Complexity within Organizations

Provided by: Tilburg
Master's degree (EQF level: 7)

During this course, the students will gain an extensive understanding of organisational complexity and will learn general strategies of dealing with the dimensions of complexity in organisations. Thus, even if the facets of organisational complexity may change over time, the students will know how to identify and assess the changing facets of organisational complexity. After this course, students will be able to:
Identify, understand and assess the causes, dimensions and consequences of complexity within organisations;
Use the scientific theories and theoretical concepts related to complexity within organisations in practical settings;
Demonstrate skills for critical thinking.

Furthermore, students will practice and demonstrate their writing and communication skills (in English) in presenting their academic research.

In the first workshop, the students will be organized in groups. The groups will work in the same format during the semester, including the practical exercises and the case studies for which they have to prepare presentations that will be evaluated by their peers.

The individual grade will be based on:
Final exam 65% - the final exam consist of essay questions. The questions will be derived from the reading materials and from the case studies discussed in the workshops.
Active participation in workshops 20%- The students are expected to actively participate in the workgroups and the participation will be assessed by the other group members;
Group presentation 15% - Students are expected to actively participate in discussions and debates during classes and to present the results of their analyses as a group for the cases that will be discussed in the workshops.

Students have to pass all assignments/exams within this course. If one assignment is not passed the whole course with all assignments has to be retaken the following academic year.

Required Prerequisites
Only accessible for students who fulfill the admission criteria of the Masters Organisation Studies. A limited number of places are available for exchange students. Admission will be decided on a case-by-case basis given the number of available places and prior knowledge. Please contact the course coordinator, if you are interested in taking this course.

Modern organizations can best be understood as complex adaptive systems. This way of understanding leads us to new insights into dealing with organizational complexity in theory, as well as in practice. The open system's framework and contingency theory of organizations will be used as main theoretical foundations for this course. Starting from this theoretical background, the course emphasizes the facets of organisational complexity, as well as the links between causes, complexity indicators and their consequences (implications). The CWO course will mainly underline the indicators of complexity in organizations and the consequences of organizational complexity. To this end, the course will go into what complexity actually is, and how one can describe and assess it. The prevalence of complexity will also be considered. Themes to be addresses are: organizational differentiation, team composition and performance, virtual teams, intra-organizational networks, workforce diversity and its organizational consequences, internal organizational communication, technology (information technology, groupware support systems, communication technologies), multi-team systems.

  • Block 1 2022/23

    Course start date 2022-09-01
    Course end date 2022-10-21
    Language English
    Credits 6 (ECTS)
    Grading scheme: Grades will be awarded on a 10 point scale where 6 is the passing grade