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Organizational Theory and Design

Course Code: SOSC 3140
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Social Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

This course takes the organization as the main unit of analysis. A broad range of organizational theories are considered including classical theory, institutional theory, systems theory, critical theory, cultural theory and post modern theories. Using case studies from public, private and not-for-profit sectors, students apply the theories in the examination of key themes and issues, including organizational change and the evolving nature of management and leadership. Students may work in teams to design and present proposals for new organizational forms.

Course Content


  • Why Study Organization Theory
  • Classical and Institutional Theories
  • Systems Theories
  • Cultural and SymbolicTheories
  • Human Resource Theories
  • Conflict Theories
  • Critical Theories
  • Post Modern and Narrative Theories
  • Organization and Environment


  • The Social and Physical Structure of Organizations
  • Technology, Information and Organizational Knowledge
  • Organizational Power, Control and Conflict
  • Management, Leadership and Governance
  • Organizational Culture and Change
  • The Evaluation of Organizations


  • The Design Perspective
  • Alternative and Emerging Organizational Forms

Methods of Instruction

This course will employ a number of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including the following:

  • lectures
  • case studies
  • small group discussion
  • organizational design projects

Means of Assessment

Evaluation will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy.  Evaluation will be based on course objectives and may include some of the following: quizzes, multiple choice exams, essay type exams, term paper or research project, computer based assignments, etc.  The instructor will provide the students with a course outline listing the criteria for course evaluation at the beginning of the semester.

An example of one evaluation scheme:

Mid-term exam  20%
Research paper              30%
Presentation  20%
Final exam  30%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate an understanding of a range of organizational theories.
  • Use organizational theories to analyze key themes within private, public and third sector organizations.
  • Examine the role of management and leadership in organizational process.
  • Evaluate theories of organizational change.
  • Explore new designs in organizational process and form.

course prerequisites

SOSC 2140 or BUSN 3310


Courses listed here must be completed either prior to or simultaneously with this course:

  • No corequisite courses


Courses listed here are equivalent to this course and cannot be taken for further credit:

  • No equivalency courses

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.