Course Title: Organisation Theory and Practice

Part A: Course Overview

Course ID: 040066

Course Title: Organisation Theory and Practice

Credit Points: 12

Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


660H Grad School of Business


Course Coordinator: Professor Mike Berrell

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 1594

Course Coordinator Email:

Course Coordinator Location: 108.11

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

This course is available to part-time Research Candidates enrolled in the Doctor of Business Administration. The pre-requisites for the DBA include successful completion of a MBA or equivalent.

Course Description

Since this course area is particularly significant to the thesis component of the DBA, an intensive reading program is set, covering a wide range of material. The educational benefits that should follow are an enhanced depth of understanding concerning the dynamic forces intrinsic to all organizations, and the capacity to diagnose organizational problems and prescribe informed solutions. Those outcomes will assist candidates both in their research endeavours and daily institutional functioning when attempting to make sense of complex organisational processes. The overall educational aims are for the intellectual rigor stimulated by the course to effectively translate into meaningful practical application.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

This course will expose DBA candidates to an array of frames of reference from which to analyse the structure, functioning and processes generic to work organisations. It will enable their first-hand experience of organisations to be developed and supplemented with a more analytical, evaluative basis of knowledge. By being exposed to a range of perspectives, taught through a comparative approach, they will gain an in-depth appreciation of the contested grounding of much of this analysis. They will learn that there are many ways of viewing organisations and will attempt to apply specific frameworks to particular organisational issues in order to integrate and advance both their conceptual and practical skill bases.

By the end of the course, candidates will be able to:
• Develop and articulate connections between the models and theories studied and issues within their own workplaces.

• Display comprehension of a range of theories of organisation in regard to aspects of structure and process.

• Demonstrate critical reading skills in relation to theoretical material itself.

• Display a high level of understanding of how
advanced literature might be applied to organizational practice.

Knowledge: Material covered and provided in classes will cover both ‘classic’ and current theoretical and practice issues. Written work will require demonstration of knowledge of relevant theory.

Creative: Readings, class discussions and assessment tasks will aim to develop candidates’ ability to creatively apply theories to practical situations.

Critical: Debate and discussion as well as written work will emphasize the need for critical thinking and the ability to demonstrate a critical perspective.

Responsible: The importance of business ethics and personal integrity will be integrated into class material and discussion.

Employable: This course involves substantial self-directed learning and candidates will be required to be self-motivated and adaptable, with good communication skills. Successful completion of the assessment will require an appreciation of practical factors and complex issues commonly faced in business.

Life-long learners: The importance of refinement & development of the skills through practical, critical experience will be stressed. Amongst other objectives assessment will require students to think broadly, take in new concepts and explore possible effects of competing influences as part of their professional development.

Potential leaders: This course integrates aspects of theory with practice, and contributes to the development of leadership traits such as vision, communication and strategic thinking.

As in capability development

Overview of Learning Activities

The focus of this course is Candidate-centred adult learning based on personal research and reading. Candidates’ learnings from research evidence will be linked to their experience of the work place. The resulting reflexive knowledge base should assist the development of strategies for improving managerial practice. Candidates will be expected to critically evaluate their current organisational activities and consider alternative means to achieve more productive outcomes. They will also be encouraged to learn from others through an exchange process explored in the seminar sessions.
The content and process of teaching and learning will be reviewed through ongoing feedback. Candidates are expected to take responsibility for their own learning and manage their time accordingly.

Overview of Learning Resources

References/resources/articles will be provided in class.
Candidates will also need to engage in literature searches for relevant material for class exercises and assessment tasks.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is available as a Pass or Fail grade only in this course. Candidates must complete each assessment task to pass this course. There are two pieces of written assessment.
Assignment One: A Presentation on the literature and a related written paper. 

Assignment Two: One of the following: (A) Critical literature review OR
(B) Application of theory to practice OR (C) A Theory of Business OR (D) Leading an Organization