Sociology of Organisations

A.Y. 2021/2022
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The course aims at providing students with the theoretical and methodological knowledge needed to analyze - in a sociological perspective - organizations, the plurality of their structures and logics. It offers a historical and critical review of the main theories and approaches to the study of organizations, in order to give students the necessary tools to understand the complexity of the organizational processes, both in the manufacturing and in the service organizations, public and private. The course will pay particular attention to the study, on one hand, of the relationships between individual and organization, on the other hand, of the relationships between organization and environment, enabling students to analyze two of the main dimensions of the organizational phenomena.
Expected learning outcomes
Students are expected to be able to analyse and autonomously interpret organizational rules, structures, behaviors and processes. They will develop the competence, which allow them to analyze how public and private organizations work, both in the manufacturing and in the service sector, identifying some critical issues typical of those organizations and suggesting possible solutions. Adequate communication skills are also required, with particular regard to the specific language of the sociology of organization; it is also required to properly discuss and argue personal opinions and theses on situations connected to these studies and on topics which are proposed by the literature or empirically observable. Finally, students are required to develop the capacity to deepen on their own main issues in organizational studies.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Third trimester
In the phase of emergency lessons will be carried face-to-face and, at the same time, online in streaming, by using the Microsoft Teams platform, except in case of changes due to the health situation. Exams will consist of a written test. Exams will be carried out face-to-face, except for students who are not able to do them face-to-face because of health reasons. Only for these students, exams, which will consist of a written test, will be carried out on line.
Course syllabus
Definitions of organization. The 'classic school' of organizations: Taylor and Weber. The limits of the 'classic school': Robert Merton and the unintended consequences of bureaucracy. Michel Crozier and its critical examination of the bureaucratic phaenomenon. The crisis of the tayloristic organization. From fordism to the new ways of production. The Japanese or Toyota model. Old and new institutionalism in sociology of organization. The economic approaches: Williamson and the transaction cost theory; Ouchi and the concept of clan. The moral hazard.
Prerequisites for admission
No preliminary knowledge is required.
Teaching methods
The course will include lectures and discussions. Students will be stimulated to analyze organizational situations drawn by empirical knowledge, suggesting possibile solutions to critical elements which will emerge in the discussion.
Teaching Resources
1) Bonazzi G., Come studiare le organizzazioni, Bologna, Il Mulino, 2006 (all the sections and chapters of the book, except for chapter V)
2) Bonazzi G., Storia del pensiero organizzativo, Milano, Franco Angeli, 2007, ultima edizione (only two chapters of this second book are required, respectively entitled "L'organizzazione scientifica del lavoro, ovvero il taylorismo" and "Nel post-fordismo: specializzazione flessibile, produzione snella e fabbrica modulare")
3) Suggested reading: Bordogna L. (a cura di), Individuo e organizzazione. Materiali di analisi organizzativa, Bologna, Il Mulino., 2005.
Slides discussed in classes and uploaded on ARIEL.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a written test, including 9-10 questions (2-3 multiple choice questions and 7-8 open-ended questions). The test has to be perfomed in 1 hour. There is no oral examination.
The exam includes questions concerning both the theoretical approaches illustrated in the course and in the references books, and case studies or examples drawn by organizational contexts described in the course. The exam is aimed at assessing;
- students' knowledge and comprehension of the theories described in the course, allowing students to grasp the complexity of organizations and to analyse organizational rules, structures, behaviors and processes;
- the development of competences, which make students able to analyze how public and private organizations work, both in the manufacturing and in the service sector, identifying some critical issues typical of those organizations and suggesting possible solutions;
- the acquisition of adequate communication skills, with particular regard to the specific language of the sociology of organization. Students are required to show their ability to describe organizational phenomena and properly discuss organizational issues and situations, which are suggested by scientific literature or empirically observable;
- the development of learning abilities in organizational behavior, processes and phenomena, allowing them to deepen on their own main issues in this field of study.
Lessons: 40 hours
Professor: Neri Stefano
Saturday,, 10:00-13:00. online. via Microsoft Teams or Skype. Please, contact the techer by the day before the reception hours, in order to agree an appointment
Microsoft Teams or Skype. If the receptions hours take place face-to-face, Room 6, New building (the building where lesson rooms 10, 11, 12, 13 are located)