Module Catalogue 2020/21

BUS2019 : Understanding Work and Organisations

  • Offered for Year: 2020/21
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sara Zaeemdar
  • Demonstrator: Mr Robin Brown
  • Lecturer: Professor Steve Vincent
  • Owning School: Newcastle University Business School
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 1 Credit Value: 10
Semester 2 Credit Value: 10
ECTS Credits: 10.0
Pre Requisites
Code Title
BUS1001Introduction to Management and Organisation
BUS1015Management and Organisation
Pre Requisite Comment

BUS1015 for students from N200
BUS1001 for students from other programmes

Co Requisites
Co Requisite Comment



The module aims to build upon students' basic understanding of management, work and organisations. It seeks to help students to understand various issues in the analysis of work and organisations, by providing a broader perspective upon the social, political and economic context of work and organisation. It aims to help students to critically examine mainstream management theories, and their underlying assumptions, and to compare these with the reality of work in contemporary organisations.

Outline Of Syllabus

The module explores the issues in studying work and organisations. The contrast between the mainstream management theory ‘Rhetoric’ and the ‘Reality of Work’ is, in particular, explored and examined through the syllabus:

The image of work and organisations portrayed by the mainstream management theories (e.g. Scientific Management, Bureaucracy, Post-Bureaucracy, Culture, and Change Management), will be compared to, and contrasted with, the examples of contemporary work and employment practices (e.g. Digital Taylorism and Amazon, Gig Economy and Uber, Hyper-Flexibility and Personal Training, Globalisation and Fast Fashion).

Alternative and critical perspectives on understanding work and organisations will be introduced and explored. These include Paradigms of Knowledge Creation, McDonaldization, Labour Process Theory, and Critical perspectives on Politics, Power and Control.

Learning Outcomes

Intended Knowledge Outcomes

On completion of the module, students will be able to:

1. Identify and critically evaluate the classical and contemporary approaches to the analysis of work and organisations;
2. Appreciate the factors that influence the relatively stable and the relatively unpredictable aspects of everyday work, organising, and managing;
3. Critically evaluate the complexities of work practices and management in global and socially connected organisations.

Intended Skill Outcomes

On completion of the module, students will be able to:

1. Collate and critically analyse information relevant to studying work and organisations;
2. Apply management and organisation theory to interpret current work and organisational practices;
3. Demonstrate critical thinking and independent learning skills.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion164:0064:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture281:0028:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading150:0050:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesDrop-in/surgery21:002:00Formative feedback session
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study150:0050:00N/A
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
BUS2021Work and Organisations
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures provide the students with a framework upon which they can develop their understanding of work and organisations. The seminars provide opportunities for evaluating the practical implications of the learnt management and organisation theory, in real work and organisational context.

Reading Lists

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50N/A
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502,000 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written Examination1MShort Quiz
Written Examination2MShort Quiz
Written exercise1Messay plan (linked to summative assessment Essay) in semester 1
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The essay will assess and provide feedback upon students' understanding of the organisation theory presented in the module. The exam will assess students' overall understanding of knowledge and issues presented in the module.


Past Exam Papers

General Notes


Disclaimer: The information contained within the Module Catalogue relates to the 2020/21 academic year. In accordance with University Terms and Conditions, the University makes all reasonable efforts to deliver the modules as described. Modules may be amended on an annual basis to take account of changing staff expertise, developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback. Module information for the 2021/22 entry will be published here in early-April 2021. Queries about information in the Module Catalogue should in the first instance be addressed to your School Office.