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Institute of Government

Tennessee State University


Spring 2003


Course Number:                     PA 631


Title:                                       Seminar In Organization Theory


Course Credit:                        Three Credits


Instructor:                              Rodney E. Stanley, Ph.D.

Office: Avon Williams Campus, Suite F-13


Phone: (615) 963 – 7249:W

                                                            (615) 746 - 4958: H

Office Hours:  Tuesday 12:00 – 5:00

                        Thursday 12:00 – 5:00


Course Description:            This course is structured in survey format in order to inform the public administration student about organizational theories and administrative behavior practices pertinent to public organizations in America.  The purpose of this course is to familiarize the student with a theoretical base for understanding the public sector in America.  Furthermore, this course will attempt to instruct the student on how to apply organizational theory to the practice of public administration.  Students will be expected to display their knowledge of “why” and “how” public organizations look and function the way they do in various discussions, presentations, papers, and in examinations.


Course Objectives:            At the end of this course the student will be able to:


1) Establish a theoretical foundation about the development and perpetual sustainability of public and non-profit organizations that the student may apply in various academic and practical endeavors throughout their professional career.


2) Bring to the attention of the student current and future trends that are emerging in the sub-field of organization theory in an effort to assist in preparing the student for problem solving in public and non-profit organizations.


3) Create analytical reasoning skills applicable to solving problems in public and non-profit organizations.


Topical Outline:                      

·        Classical Organization Theory

·        Neoclassical Organization Theory

·        Modern Structural Organization Theory

·        Systems Theory, Population Ecology, and Organizational Economics

·        Power and Politics Organization Theory

·        Organizational Culture and Reform Movements

·        Postmodernism and the Information Age

·        Human Relations School of thought

·        Management and the Behavioral Sciences

·        Individual Behavioral and Motivation

·        Leadership and Power

·        Organizational Change and Development



Teaching Strategies:            Lecture, class discussion, critical appraisal, individual presentations, annotated bibliography or organizational design, midterm and final exam.


Required Texts:


Heffron, Florence.  1989.  Organization Theory and Public Organizations:  The Political Connection.  Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.


Shafritz, Jay.  2000.  Classics of Organizational Theory.  Wadsworth Pub. Co.  ISBN: 0155068695


Rainey, Hal.  1996.  Understanding and Managing Public Organizations.  Jossey-Bass.  ISBN:  0787902519.


Course Requirements:


Annotated Bibliography                                    100 points

Design A Public or Non-profit                         100 points


One Class Presentation                                    100 points

Final Exam                                                            100 points

Participation/Attendance                                     100 points

Total                                                                        500 points


Grading Scale:              Final Grades will be premised on cumulative points as follows:

A = 500- 450; B = 449 - 399; C = 398 - 348; D = 347 - 275; F = below 274.


Individual Grading Scale:  A = 100 – 90; B = 89 – 80; C = 79 – 70; D = 69 – 60; F = below 60.


Exam:                         Each student will be required to complete a final exam.  The exam will be in class and the student will have one class period to complete the exam.  The exam will consist of several essay questions about important topics discussed throughout the semester.  A study guide will be provided to assist the student in preparing for the exam.


Annotated Bibliography:            

                                    Annotated bibliographies train the research-oriented student on the systematic process of formulating literature reviews that are used in theses and dissertations.  This is a good exercise for the student who is planning on continuing their graduate education at the doctoral level or for the student planning on writing a masters thesis.


Annotated Bibliography

The format of each article analyzed in the annotated bibliography should be as follows:

·        Citation of the Journal Article

·        The stated Problem addressed by the article           

·        The Purpose of the article

·        The Methods used to gather the data in the Article (this may not be applicable in all cases since most of the articles are theoretical arguments)

·        The Findings and Conclusions of the Article

·        Your Opinion of the validity of the Article in helping us understand public organizations and why you tend to believe this way


The overall structure of the Annotated Bibliography should be as follows:

·        Title Page

·        Table of Contents of sections with each article alphabetized

·        The summarized articles in alphabetical order

·        An analysis of the articles relating them to one another

o       Address the literature gap that warrants further research on your topic

o       An automatic letter grade will be deducted from your grade if this question is not addressed

·        Conclusion stating what we have learned from the articles

·        Bibliography

·        Citation Style: APSA, APA, or Chicago


Minimum Requirements for the Annotated Bibliography

·        At least 10 pages in length, not counting the title page but no more than 15 pages.

·        No less than 7 sources, of which can only be from referred journal articles.

·        Submit two copies of annotated bibliography of which I will return one copy graded.


Organizational Design:            The Organizational Design project is intended for the student with a career focus that is practitioner oriented.  The purpose of this project is to allow the student to conceptually form a public or non-profit organization on paper, to understand the necessary components that comprise complex organizations.


Organization Design


Minimum Requirements for the Organizational Design

·        At least 15 pages in length, not counting the title page but no more than 20 pages.

·        No less than 5 sources

·        Submit two copies of the design of which I will return one copy graded.


*** How would one these theories (the one you deem as the best explanation of public organizations) address the following issues:


Contents to be addressed in Design:

Organizational Theories:

Classical Organization Theory

Neoclassical Organization Theory

Modern Structural Organization Theory

Systems Theory

Power and Politics Organization Theory

Organizational Culture


Human Relations School

Organizational Structure (Jones Chapter 4):

Mission Statement





            Design Chart (organizational chart)

Divisions of Labor (Job Descriptions)

            Support Staff

            Production Staff

            Maintenance Staff

            Adaptive Staff

            Managerial Staff

Design Challenges:

Vertical versus Horizontal Differentiation

Differentiation versus Integration

Centralization versus Decentralization

Standardization versus Mutual Adjustment

Mechanistic versus Organic Structures

Environmental Factors:


Organizational Culture

Organizational Change


Leadership Issues:

      Leadership Style

      Authority versus Power


      Control and Conflict

      Chain of Command

Span of control

Tall versus Flat Hierarchies


            Performance Measures

            Strengths and Weaknesses of design

Others Issues you deem important


Grading Criteria for Papers & Designs:

1)      Analysis: A sufficient number of organization theory concepts are used to analyze the situation discussed in the paper;

2)      References: A variety of pertinent and timely references were sought and obtained in preparing the paper;

3)      Organization: The main points are stated clearly and arranged in a logical sequence;

4)      Coherence: The development of ideas, arguments and discussion shows consistency and logical connection;

5)      Clarity: The ideas, arguments and discussion shows consistency and logical connection;

6)      Conciseness: The language is direct and to the point, using sufficient space to say exactly what is intended and be readily understood by the reader;

7)      Grammar: The written is in standard American English, with proper sentence structure, syntax, punctuation and spelling;

8)      Drafting: The writing shows evidence of being drafted and revised before submission of the final copy.

9)      Following Directions: Identifying and addressing all components of the project the instructor outlines.

10)  Timeliness: Simply turning the project in on the specified date given by the instructor.


Class Presentations:

Each student will be required to assist in the presentation of the reading material at least once, and maybe twice in the semester (depending on the size of the class).  Groups of two to four individuals will be assigned to present the basic arguments of the literature assigned for that week and facilitate discussions regarding the literature.  Your presentations will be critiqued on how thorough you present the material, how well you project to the class, the amount of class discussion that results from your presentation (in other words try to be controversial it makes for better discussions), and the amount of time you use in your presentations (please try not to exceed 30 minutes in your presentations).  The class usually finds it helpful if you distribute an outline of your material before you begin your presentation, however this is not required.


1)      Organization – There is a structured format in which the student displays throughout the presentation.

2)      Planning – There is evidence of rehearsing and the presentation flows well and is properly paced according to time.

3)      Visual Aids – Adequate use of visual aids to assist in explanations during the presentation.

4)      Speaker Enthusiasm – Displayed adequate knowledge of the subject, and exhibited sufficient self-confidence during the presentation.

5)      Voice Projection – Good articulation, proper delivery rate, no distracting gestures (e.g., chewing gum, too many “uhs”, etc).



Students are expected to be present in order to participate in class discussions.  For every absence the instructor will deduct 10 points from the students participation and attendance grade. Excessive absences will lead to a substantial lowering of a student’s grade. General criteria used to assess class participation include:


1)      Content Mastery: Students must display an understanding of facts, concepts, and theories presented in the assigned readings and lectures.  This ability is the basis for all higher-level skills and must be made evident by classroom comments and/or response to questions.

2)      Communication Skills: Students must be able to inform others in an intelligent manner what she/he knows.  Ideas must be communicated clearly and persuasively.  Communication skills include listening to others and understanding what they have said, responding appropriately, asking questions in a clear manner, avoiding rambling discourses or class domination, using proper vocabulary pertinent to the discussion, building on the ideas of others, etc.

3)      Synthesis/Integration: Students must illuminate the connections between the material under consideration and other bodies of knowledge.  For example, one could take several ideas from the reading or class discussions and combine them to produce a new perspective on an issue, or one could take outside materials and combine them to create new insights.  Students who probe the interdisciplinary roots of the theories presented or who are able to view the author or the materials from several viewpoints demonstrate this skill.

4)      Creativity: Students must demonstrate that they have mastered the basic material and have gone on to produce their own insights.  A simple repetition of ideas from the articles will not suffice, nor will simply commenting on what others have said.  Students must go beyond the obvious by bringing their own beliefs and imagination to bear.  Creativity may be displayed by showing further implications of the material, by applying it to a new field, or by finding new ways of articulating the materials, which produce significant insights.

5)      Valuing: Students should be able to identify the value inherent in the material studied.  The underlying assumptions of the author should be identified.  Furthermore, students should be able to articulate their own positions by reference to basic underlying values.  Students must not simply feel something is wrong or incorrect; they must be able to state why, based on some hierarchy of values.  In either accepting or rejecting a position, the operative values must become explicit.

6)      General Enthusiasm and Interest in the Class: This can be shown by regularity of attendance and thoughtful insights given throughout the semester in class discussions.


*** All papers (including organization design paper) should use the following format: Times New Roman, 12 point font, 1” margins from left to right and top to bottom, and double spaced.  Late projects will automatically be reduced one letter grade for each day they are late.


Note: Following explicit directions are an important aspect of graduate school training.  Therefore, it is important that the student follow the stated guidelines in this syllabus, throughout the course of this class, because failure to do so will result in point reductions.  Furthermore, it will probably be to your best interest to submit papers to me before the due date (at least two weeks), so I can make suggestions on how you might want to change your work in order to receive a higher grade.


Accommodations for Students with Disabilities: Any students who feel the need for academic accommodations due to a recognized disability by the TSU Handbook, will be given such adjustments only after the student goes through the proper channels at the university to receive such accommodations.  The TSU Handbook is a good place to start if you are unaware of the “proper procedures.”


*** Note this syllabus is subject to change at the discretion of the instructor.


Course Outline

Week One

            Class Introduction

            Requirements For the Course

Week Two

            Rainey Chapters 1& 2

Week Three

            Rainey Chapters 3& 4

Week Four

            Rainey Chapters 5& 6

Week Five     

Rainey Chapters 7& 8

Week Six

            Rainey Chapters 9 & 10

Week Seven

            Rainey Chapters 11& 12       

Week Eight

            Rainey Chapters 13& 14

            Annotated Bibliographies are due

Week Nine

            Heffron 1 -2

Week Ten

            Heffron 3 -4

Week Eleven

            Heffron 5 -6

Week Twelve

            Heffron 7 -8

Week Thirteen

Heffron 9 -10    

Week Fourteen

            Heffron 11

Week Fifteen

            Additional Readings

Week Sixteen


Week Seventeen

Final Exam

            Organizational Design Projects are due








Student Presentation Evaluation Forms


100            Superior, outstanding                            50            Not quite what was expected

90        Very Good                                       40            Less than expected

80        Much Better Than Expected                      30            Much less than expected

70        Better Than Expected                         20            Considerably less than expected

60        What was expected                           10            Pure charity


Name: ________________________________________________________________


Topic: ________________________________________________________________


Factor                                      Strong                                                 Weak

                                                            Comments:                                           Comments:


1) Organization (20)                              _______________________________________


2) Planning (20)                              _______________________________________


3) Visual Aids            (20)                              _______________________________________


4) Speaker Enthusiasm (20)                  _______________________________________


5) Voice Projection (20)             _______________________________________



Overall Grade: _____________ (50/Perfect Score)








Grading Criteria for Papers & Designs


100            Superior, outstanding                            50            Not quite what was expected

90        Very Good                                       40            Less than expected

80        Much Better Than Expected                      30            Much less than expected

70        Better Than Expected                         20            Considerably less than expected

60        What was expected                           10            Pure charity


Name: ________________________________________________________________


Title: _____________________________________________________________________________


                                                            Comments:                                           Comments:


1) Analysis: (10)                              _______________________________________


2) References: (10)                              _______________________________________


3) Organization: (10)                              _______________________________________


4) Coherence: (10)                              _______________________________________


5) Clarity: (10)                                    _______________________________________


6) Conciseness: (10)                              _______________________________________


7) Grammar: (10)                              _______________________________________


8) Drafting: (10)                              _______________________________________


9) Following Directions: (10)                  _______________________________________


10) Timeliness: (10)                              _______________________________________


Overall Grade: _____________ (100/Perfect Score)