Organizations are changing rapidly. To deal with these changes requires new skills and attitudes on the part of managers. The goal of the Leading Organizations course is to make you aware of this challenge and equip you to better meet it. In short, the purpose is to acquaint you with some of psychological and sociological phenomena that regularly occur in organizations – the less visible forces that influence employee and managerial behavior.

The aim is to increase your understanding of these forces – in yourself and in others – so that as they become more visible, they become manageable (more or less) and hence subject to analysis and choice. We will look at these issues from individual, group and organizational points of view and organize our treatment of managerial thought and action from several analytic perspectives - namely, the strategic design, political and cultural perspectives.

The subject is taught in a multi-method fashion. There will be lectures and readings. There will be learning group meetings with observers and observer feedback (a process initiated in Lotte Bailyn's 15.321 summer course). There will be four short papers that will allow you to collect and analyze your reflections and observations. These papers will be collected in class on the date due.

There will not be any examinations or letter grades (although it is possible to get a D or F). But there will be lots of feedback on the papers and in the learning groups. I expect all of you to do the readings and assignments in spite of the fact that I will not test you on them through the traditional methods. You will only get as much out of this subject as you invest in it. Much of the learning is what you can teach each other, so it will be up to everyone to attend all sessions and get fully involved.

Students receive only one grade for 15.321, Leading Organizations I, and this course.




Schein, Edgar H. Career Anchors: Discovering Your Real Values. San Diego, CA: University Associates, 1990. (Workbook)

Van Maanen, John. Tales of the Field. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press, 1988. (Optional)

Bailyn, Lotte. Breaking the Mold. New York, NY: Free Press, 1993. (Optional)

Course Binder. (Available at the campus copy center)

Other, to be distributed in class.

For a list of all readings by class session, see the readings page.