nl en

Organisational Design, Culture and Behaviour


Admission requirements

This course is only available for students in the BA International Studies and BA Urban Studies programmes.


As sociologist Amitai Etzioni (1964) once stated: “We are born in organisations, educated by organisations, and most of us spend much of our lives working for organisations. Whatever our roles in society are: entrepreneur, employer, employee, manager, customer, stockholder, elected official, voter, political activist, teacher and student, organisations (will) impact a great many aspects of our lives.”

The prevalence of these entities and the relationship between organisations and human beings, prompt the need to develop knowledge of organising processes and patterns that structure organisations. The purpose of this course is therefore to enrich students’ understanding of organisational life. This will be done by building on two disciplines of business administration: organisation theory and organisational behaviour.

Organisation Theory (OT) draws on the sciences, the humanities, and the arts, and covers concepts such as design, culture, technology, structure and congruency with the external environment. Organisational Behaviour (OB) draws on psychology and sociology, and covers concepts such as sustainability, ethics, diversity, equality, motivation and communication. As will be seen, organisational behaviour is embedded in the particularities of time and society and in the dynamics of the local and global.

After completing the course, students will have gained a solid introductory background in both disciplines. They will also have developed their ability to theorise using two views that have come to dominate the field: the traditional (or managerialist) lens and the critical lens on organisations. Throughout the course students will find connections to familiar themes in International Studies as well as acquire new academic knowledge by focusing specifically on the organisational level of analysis.

The core book and online modules introduce students to global practices and theories with which to develop critical insights into organisations around the world. This includes real-world cases on contemporary topics such as Covid-19, and the gig economy.

By guiding their own case writing groups, and preparing online modules before weblectures students will deepen their understanding and ensure a valuable learning experience for themselves.

Students will see key theories in action, as they apply the academic knowledge from the course within and outside of university. First, in two case studies written together with their case team as outsider to a selected organisation to study, and second, after the course as individual and insider to the own internship organisation.This course is designed to teach how to bridge academia and practice through empirical research and active reflection. This approach enables students to select, understand and belong in their future workplaces, and thereby eases the transition to the world of work.

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • teach you to grasp the workings of an organisation early on to make sound contributions as intern;

  • teach frameworks you can apply to accelerate your organisational socialisation in (internship) workplaces;

  • develop your knowledge on the perspectives in organisation theory, the core concepts of organisation design, structure and the influence of the external environment;

  • develop your knowledge on organisational behaviour through frameworks and models related to behaviour, attitudes and performance of individuals and groups in organisations;

  • build your ability to describe, analyse and evaluate I) organisational culture and II) organisational structure through case study assignments in teams;

  • to introduce you to data collection and analysis of interviews, observations and secondary data;

  • to build your teamwork competencies, the ability to brainstorm, listen, debate and integrate perspectives through group work and collaboration;

  • introduce you to the challenges and opportunities of the contemporary world as encountered by organisations.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


This course consists of 12 online modules coupled lecture space used to support students’ collective and individual learning outcomes, and to guide on internships. All students should actively participate in all course components including guiding their teamwork i.e. discussing, writing and reviewing their case studies together with peers. This ensures growth through collaboration within case study teams and as individuals preparing to enter, belong and thrive in workplaces.

Assessment method

Assessment method and Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Case Study Structure I 20%
Case Study Culture II 30%
Final Exam 50%

End Grade

To successfully complete the course, please take note of the following:

  • The end grade of the course is established by determining the weighted average of both Case Study Grades, and Final Exam grade.

  • The weighted average of the Case Study Grades and the Final Exam grade needs to be 5.5 or higher.


If the end grade is insufficient (lower than a 6.0), there is a possibility of retaking the exam, replacing both the Final Exam grade. No resit for the Case Studies is possible.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2021 – 2022.

Exam review

How and when an exam review takes place will be determined by the examiner. This review will be within 30 days after official publication of exam results.

Reading list

To be announced.


  • Enrolment through uSis for the Lecture is mandatory.

  • Students will be enrolled for the Exam by the Administration Office, as long as they have a valid Lecture enrolment.

  • General information about uSis is available here.



  • As preparation for the world of work, this course must be taken and completed successfully in the Spring semester prior to the internship in the elective credits

  • This course can also be followed by those interested in studying management and organisation, such as students aiming for a Master in Management, Business Administration or Public Administration, and they may choose to take the course as part of their extra-curricular space.