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BUS2019 : Understanding Work and Organisations

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Sara Zaeemdar
  • Lecturer: Dr Ewan Mackenzie, Professor Steve Vincent, Mx Robin Brown
  • 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


The module aims to build upon students' basic understanding of management, work and organisations. It seeks to assist 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. The module 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, 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, Labour Process Theory, Gender, Work and Organisation, and Critical Perspectives on Power and Politics.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion160:0060:00Time for students to complete formative and summative coursework & assessments
Structured Guided LearningLecture materials11:001:00Recorded material - Sem1 Assessment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture251:0025:00PiP lectures
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading166:0066:00Estimated based on 3 hours per teaching week (not necessarily to do in that week)
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching61:006:00PiP Seminars
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study138:0038:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time21:002:00Pre-assessment clinics, one in each Semester
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time40:302:00Q&A drop-in sessions, two in each semester
Jointly Taught With
Code Title
BUS2021Work and Organisations
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

The lectures provide the students with a theoretical 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. Additional support will be provided through scheduled online contact time to enhance student learning.

Assessment Methods

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

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination902A50Should a move to online assessment be necessary, the exam format can be altered to 24 hour take-home exam
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Essay1M502,000 words.
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written Examination1MShort 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.

Reading Lists