Course code AOS325

AOS325 Contemporary Organisations

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Showing course contents for the educational year 2022 - 2023 .

Course responsible: Astrid Charlotta Levay
ECTS credits: 10
Faculty: School of Economics and Business
Teaching language: EN
(NO=norsk, EN=Engelsk)
Limits of class size:
Teaching exam periods:
This course starts in the Autumn parallel. This course has teaching/evaluation in the Autumn parallel, .
Course frequency: Annually. 
First time: Study year 2017-2018
Preferential right:
Master's students in Business Administration.
Course contents:

This course offers a comprehensive introduction to advanced analysis of contemporary organisations and organising. In today’s world, organising takes place not just within separate organisations but as much in between an across them. To navigate in such contexts, it is important to understand how organisations interact with their environment, which is largely made up of other organisations, such as corporations, government agencies, and transnational advisory bodies. In this course, we study what goes on in these intricate processes. We explore, contrast, and apply different theoretical perspectives, including both established and more recent approaches.

The course first considers classic models of organisations as closed systems. It then traces the evolution of new models of organisations as open systems that seek internal cultural accord as well as external legitimacy. Particular attention is paid to Scandinavian neo-institutional theory. Students get to practice systematic and reflective organisational analysis, which is essential to identifying and dealing with specific organisational problems and opportunities.

Learning outcome:


After completing the course, students should:

  • Demonstrate thorough knowledge of the main approaches in organisation theory.
  • Show nuanced understanding of the development of organisation theory from closed to open systems perspectives.
  • Show solid grasp of the main features of institutional perspectives on organisations.


After completing the course, students should:

  • Show ability to apply diverse theoretical perspectives to central organisational problems.
  • Display awareness of the implications and limitations of the different perspectives.
  • Demonstrate capacity to present advanced organisation theory in a clear and concise manner.

General competencies

After completing the course, students should:

  • Demonstrate analytical competence and ability to reflect critically on social phenomena.
  • Show ability to work individually and as a member of a group to analyse complex problems.
  • Show ability to communicate in English on organisational issues, both verbally and in writing.
Learning activities:
Lectures, seminar discussions, individual hand-in, and groupwork with presentations at seminars.
Scott, W. R., & Davis, G. F. (2016). Organizations and Organizing: Rational, Natural, and Open System Perspectives. International Student Edition. London: Routledge.

Course pack with articles and book chapters available on Canvas.
AOS130 Introduction to Organisation Theory, or similar.
Recommended prerequisites:
Mandatory activity:

Attendance at the first lecture.

An individual, written assignment and a group assignment which comprises presentations at seminars. The individual assignment and the group assignment must be in English, and both assignments must be approved before taking the exam. 

Individual written exam (3,5 hours) in the examination period. The exam must be written in English and counts for 100% of the grade. There will also be a resit exam.
Nominal workload:
Total work load is estimated to 250 work hours.
Entrance requirements:
The course is intended for master's students at NMBU.
Reduction of credits:

5 credits with AOS333.

5 credits with AOS320.

Type of course:
The course has a combination of lectures and seminars, a total of 4 hours per week.

Incoming exchange students are welcome to contact student advisors at the School of Economics and Business ( for admission to the course.

Limits of class size. Registration by application in StudentWeb. Note that the deadline is earlier than for other courses that are taught in Autumn parallel. Application deadline for the course is 25th of August.

First come first serve if there are available seats after this deadline. If it is fully booked, please contact to be signed up on a waiting list.

Note! Attendance at the first lecture is mandatory. If there are seats available after the first lecture, students on the waiting list will be contacted and invited to the course.

An external examiner will assess the curriculum and principles for evaluation. Grades will be set by the teacher.
Allowed examination aids: A2 No calculator, other aids as specified
Examination details: Written exam: Letter grades