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This course explores three different perspectives on organizations that will help you understand issues involved in both managing and being managed at work.

We all develop our own understanding of what organizations are and how to act effectively as organizational members. However, our understanding is often limited by our current position, functional area, or individual interactions and experiences with other organizational members. A narrow view can lead to costly misunderstandings and damaging managerial decisions.

In this class, we seek to enhance your understanding by studying the human aspects of organizations. More specifically, we look at organizations through the lenses of design, power, and culture. Each lens provides explanations of why some organizations flourish whereas others collapse, and why people within organizations behave the way they do. We will discuss the managerial implications of each lens and provide you with the skills and tools to thoroughly diagnose organizational problems and to tackle them with the appropriate actions.

The course will introduce the three lenses perspective to understand what makes organizations function effectively. The first lens focuses on organizational design. This perspective addresses the four core elements and processes of organizational design—grouping, linking, aligning, and fitting. The second lens emphasizes the role of culture in management, covering what organizational culture is and how it shapes action in organizations. The cultural lens also offers useful toolkits to analyze and transform organizational culture. The third lens delves into relational—often political—issues in organizations. This political lens focuses on where power in organizations comes from, how to resolve conflicts in organizations, and also highlight the crucial role of social network in political processes in organizations.