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Unit information: Researching Organisations, Institutions and Management in 2018/19

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Unit name Researching Organisations, Institutions and Management
Unit code EFIMM0045
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 2 (weeks 13 - 24)
Unit director Dr. Beck
Open unit status Not open

Successfully completed introductory modules on research methods and design (e.g. TB1 modules of qualitative and quantitative methods)



School/department School of Management
Faculty Faculty of Social Sciences and Law


The unit will investigate empirical research approaches and activities focusing on organisations and institutions, including management. It will identify the different streams and core concepts of research in management and organisation studies and map these against dominant methodological traditions and issues. Individual methodologies and methods (including mixed methodologies, natural experiments, ethnography, action research, comparative analysis, case studies and ‘evidence-based’ approaches) will then be examined and assessed in the specific context of organisational and institutional research using ‘classic’, current and/or innovative organisational and management research studies and with a focus on addressing specific challenges including those of access, analysis, ethics, stakeholder engagement, making research ‘impactful’ and promoting and communicating findings to both academic and user audiences.

Intended learning outcomes

Students successfully completing this unit will be able to:

  1. demonstrate an understanding of the conceptual and methodological terrain of organisational and institutional studies.
  2. show how a range of different methodological approaches can be applied in ‘real world’ (organisational and institutional) contexts, with reference to particular classic and contemporary studies, and show how methodological challenges can be overcome.
  3. review, synthesise and critically evaluate research in organisation studies and communicate it effectively to diverse users.

Teaching details

Combination of lectures, seminars, practical exercises/student presentations.

Assessment Details

Formative assessment
Compose a mock press release or blog of no more than 800 words on a classic study of an organisation and present this to peers, demonstrating understanding and the ability to synthesise and report key research findings for a “practitioner” audience (ILOs 1 and 3).

Summative assessment

Students will review research on an organisation or institution of their choice and write a 4,000 word report for the main stakeholders, explaining the distinctiveness of the research and the implications of the research findings for the organisation’s/ institution’s stated vision and mission and/or strategy/policies and practices.

Students will be assessed on both the synthesis of research data and where it fits within organisation studies overall (ILOs 1 and 3), including an assessment of methodological strengths/weaknesses of the major studies in question and how challenges were addressed (ILOs 2 and 3), and their ability to translate research findings into ‘useful/usable’ information for stakeholders (ILO 3).

Reading and References

  • Bryman, A. (ed.) (2013) Doing Research in Organizations, Routledge (first published 1988).
  • Bryman, A. (1992) Research Methods and Organization Studies (Contemporary Social Research 20), London: Routledge.
  • Buchanan, D.A and Alan Bryman, A. (eds.) (2009) The SAGE Handbook of Organizational Research Methods, London: Sage.
  • Cunliffe, A.L. and Alcadipani, R. (2016) ‘The Politics of Access in Fieldwork: Immersion, Backstage Dramas, and Deception’, Organizational Research Methods, 19(4): 535-61.
  • Organizational Research Methods.
  • Watson, T.J. (2011) ‘Ethnography, Reality, and Truth: The Vital Need for Studies of ‘How Things Work’ in Organizations and Management’, Journal of Management Studies, 48(1): 202-17.