cod. 00745

Academic year 2018/19
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Ingegneria economico-gestionale (ING-IND/35)
Ingegneria gestionale
Type of training activity
48 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
course unit
in - - -

Learning objectives

Knowledge and understandingAt the end of the course student will be able to get acquainted with the basic concepts for describing and analyzing organizations. Next, he/she will develop insight on the scope and nature of organization theory examining the history of organization theory and design, a framework for understanding organizational forms, the development of new organizational forms in response to changes in the environment, and how organization theory can help people manage complex organizations in a rapidly changing world.Applying knowledge and understandingThe student is able to:- select different structural design options for grouping activities-use different techniques of representation of organization macrostructures and microstructures- build different types of organization chart - create organizational analysis reports based on tools such as the matrix of activities/responsibilities, the Homogeneous Grouping of Activities, the BPMN (Business Process Management Notation)Making judgementThe student is able to collect and interpret relevant data with the aim to:- think analytically, systematically, and critically about various aspects of how managers can utilize the principles of organizational theories to design and change their organizations to increase efficiency and effectiveness.- employ different organizational theories and design criteria (structure and change) to allow the organization to adapt to specific and general environments. Communication: Students will demonstrate capabilities to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions within the field. The student is able to communicate information and solutions in written as well as oral formats.Learning skills: the student has the necessary learning skills to embark on the development of both an organizational design and a follow-up process analysis project requiring a high level of autonomy.


There are no compulsory prerequisites.

Course unit content

The subject will cover the major theoretical constructs and operational techniques in support of organizational design and analysis. The course unit aims to provide students with the knowledge related to the methodologies and analytical tools suitable to interpret, systematize, engineer and re-engineer structures, processes and operational mechanisms of a firm. The final part of the course unit will be devoted to the development of skills in the field of design and redesign of organizational processes through the implementation of sessions of application of models and tools of BPM (Business Process Management).

Full programme

1 Organizations and Organizational Effectiveness:- What Is an Organization?- Organizational Theory, Design, and Change- How Do Managers Measure Organizational Effectiveness?2. Basic Challenges of Organizational Design- Differentiation- Balancing Differentiation and Integration- Balancing Centralization and Decentralization- Balancing Standardization and Mutual Adjustment- Mechanistic and Organic Organizational Structures3. Designing Organizational Structure: Authority and Control- Authority: How and Why Vertical Differentiation Occurs- Control: Factors Affecting the Shape of the Hierarchy- The Principles of Bureaucracy- The Influence of the Informal Organization- IT, Empowerment, and Self-Managed Teams4. Designing Organizational Structure: Specialization and Coordination- Functional Structure- From Functional Structure to Divisional Structure- Divisional Structure I: Three Kinds of Product Structure- Divisional Structure II: Geographic Structure- Divisional Structure III: Market Structure- Matrix Structure- Network Structure and the Boundaryless Organization5. Creating and Managing Organizational Culture- What Is Organizational Culture?- How Is an Organization's Culture Transmitted to Its Members?- Where Does Organizational Culture Come From?- Can Organizational Culture Be Managed?- Social Responsibility5. Organizational Design, Competences, and Technology- What Is Technology?- Technology and Organizational Effectiveness- Technical Complexity: The Theory of Joan Woodward- Routine Tasks and Complex Tasks: The Theory of Charles Perrow- Task Interdependence: The Theory of James D. Thompson- From Mass Production to Advanced Manufacturing Technology- Advanced Manufacturing Technology: Innovations in Materials Technology6. Management by processes- Business processes: definition, basic concepts and types- The organizational and management principles of process management- Inter-firm processes- Business Process Management- Languages and process modeling- Analysis, mapping, re-engineering of business processes- Models, techniques and tools


Required text: Gareth R. Jones, Organizational Theory, Design, and Change, 7th Edition, Pearson.Further supporting materials (experiential exercises and related solutions, case studies) are available to students through the “Elly” educational platform maintained by the University of Parma. Access is granted to students subject to prior registration.

Teaching methods

Classroom lectures will be a blending of the instructor presenting relevant theory and a learning by doing of the students (case studies and exercises) in order to stimulate their critical thinking. The course unit is allocated 6 ECTS; the overall workload for the student is, thus, equivalent to 150 hours. This includes:a) attending theory and practice face-to-face lectures (in class), b) filing an individual report of design exercises and integrative cases (self-study), c) the individual study and preparation for the exam (self-study).70% of classroom lectures are expository (theory) classes and 30% are practical classes (exercises and cases). Texts of exercises and integrative cases (both for practical classes and self-study) are either included in the required textbook or provided via the Elly platform.

Assessment methods and criteria

Assessment is based, for both attending and non-attending students, on:a) a written exam (30 marks carrying 50% on the global mark) on theory. Possible questions formats are “short essay”, “multiple choice”, “true/false” and “fill in the blanks” types. Marks carried by each single question will be printed out on test papers.A minimum score of 14 marks is a pass on to subsequent oral exam.b) an oral exam (30 marks carrying 50% on the global mark) for application and practical skills assessment. The oral exam consists in the discussion of parts of the report on exercises and supplementary cases that the student has collected in his/her personal file. The two exams must necessarily be taken in the same exam session.Global mark (30-point scale) is the weighted average of both exams; passing grade is 18 out of 30 or above.“Cum laude," is added to the maximum grade for outstanding candidates with maximum marks in both written and oral exams.

Other information

Each student is provided with a file (downlodable from the Elly platform) for the exercises and integrative cases to be solved. Students are encouraged to work in teams (up to 3 members). Each member of the group will bring his/her copy when running the oral test of the final exam.Active participation and discussion of the course contents is encouraged. Therefore, study of the given literature in advance of each class is strongly recommended. Lectures’ slides (downloadable from the Elly platform) are just a tool used to set major concepts and can in no way be a substitute for the textbook.