fine details.

3. The focus in this essay is on analysis rather than description. Any description of your chosen perspectives must form part of your analysis and must contribute to the argument that you are making in your essay. This means answering why questions and providing supporting evidence.

4. This is not an essay asking you to consider management practices or styles of management. It is asking you to focus on ‘ways of seeing’ and thinking about organisations (different perspectives) and ways of understanding and theorising about organisations. Think of yourself as a researcher (rather than manager) of an organisation and you have a range of devices you can use to study organisations. Each device provides you with the ability to learn something different about the organisation. Your job is to explain how each of the devices provides you with different ways of understanding organisations. Do not use actual organisations as examples because it is the theory that you are seeking to demonstrate an understanding of.

5. You must use the sources provided to develop your answer. They have been selected because they provide the essential material required to answer the question. You will lose marks if you fail to use them.

6. Before you begin to look for additional reading you should first acquire a good understanding of the basics from the textbook and the required readings. Once you acquire this understanding you can then look for other material.

7. You can make use of the Web sources but they need to be reliable sources- Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information. We encourage you to make use of journal articles which can be found via a range of library databases. I suggest you use Expanded Academic ASAP (Gale) database which is located through the Databases section of the library website because it allows you to search a range of journals using keywords. Some of the keywords you should consider are: organisational culture, power in organisations, organisational change, organisations and modernism, organisations and symbolic interpretivism, organisations and postmodernism, etc.

You will find an enormous amount of relevant literature. You can also do author searches which can be helpful to locate recent articles by scholars mentioned in the textbook. We also encourage you to make use of the references and further reading suggested by the textbook at the end of each chapter. ‘Citation Linker’ found through the library website is a useful tool to locate some of the journal articles mentioned in the textbook. There is a lot of information out there regarding the topic.

8. Students are NOT allowed to use lecture notes as reference materials.

9. You should look at the assessment sheet found in the course guide. It will give you a feel for the sorts of things we will be assessing.

10. You should also look at the other part of the course guide which outlines the differences between the grades -i.e. what separates a ‘P’ from a ‘C’.

A key point to remember in answering the questions is not to be overly descriptive. In answering the question you will need to develop an argument. An argument requires ‘expressing a point of view on a subject and supporting it with evidence’ (see The basic components of an argument include: * Making a claim (informed by relevant organisational theories) * Supporting your claim with evidence