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Organisational Design, Culture, and Workplace Preparation


Admission requirements

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


In this theory-meets-practice course, students will develop skills to analyse the structure and culture of organisations. They will be able to understand the implications of organisational design for employees, managers, and the wider society. These skills are valuable for selecting employers to work for, for sending applications, and for preparing to enter future workplaces.

Students will apply their academic knowledge from the course in practice through two case studies on the design of organisations. During the course, these case studies are done together with a writing team while being an outsider to the organisation under study. After the course, during internship these cases are written individually only now being an insider to the own workplace. Former interns indicated that this application of the knowledge to their everyday context, makes the theory and concepts “come to life”.

The course also teaches students tools to influence group development, and extends teamwork competencies before doing an internship. Students will build and revisit their team agreements (social contracts) including collectively agreed values, norms and goals of their collaboration with peers. In teamwork they will be able to practice professional communication, time management, accountability, empathy, problem solving with peers.

Classes contain guiding lectures, facilitation of case team writing and space for questions and reflection on learnings. Space is also given to valuable internship preparation activities including, how to find an internship, organise the internship package, navigate workplace encounters. During these sessions students can meet Humanities Career Services, former interns, and the internship coaches, to listen in, ask questions and benefit from offered insights and experiences.

Students may find connections with their study programme, the goal however is to add new knowledge in (critical) organisational theory with practical use. A unique aspect is learning to understand and frame organisational phenomena through two different theoretical lenses i.e. traditional/managerialist and critical, and form policy recommendations.

By preparing online modules before joining lectures, students will deepen their understanding and ensure a meaningful learning experience. Students will see key theories in action in their case studies, as they apply knowledge onto organisations selected as a team, and later on onto their internship organisation - helpful for making sense of your workplace.

Throughout its activities (e.g. classes, modules, case studies) the course aims to equip students with skills to understand the dynamics of any organisation - and so to support their socialisation and well-being in their future places of work.

Course objectives

This course aims to:

  • teach you to grasp a specific culture and structure of an organisation while searching for, and doing an internship, and so to socialise quickly into your workplace and make strong contributions as intern;

  • develop your knowledge on two theoretical perspectives in organisation theory (traditional and critical), and how to think about organisational phenomena from the perspectives of managers, employees and the wider society;

  • build your ability to analyse and evaluate the key concepts of organisational structure and organisational culture through case studies with policy recommendations;

  • to build your knowledge on group development and extend your teamwork competencies (e.g. accountability, responsibility, empathy in groupwork, and professional communication with peers, by upholding collectively agreed norms, values and goals you set in collaboration with your writing team);

  • to introduce you to data collection and analysis of secondary data, observations and an interview with an organisational member (manager or employee);

  • to connect to insights and advice on how to find an internship, and how to approach internship organisations and how to manage yourself in future workplaces.


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction


This course consists of twelve online or in person class sessions, and a small set of online modules. To benefit all students should actively participate in online and offline components of the course. All students should contribute according to their team agreement, engage in professional communication with peers, and practise accountability, responsibility and empathy in their writing team collaborations. This ensures growth through collaboration within teams and as individuals preparing to enter and thrive in their future workplaces.

Assessment method

Assessment and Weighing

Partial grade Weighing
Case Study I 20%
Case Study 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 the Final Exam grade. No resit for the Case Studies is possible.

Retaking a passing grade

Please consult the Course and Examination Regulations 2023 – 2024.

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

  • Selected chapters from core book: Work and Organizational Behaviour (4th Edition) by John Bratton.


General information about course and exam enrolment is available on the website.

Registration Exchange

For the registration of exchange students contact Humanities International Office.



  • This course must be passed in the Spring semester prior to the internship in the elective credits

  • This course can also be taken by students interested in an introduction in organisational theory (design, structure, culture) with a practical focus and group development (teamwork), and they may choose to follow the course as part of their extra-curricular space.