Dr. Michael Hawthorne
Department of Public Administration
Business Administration Building
Office hours: by appointment
This course introduces students to the study and management of organizations, their internal operations, and their interaction with the environment. It is tempting to begin our discussion by raising questions about organizational behavior, such as why we often feel frustrated within and dealing with organizations. We would then note that people have observed organizations and developed answers to these questions, and the course will explore these answers. We risk in this approach, however, creating an impression that we can easily describe behavior and improve upon it. Directing organizations is challenging, understanding how they operate even more challenging, and determining how best to structure and manage is amazingly challenging. One need only take note of the huge number of badly and ineptly behaving organizations as clear evidence not everyone figures this all out.
Not surprisingly, this course suggests we can learn about organizations, determine likely productive actions and behaviors, and improve organizational results. We will study many different aspects of organizations and their behavior, and attempt to learn what might be the best ways to organize and manage. We do so by reviewing organizational studies, learning from them and applying these ideas to other organizations. Our focus is on public organizations, but one of our concerns will be determining whether public organizations are identical to all other organizations or are distinct in important ways. You will become familiar with a literature on organizational behavior, and have many opportunities to apply this knowledge to examples and situations. In the process, you will become a more careful observer, more analytical, and better able to translate broad understanding into action. The result, we hope, is to make you a better manager, and a more knowledgeable leader.
The course has other objectives. One is to improve your base of educational skills necessary to your future graduate course work. We want to enhance your skills in processing information, communicating ideas to others, and synthesizing ideas from multiple sources to gain new insights. We also want to develop your abilities to work within groups, developing and commenting on shared ideas, and learning how to assist others to go beyond their current abilities and results to produce better final products. As you are learning about organizations, you are also learning how to work within organizations and draw the best out of your people.
We will use a core text, with a supplemental reader. Each week, we will explore a topic or set of related topics involving organizational behavior. It is imperative you complete the reading before each class meeting. The purpose of our class meetings is NOT to have the material read to you, but to explore the validity of what you have read, the consequences of the arguments, and consider the implications from your perspective as a manager. The class will operate as a seminar, meaning I do not lecture to you, but help you explore your thinking stimulated by the readings. If you do not intend to complete the course readings in a timely fashion, you will be very frustrated by this class.
To encourage your thinking about this material, you will write several short papers during the semester. You will share your papers across the class or within groups, and your classmates will play an integral (even substantial) role in evaluating your work. (Fear not, we evaluate the evaluations!) These papers will be brief, generally a page or two, with due dates spread across the semester. I expect excellent writing, with tight organization and important ideas presented in a clear fashion. Thus, do not even think that a first draft will suffice! We will work on developing these presentations throughout the semester, so early difficulties, although not encouraged, are not fatal to your performance, so long as you address them in subsequent work. Paper topics will come from either the core text, or supplemental readings. Recognize that the course scheduling builds around these readings, so you MUST submit papers in a timely fashion. In other words, especially in a graduate class, we complete work on time and without excuses. We will discuss detailed format and paper guidelines during our first classes.
For those of you just starting your graduate education, or in your first semesters of graduate course work, welcome to an exciting and challenging experience. Graduate courses are not (and should not) be like undergraduate classes; therefore we will spend time preparing you for graduate-level work. If you enter class prepared to work hard, expect a very different approach to education than you likely experienced as an undergraduate, and willing to challenge thinking (and have your thinking challenged), you will find graduate school to be one of the greatest experiences of your life. If you decide that you need not learn anything new, and you cannot be bothered to prepare for class, and expect to do little or no work, your graduate career will be brief.
Grades will be assigned based upon the following weights:
Learning is a challenging, serious, and fun process. To facilitate this process and help you learn, I need you in class. In a seminar, attendance is crucial. In this class, you are allowed three absences for whatever reasons you deem proper and/or necessary; you need not bring "an excuse" upon your return, as you will decide when you should and should not attend.. Upon the fourth absence, you will receive a zero for all remaining assignments. You are strongly advised to use you absences wisely, as you will not be given "extra" absences when you have a "real problem" after having used up your absences for other reasons. Major health and family issues necessitating absences longer than this time period will be considered only with documentation, and should include consideration of dropping the course due to the absences.
Any student with a documented disability needing academic adjustments is requested to speak directly to Disability Support Services and the instructor, as early in the semester (preferably within the first week) as possible. All discussions will remain confidential. Please contact Disability Support Services, DF Lowry Building, 910-521-6695.
As a faculty member, I am responsible for creating the best possible class to teach you about American government and politics. As a student, you have responsibilities. Most of these should be common to all classes, but to avoid any confusion, a list appears below.
Class participation (and attendance) is crucial to learning. These will play a key role in grades for those on borderlines. Improvement during the semester is always given special consideration.
Student Academic Honor Code: Students have the responsibility to know and observe the UNCP Academic Honor Code. All students should review the Academic Honor Code carefully. This can be found at:
with particular attention to pages 65-69. Violations of the Code will be reported and pursued with extreme vigor. If you do not understand any part of the Code, it is your responsibility to seek answers to your questions and concerns.
The assigned texts are:
Please note: Reading assignments should be completed before date listed here! Read any introductory sections, examples, etc.
||Introduction to class
||What we know about organizations -- Rainey, Ch. 1, 2; Classics, 1.1, 1.3
||Are public organizations distinct from other organizations -- Rainey, Ch. 3; Classics 1.4; 5.2
||Organizational environments -- Rainey, Ch. 4; Classics 5.3, 5.5
||Organizational politics -- Rainey, Ch. 5; Classics 1.2
||Organizational goals and effectiveness -- Rainey, Ch. 6
||Organizational power and decision-making -- Rainey, Ch. 7
||Organizational structures -- Rainey, Ch. 8
||People in organizations -- Rainey, Ch. 9, 10; Classics 2.1, 4.3
||Organizational leadership -- Rainey, Ch. 11; Classics 5.1
||Organizational teamwork -- Rainey, Ch. 12; Classics 3.5
||Organizational change -- Rainey, Ch. 13
||TBA -- Thanksgiving
||Conclusions -- Rainey, Ch. 14; Classics 6.4
|FINAL EXAM --Tue., Dec. 9, 6:30 pm
Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013
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