Credits: 6

Schedule: 06.09.2019 - 20.12.2019

Contact information for the course (applies in this implementation): 

Professor Eero Vaara
Course assistant Joona Koistinen

contact by email:

Details on the course content (applies in this implementation): 

Learning Outcomes

The course provides an overview of contemporary perspectives in organization theory for doctoral students interested in organizations and management studies. During the course, the students will learn the basics of specific theories and approaches and how to be able to use them in theory-building.


The course consists of a series of sessions focusing on specific theories and approaches. These sessions are:

  • Introduction to organization theory
  • Behavioral perspectives
  • Strategic and design perspectives
  • Environmental perspectives
  • Institutional perspectives
  • Interpretative and sensemaking perspectives
  • Discursive and narrative perspectives
  • Change and historical perspectives
  • Future of organization theory
  • Contributing to organization theory (concluding session)

Further Information

The course is primarily for doctoral students in Organization and Management. The recommendation is that they take this course during the first year in the program.

Elaboration of the evaluation criteria and methods, and acquainting students with the evaluation (applies in this implementation): 

Assessment Methods and Criteria

Requirements for the successful completion of the course: Active and informed participation in all sessions; work on eight short papers and their presentation in class; a term paper on the theoretical foundations of one’s research project.

The short papers are reflections on the prescribed readings (appr. 5 pages each). The short papers are not summaries of the readings but should focus on the connections between the readings, synthesize and argue instead of repeating what the authors have already said.

The term papers (appr. 10 pages) should focus on the question: “What are the theoretical foundations of my research project?”

Grading Scale


Details on calculating the workload (applies in this implementation): 

  • 8 sessions with short papers -> 8*13 h ~ 4 ECTS
  • Preparing the presentations + 2 sessions without short papers -> 27 h ~ 1 ECTS
  • Term paper -> 27 h ~ 1 ECTS

Details on the course materials (applies in this implementation): 

Study Material

The study material consists of prescribed readings (4-6 journal articles per session) that will be available on the course website.

Details on the schedule (applies in this implementation): 

Short papers and presentations based on the readings are submitted before each session (excl. first and last sessions). The term paper is submitted in December.

  1. Introduction to organization theory 6.9
  2. Behavioral perspectives 13.9
  3. Strategic and design perspectives 27.9
  4. Environmental perspectives 4.10
  5. Institutional perspectives 11.10
  6. Interpretative and sensemaking perspectives 25.10
  7. Discursive and narrative perspectives 8.11
  8. Change and historical perspectives 15.11
  9. Future of organization theory 22.11
  10. Conclusion 29.11


Registration and further information