15.342J | Fall 2004 | Graduate

Organizations and Environments


Class Participation

20% of the grade. This course is organized as a seminar; thus your co-operation and willingness to participate actively are critical for creating the best learning environment. Come to class prepared to answer the following questions regarding each of the readings:

  • What is the basic argument, and what are its strengths and weaknesses?
  • If you disagree with the argument, what would it take to convince you?
  • Under what circumstances and for what kinds of organizations is the argument meant to apply?
  • What changes would be necessary to extend the argument to other empirical domains?
  • What are the similarities and differences between this argument and others put forward by readings in the same and in previous weeks? and
  • What, if any, alternative explanations could account for the empirical material?

Learning is a collective enterprise, so everybody will benefit from an engaged, intense, and constructive conversation.

Brief Weekly Memos

40% of the grade. You will be asked to write concise memos relating to the reading for each week (except for the first memo, due one day before week 2, which should discuss readings for weeks 1 and 2). Maximum length of the memos is 700 words; memos exceeding this word limit will be returned for revision. Different formats could be used, but it is useful to include items such as:

  • Ideas and arguments found stimulating,
  • Questions, concerns and disagreements with the main claims of each text, and
  • Connections, similarities and differences among the various texts.

Memos will be due by noon on the Sunday prior to each class. Send them to me via email as both part of the body of the message and as an attachment.

Term Paper

40% of the grade. You will be asked to write a paper discussing at least one of the frameworks or issues addressed during the course. The maximum length of the paper is 6,000 words, including references, figures, tables and notes. Papers exceeding this word limit will be returned for revision. The paper can take any number of formats, including:

  • A literature review of any of the frameworks or issues discussed in the course,
  • A theoretical piece linking two or more of the frameworks and issues,
  • The conceptual part of a research design (for the second-year paper, dissertation proposal, etc.), and
  • An empirical piece examining new material or re-interpreting already collected data.

To help you in the research and writing for this assignment, it will be structured in the following steps:

  • Before lecture 6: Meet with me to discuss possible topics.
  • Lecture 9: A 2-page outline of the paper is due (send it via email to me as both part of the body of the message and as an attachment).
  • One week after lecture 11: The final paper is due at noon (leave a hard copy in my mailbox, and send me an electronic copy via email attachment).

Note: The weekly memos and the term paper should be prepared in accordance with the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association:

American Psychological Association Staff. Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association. 4th ed. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association_,_ 1994. ISBN: 1557982414.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2004