Topic outline

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    Dates and time: Periods III-IV
    Tuesdays (9.1-13.2) at 12 – 14 @ TU5
    Fridays (12.1-16.2) at 12-14 @ TU7

    Group project presentations:
    Friday 15.3 at 12-15 @ AS6

    Course staff:

    Instructor:      Frank Martela
    Course assistant – grading essays:
    Aracely Soto-Simeone

    In any technical issues, first point of contact is TBA



    In this course, the focus is on developing knowledge, competences, and practical experience on how established and nascent companies can foster their adaptability and creativity by reconfiguring their structures and practices toward value-creating and value-protecting opportunities. Drawing on the perspectives of organizational design, organizational culture, organizational practices, and strategic entrepreneurship students will learn to apply frameworks and tools needed to: a) analyze the impact of organizational structures, organizational cultures, and practices on organizational adaptability and creativity, b) design organizational structures and cultures that foster and maintain adaptive and creative ways of working, and c) organize and coordinate bottom-up initiatives to facilitate change. The course acknowledges that and explores how both employees (bottom-up processes) and managers (top-down processes) are equally involved in this process by employing their agency.

    Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

    1. demonstrate knowledge and comprehension of the seminal and latest academic research in organizational design, organizational culture, organizational practices, organizational change, and strategic entrepreneurship;
    2. analyze, evaluate, and reflect upon how established companies and startups can design and implement processes and practices that allow them to adapt to changing environments and achieve sustainability;
    3. analyze, evaluate, and reflect upon the mindset, skills, and capabilities employees and managers require working in and design, respectively, adaptive and creative organizations;
    4. apply analytical techniques, tools and frameworks taught in the class on a company-based group project to produce original work in evaluating how a company addresses its redesigning challenges; and
    5. reflect upon how you personally can act as a designer of organizational practices that foster creativity and change within existing companies or startups.

    Furthermore, through the completion of this course, students will have practiced:

    • Analytical skills in defining and solving problems
    • Decision-making skills
    • Research skills
    • Reflection skills
    • Learning by doing from a real business experience
    • Group management and teamwork skills 
    • Communication and presentation skills
    • Networking among Finnish companies

    This course will be particularly valuable to students who are interested in business development functions, consulting in change management and strategy implementation, organizational transformation, development of work practices, and human resource functions. The course enables students to be more effective designers of coordination and change to any organizations they join, whether large, established companies or startups.




    Lectures:                                                                 Assignments:

    Tue 9.1:        Introduction + What is an organization?

    Thu 11.1 Individual essay I

    Fri 12.1:        Designing Goal, Strategy & Environment

    Formation of group assignment teams

    Tue 16.1:          Designing the Structure

    Thu 18.1 Individual essay II

    Fri 19.1:        GUEST lecture: Tuomas Syrjänen, Futurice

    Tue 23.1:      New forms of organizing

    Thu 25.1 Individual essay III

    Fri 26.1         Designing Leadership, People & Culture + Incentives, coordination & ICT

    Group project outline DL: Mon 29.1

    Tue 30.1       GUEST lecture: Touko Tahkokallio, Stellar Core Games

    Thu 1.2 Individual essay IV

    Fri 2.2           GUEST lecture: Hannakaisa Länsisalmi, OP

    Tue 6.2          GUEST lecture: Jori Mäkkeli - Design Process

     Thu 8.2 Individual essay V

    Fri 9.2            Conclusion

    Tue 13.2.       NO LECTURE

    Group project progress memo DL: Mon 4.3

     Fri 15.3        Group project presentations

    Group project final deliverable DL: Fri 22.3




    Course requirements and grading


    This course requires approximately 130 working hours. It consists of the following parts:

    • 10 lectures * 2 hours             (20 hours)
    • 5 individual essays                (15-20 hours)
    • Team work on the group project + presentation    (55-60 hours)
    • Independent study time and time to think (30-35 hours)

    There are three forms of assessment with which the students need to engage to pass the course:
    a) Individual-level assessment based on the submission of individual essays (40% of the final grade)
    b) Group-level assessment based on contribution and participation in a group project (40% of the final grade)
    c) Attending the lectures (20% of the final grade)

    The evaluation criteria of the submitted work (individual essays and deliverable of the group project) for the assessment of this course include four areas: 
    understandingdepth of knowledgestructure, and overall evaluation. Each criterion is of equal importance and weight in calculating the final grade of each assessment. Each criterion is assessed on a scale from (0-49%) to (90-100%). Non-submitted essays are graded with 0.


    Class sessions:

    The class session will provide you with theoretical tools and background to understand organizational design, accompanied by discussion and individual and team exercises. The sessions will thus cover topics not included in the reading materials and involve exercises that can’t be done outside of the class. Thus, participation in class discussions is an important part of learning in this course, and it is strongly encouraged that the students should plan to attend every session to get as much as possible out of this course

    While class sessions are not mandatory, 20% of final grade is determined by class attendance, making attendance important if the aim is to attain a good grade.


    Individual essays:

    The course includes five individual essays that offer the student a chance to reflect on various key topics covered in the lectures and in the course readings. Each essay should be concise (between 250-400 words) and will be evaluated on a scale from 1-5.

    More detailed instructions and the deadlines for essays on the corresponding MyCourses page.


    Group project:

    The course includes a group project where students, in groups of 5-6, will examine a company of their choice by making interviews and analyzing how the company has attempted to design its work processes and structures to foster innovation and agility. To complete the tasks, the team will need to gain access to 1 to 3 managers at a company (of medium or large size) that has been innovative. Feedback will be provided for the groups on the way. The deadline for the final deliverable will be Friday 22th of March.

    More detailed instructions and the deadlines for project outline and progress memo will be found on the corresponding MyCourses page.