Organizational Theory

Organizational Theory

Individual Assignment:

Aims of the assignment
The aims of this assignment are for you to:
1.    Develop your understanding of the nature of the key organisational perspectives and their related theories;
2.    Demonstrate an understanding of the key perspectives and the meta-theoretical assumptions that underpin each;
3.    Develop research skills and the ability to assess the strengths and weaknesses of various debates and arguments;
4.    Gain skills in the written presentation of an argument, including the ways in which scholars incorporate and acknowledge the ideas of other writers.
Key Criteria for Assessment:
For this assignment your essay will be assessed on the extent to which it demonstrates:
•    Your ability to conduct research and use it to develop an argument/answer that will discipline your response.
•    Your ability to write a clear, compelling, well-presented and properly referenced response to the question.
•    Your ability to directly respond to all of the key issues raised by the question asked.
•    The ability to move past description to analysis; to move past a focus on who, what, when and how questions to also answer the associated why questions.
•    The ability to provide your own answer to the question in your own words

The Question To Be Answered:
Choose two of the four organisational theory perspectives and discuss how and why they provide us with alternative ways of understanding and analysing Coca-Cola and its relationship with its organisational environment.  Draw upon the required textbook and Coca-Cola readings, and your own research to answer the question.
Answering the Question:

You must focus explicitly on the key issues identified in the question.
You must substantiate your research with references to scholarly sources, i.e. peer reviewed journals.

You must consider at least two of the four perspectives (modernism, symbolic, postmodern and critical theory).

1.    You must make use of required readings. They have been selected because they provide the essential material required to answer the question. You will lose marks if you fail to use them.
Recommended readings have also been provided. Before you begin to look for additional reading you should first acquire a good understanding of the basics from the textbook, the required readings and recommended readings. Once you acquire this understanding you can then look for other material.

Required readings for the Coca-Cola Case Study:
1.    Gopinath and Prasad, “Toward a critical framework for understanding MNE operations: Revisiting Coca Cola’s exit from India, Organization 20(2), pp.212-232
2.    Ciafone, A., 2012 “If ‘Thanda Matlab Coca Cola’ Then ‘Cold Drink Means Toilet Cleaner’: Environmentalism of the Dispossessed in Liberalizing India” International Labour and Working-Class History, v.81, pp.114-135
3.    Moses, C.T., Vest, D., 2010 “Coca Cola and PepsiCo in South Aftrica: A Landmark Case in Corporate Social Responsibility, Ethical Dilemmas and the Challenges of International Business” Journal of African Business v.11, pp.235-251.
4.    Gill, L. “‘Right There with You’ Coca Cola, Labor Restructuring and Political Violence in Colombia” Critique of Anthropology Vol 27(3), pp. 235-260.
5.    Barkay, T., “When Business and Community Meet: A Case Study of Coca Cola” Critical Sociology 39(2), pp.277-293.
6.    Ravi Raman, K., 2007, “Community – Coca Cola Interface; Political-Anthropological Concerns on CSR” Social Analysis 51(3) pp. 103-120
7.    Regassa, H., & Corradino, L. (2011). Determining the value of the Coca Cola–A Case Analysis. Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, 17(7).

A failure to follow this and the following instructions will have a significant negative impact on your marks.

Presentation/Structure of your answer/essay:
Introduction:
In this section you must provide an overview of your answer to the question; provide answers to the key what and why questions of your argument/answer. These should take the form of direct responses to the key issues raised by the question. Your argument should be informed by a critical analysis/engagement with the content of the essential readings.
Please keep in mind that in all sections of your response you must move past description to analysis, this means providing answers to the why questions that emerge from your key statements.
Exploration of your argument:
In this section of the essay you need to accomplish two tasks.
First, you must explore the key perspectives showing how each perspective’s theoretical and metatheoretical approaches lead them to provide different insights into organisations and their relationship to  their environment.
Second, having demonstrated an understanding of the perspectives and their theoretical approaches to understanding the relationship between an organisation and its environment you then need to discuss how these understandings lead to different understandings about Coca-Cola and its organisational environment.  You should draw upon the required Coca-Cola readings and additional readings on Coca-Cola you find.  As you will discover by the required readings, each is influenced by a different perspective.  For each of the required readings you should be able to identify and discuss which perspective is being applied to analyse Coca-Cola and its relationship to its environment.  You will want to choose the readings most relevant to the perspectives you have chosen to focus on in your essay.
You can address the above, two tasks sequentially; beginning with an exploration of the how and why of each of the chosen perspectives (ontology and epistemology), and second: an exploration of the positions advanced by two of the perspectives (modernist, symbolic interpretivist, critical theory and postmodernism) in relation to how organisations and the environment is conceived, identified and written about in relation to the Coca-Cola case study.
The two alternatives outlined above will enable you to present a clear direct and disciplined response to the question.
The whole response must be informed by an engagement with essential readings. You must draw upon and evaluate academic debates and arguments. This is not to be viewed as an exercise in which you simply discuss Coca-Cola or make up a response off-the-top-of-your-head nor is it one in which you focus on description and ignore analysis.  While you should draw upon examples from your readings of Coca-Cola this should be done to illustrate differences in perspectives both theoretically and practically as they relate to understanding  organisations and their relationship to their environment.
Conclusion:
You must conclude with your general answer to the question. It should reiterate the key argument/answer to the question provided in the introduction and indicate to what extent it has been supported or challenged by your analysis of the debates and arguments of other authors.

Additional Guidance:
1.    This essay is designed to develop your knowledge of the theoretical perspectives, to build your understanding that each perspective is underpinned by different assumptions that lead to different ways of understanding organisations.   Given their ontological and epistemological underpinnings, each perspective has different ways of conceptualising different aspects of organisations.  You must demonstrate your understanding of the perspectives and how they relate to an understanding of organisations.
2.    It is better to avoid using headings in an essay, but if you must, please keep them to a minimum and ensure that they enhance rather than undermine your argument.
3.    This essay question has been designed to encourage you to prepare and present your individual analysis.  There is no single ‘right’ answer.  Markers will be looking for evidence that you have read broadly, including the provided material, and have synthesised the material to develop your own answer/ argument. The markers will also expect you to answer the question in your own words.
4.    Do not try to cover every single detail; you only have 2000 words so concentrate on the major points rather than fine details.
5.    You can make use of the Web sources, but they need to be reliable sources- Wikipedia is not a reliable source of information.  We encourage you to make use of journal articles which can be found via a range of library databases. I suggest you use Expanded Academic ASAP (Gale) database which is located through the Databases section of the library website because it allows you to search a range of journals using keywords. You will find an enormous amount of relevant literature.  You can also do author searches which can be helpful to locate recent articles by scholars mentioned in the textbook.  We also encourage you to make use of the references and further reading suggested by the textbook at the end of each chapter. ‘Citation Linker’ found through the library website is a useful tool to locate some of the journal articles mentioned in the textbook. There is a lot of information out there regarding the topic.
6.    Students are NOT allowed to use lecture notes as reference materials.
7.    You should look at the assessment sheet found in the course guide.  It will give you a feel for the sorts of things we will be assessing.
8.    You should also look at the other part of the course guide which outlines the differences between the grades -i.e. what separates a ‘P’ from a ‘C’.
9.    A key point to remember in answering the questions is not to be overly descriptive.  In answering the question you will need to develop an argument. An argument requires ‘expressing a point of view on a subject and supporting it with evidence’ (see http://www.unc.edu/depts/wcweb/handouts/argument.html) The basic components of an argument include:
•    Making a claim (informed by relevant organisational perspectives and/or theories)
•    Supporting your claim with evidence
•    Recognising and engaging with counterclaims

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