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MBA MPIO Group Assignment 2017-18

Managing People in Organizations Group Assignment 2017-18


“Organizations in the contemporaneous world have to adapt and innovate in order to compete if they are firms, or to meet society’s growing supposition if they are public service providers. It has become increasingly obvious that normal forms or organizations are not well suited to support these requirements, and a spectrum of alternative approaches is therefore being tried out. These alternatives are usually described as ‘new organizational forms’” (Child, 2015)

Drawing on theory and organizational literature, critically assess the structures of two organizations you are familiar with (50%) With reference to your analysis in part (a) evaluate what would be required for these organizations to transition to a ‘new organizational form’ (50%)

The motive of this assignment is for students to use their learning from the module ‘Managing People in Organisations’ to evaluate a current organizational challenge – the design of the organizational structure. Following completion of the MBA, students will take on senior leadership roles in organizations or set up their own companies. Consideration of how to structure the organization will be a key leadership decision.

Part (a) requires groups to evaluate organizations they are familiar with critically. Organisational design topics which could be estimated:

  • Hierarchy – the degree of span and layers in the organizations under consideration
  • Levels of integration between teams, particularly evaluating information & communication technologies in the organizations
  • How the organizations being reviewed exert control; strategic versus operational levels of power, extent, focus and the mechanism of control, etc
  • The pay and reward policies of the organizations

Part (b) requires students to undertake expanded reading beyond Bolman and Deal to display their knowledge of the literature on ‘modern’ organizational forms:

  • Networking between firms
  • The outsourcing of activities to external contractors
  • The move to ‘virtual’ organizations based on e-commerce
  • Formation of strategic alliances, joint ventures, and collaborative networks
  • The challenge or organizing across national boundaries – possible impact of organizational structures post-Brexit.

You should consider whether there is appropriate evidence available to you before selecting your choice of company/ organization. There is no point in choosing companies for which you cannot find any information.

Evidence in this context may include a very wide range of material. It may be formal organizational documentation (internal or external), informal communications, notice of events/ opportunities as well as anecdotal ‘reports’ or stories.

The assignment must normally be carried out in a group of either 3 or 4 students. Each group can either meet in person or operate on a virtual basis. In some MBA delivery modes, you will be allocated to a group. In others, you will be able to form your group. You will be advised by either the MBA administrative staff or your Local Counsellor about your specific group arrangements.

Assignment Advice

  • The topic requires analysis of a company or organizational evidence, either from your company/ organization or similar sources.
  • The topic requires a comparison of organizational structure across at least two organizations
  • The topic requires an analysis of company/ organizational structure in light of the theory identified in the literature
  • You may draw on a variety of sources for information/data, including

  • documents, e.g., company reports, vision statements, strategic plans, human resource plans, advertisements, job descriptions
  • participant observation, e.g., what you observe/have experienced in your
  • company employee surveys
  • any relevant national surveys by the government, academics, employers’ organizations, employees organizations or other reputable organizations
  • interviews with leaders, managers, colleagues
  • articles in reputable newspapers or business publications
  • Importantly, your work should be academically informed and appropriately referenced. All sources informing your work should be listed in a bibliography.

Recommended Background Reading

  • “Organization: Contemporary Principles and Practice” by John Child, 2nd Edition, 2015
  • The book is available via the university online library as an eBook. Click HERE to be taken to the ebook – you will need to sign in.

Word limit

  • Groups of 3 students – 3500 words (plus or minus 10%).
  • Groups of 4 students – 4000 words (plus or minus 10%).

Remember: if you substantially exceed the word limit, your tutor may not accept your assignment for marking. Appendices are acceptable.


Students will be advised of the date for submitting the assignment and the submission arrangements for their particular class.

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