Rotman School of Management

Main Content

Organizational Behaviour and Human Resource Management

Organization Design

Instructor

Jim Fisher

Target Audience

Students interested in learning how organizations work – or why they so often work so badly.

Course Mission

The purpose of this course is to make you aware of the way organizations are designed—familiar with organization design concepts and principles and able to see the limitations and constraints that the design puts on the functioning of the organization. If you are aware of these things you will be able to be more effective in your own work, more effective in dealing with other organizations as suppliers or customers, and ultimately more effective at designing an organization for which you have responsibility.

Therefore my goals for the course are for you to:

  1. Understand how organizations are put together;
  2. Use your awareness of how organizations function to be more effective in your job;
  3. Have the tools to organize a work unit for which you are responsible.

Course Scope

This course focuses on the role of organization design in the implementation of business strategies. The flow of the course is from the challenges of a traditional organization facing current day pressures to those of the newer organizations that could only exist in the information age. We will also contrast the challenges of leading a smaller company with those of leading a large multi-divisional corporation. At the same time, we will move from classical design principles to the more recent, but now well-proven ideas of the last few decades.

Because of my real-world bias, it is important that as you read the cases, you pay particular attention to the business situation confronting the protagonists. Organizations exist to do something. In their simplest form, business organizations exist to make a profitable sale. Pay attention to the financials. Pay attention to the challenges the company is facing in its environment: demands of customers; competitive pressures; technological challenges and opportunities. In every case discussion we will not move onto the organization design issues until we have a point of view on the business challenges that are being confronted.

Aligning People and Strategy

Instructor

Maria Rotundo

Target Audience

This course is designed for graduate students who have an interest in learning about new paradigms for managing human capital. Students successfully completing this course will better understand the role of human capital management practices in the strategic management process, and how to align these practices to support the firm’s strategic direction. Students will develop their skills at recruiting, selecting, evaluating, and retaining human capital. 

Course Mission and Scope

In our increasingly competitive, dynamic, and global business environment, a firm’s ability to attract, develop, and retain talent has become one of the primary drivers of success and a major source of its competitive advantage. Because the management of human capital is becoming less of a functional responsibility and more of manager’s responsibility, the concepts that are learned and the skills that are developed in this course are applicable for many positions in a wide variety of organizations.

The course is divided into four modules: aligning people and strategy, hiring talent, retention, and organizational change. Through these modules the course examines the techniques, strategies, and practices used by companies to effectively and efficiently leverage their human capital in local and emerging markets and while undergoing organizational change. Through exercises, case discussion, guest speakers, in-class presentations, videos, and assignments, the course will provide you with the opportunity to learn the basic concepts and theories underlying these practices and to develop your skills in these areas. 

Managing Talent for Global Operations

Instructor

Anil Verma

Target Audience

Students interested in managing within the “international” context will find this course useful. It will prepare participants in recognizing and meeting the challenges and exploiting the opportunities in global operations.

Course Mission

The main objectives of this course are to equip participants with a basic tool set that will make them effective in managing within the international context.

Course Scope

  1. How do firms organize themselves: Models of Going Global/International
    • Ethnocentric
    • Polycentric
  2. Working across cultures
  3. Understanding and communicating across cultures
  4. Creating effective multi-cultural teams
  5. Controlling International Operations: centralization vs. decentralization
  6. Diffusion of innovation: how can the international firm be better off compared to a totally centralized or decentralized firm?
  7. Attracting and retaining talent internationally
  8. Compensation for the international talent
  9. Training for knowledge transfer
  10. Evaluating performance of international talent
  11. Challenges of international diversity in context for business
    • Labour standards
    • Corporate Social Responsibility
  12. The International Firm and Global Development

Leading Social Innovation

Instructor

Nouman Ashraf

Target Audience

This course will be of interest to second year students who are interested in applying and integrating insights from various disciplines such as finance, strategy, organizational behavior and leadership to the social economy. The most successful participants will be those curious about understanding emergent models of leadership, impact measurement, stakeholder engagement and systems-wide change. Previous experience in the not-for-profit and public sectors is not all necessary; however, a passion for integrating across traditional silos to solve wicked problems a key asset. 

Course Mission and Scope

The social economy represents a formidable segment within society, both in terms of financial capital ($112 Billion under management) and the social benefit that it contributes to society through effective management. Hence, the articulation of a consistent vision, management of organizational reputation, attraction and retention of diverse membership and ongoing professional development become critical factors of success.

Most MBA students will interact with this sector as consultants, volunteers, donors, beneficiaries or as leaders of its myriad facets. This course will explore conventional approaches and new emergent models that tackle wicked problems, and more importantly apply the rigour of management theory and practice to them. This course is intended to broaden participants’ knowledge of and ability to impact this sector thorough actively engaging with the most recent theories and frameworks, coupled with guest speakers who bring the contemporary perspective on innovations within the sector. 

Managing Gender and Diversity in Organizations

Instructor

Jennifer L. Berdahl

Target Audience

This course is designed for students who want to learn how to manage gender and other forms of social and cultural diversity in organizations. Students will become familiar with demographic trends and facts facing today’s organizations, related employment law, best practices for hiring and promotion in order to maintain and leverage benefits of organizational diversity, theories and research on how gender and diversity affect organizational interaction and performance, diversity training programs and their effectiveness, how they wish to navigate their own social identities in the workplace, and ongoing issues involved in managing diversity within organizations.

Course Mission

Gender and diversity in organizations is a “hot button” topic that generates passionate debate and opinions. Popular discussion topics cover whether diversity is good or bad for organizations; whether people from different social and cultural groups have different leadership and communication styles; the nature and management of conflict within and between different social groups at work; hiring and promotion practices related to gender and diversity; diversity training practices; and how to leverage one’s own gender and other identities and to avoid pitfalls associated with them. Yet gender and diversity in organizations is often treated as a “taboo” subject in the MBA classroom, and one that is safer to avoid and to not express opinions about. Despite this, it cannot help but keep popping up in discussions of various topics, and witnesses by far the liveliest session of MPO when gender and diversity in organizations is covered. This topic deserves an elective in its own right for students who wish to develop in-depth and systematic information on gender and diversity in organizations. This course will help students to build informed opinions that incorporate systematic research and evidence on the topic of gender and diversity in organizations and to be able to critically assess and evaluate popular media coverage, books, and programs. It will also help students to grow comfortable discussing, addressing, and managing issues of gender and diversity in their careers and organizations.

Course Scope

Through a combination of readings, case discussions, debates, in-class exercises, guest speakers, and short reflection papers, we will address the following topics:

  • Historical and projected trends in gender and demographic diversity at work
  • Employment law related to gender and diversity at work
  • Best practices for hiring, promotion, and managing gender and diversity in the workplace
  • Theories and models of gender and diversity in organizations
  • Research on individual differences in leadership, communication, and negotiation
  • Effects of gender and diversity on organizational culture, interaction, and performance
  • Interactions between gender, ethnicity, culture, and class
  • Diversity training programs and their effectiveness
  • How to navigate one’s own social identities at work

Power and Influence in Organizations

Instructor

Tiziana Casciaro

Target Audience

This is a course about learning to use power and influence as effective tools for understanding your surroundings and achieving your goals. It is a course about getting things done in the real world, where politics and personalities often seem to hinder rather than help you. P&I is a course for those of you who want to make things happen, despite the obstacles that might stand in your way. 

Course Mission

This course presents conceptual models, tactical approaches, and self-assessment tools to help you develop your own influence style and understand political dynamics as they unfold around you. By focusing on specific expressions of power and influence, this course gives you the opportunity to observe the effective— and ineffective—uses of power in different organizational contexts and stages of a person’s career. The subject matter will challenge you to define for yourself what will constitute the ethical exercise of power and influence in your life. 

Course Scope

The objectives of the course are to help you:

  1. Develop a conceptual framework for understanding power and influence. You should be able to define power and influence and begin to appreciate how essential they are for your own career and to produce constructive outcomes for your organization.
  2. Practice diagnostic skills that will enable you to map out the political landscape, understand others’ perspectives and power bases, and learn to predict and influence their actions.
  3. Assess your own power bases and influence style and consider strategies for expanding them.
  4. Begin to build a repertoire of influence tactics so you will be effective in a variety of situations.
  5. Develop your own strategy for building and exercising power and influence responsibly.

Leading Teams      

Instructor

Geoffrey Leonardelli

Target Audience

This course is intended for students interested in developing a sophisticated skill set in leading teams. 

Course Mission

Managers have greatly expanded their use of teams to accomplish a wide variety of organizational objectives. Teams have emerged as a favorite work arrangement and can be found at every level of the organization, from production crews on the shop floor to top management teams in the executive suite. Moreover, virtual team dynamics have created many new opportunities and challenges for leaders of such teams. Teams are not a panacea, however. Even as they become a way of life in many organizations, widespread myths and misconceptions about teams often stand in the way of effective teamwork. The objectives of this course are 1) to sharpen your understanding of the conditions that foster team effectiveness and the disruptive forces that can derail teams; 2) to develop your ability to diagnose complex team dynamics and take action to improve team functioning; and 3) to build the combination of analytic and interpersonal skills you need to effectively design and lead teams. 

Course Scope

The course is divided into four modules, on team design, team function, bridging differences in teams, and team leadership. The first will focus on how leaders can influence aspects of a team’s context and structure critical to team effectiveness, such as the appropriateness of the team’s members, the type of direction provided to the team, the kind and level of support provided to the team (information technology, incentives, etc.). The second module is to develop a working understanding of the conditions that maximize a team’s chances of success, in ways that include production, decision-making, and creativity. Once you have designed and deployed a team, it is critical to periodically assess team members’ work processes to overcome any obstacles to effective collaboration. The third module provides guidelines for diagnosing determining what strategies are available to improve these dynamics. Finally, the course will integrate the previous modules under a single rubric, team leadership, and discuss unique challenges leaders of tomorrow’s teams might face as they confront the challenges of geographically dispersed teams interacting primarily through electronic media, and differing in language and cultural values. 

Advanced Negotiations and Conflict Management

Instructor

Chen-Bo Zhong

Target Audience

The target audience for this course is any student interested in developing a sophisticated set of negotiation, influence, and conflict management skills. 

Course Mission

A basic premise of the course is that while managers and leaders need analytical and technical skills to develop optimal solutions to problems, a broad array of negotiation and conflict management skills is needed to implement and gain acceptance for these solutions. Technical competence and expertise without the ability to win support for preferred solutions is of little value in real organizational life. Thus, this course is designed to complement the technical and diagnostic skills learned in other courses at Rotman, and to further augment the skills developed in your core Negotiations class from first year.

Students will learn how to implement negotiation, mediation, and alternative dispute resolution methods to resolve disputes in business and other organizations. We will also consider structural mechanisms by which organizations can manage conflict. There are no perfect formulae for successful negotiations and conflict management, but by understanding and analyzing negotiation and conflict situations systematically, especially with a sophisticated appreciation of the social psychology of conflict, you will learn skills that help you to manage new situations and to decide which strategies are most likely to be effective in different situations. 

Course Scope

Successful completion of this course will equip students to understand, analyze, and practice powerful techniques and strategies in negotiations and conflict management situations. Each class will include negotiation and decision-making exercises, debriefing and lecture material. Most students will use the advanced skills and knowledge gained in this course during daily workplace and personal interactions. This course begins with a focused review of distributive and integrative negotiation skills, and goes on to consider more advanced topics like the use of agents in negotiations, mediation, the psychology of influence, dispute resolution, and cross-cultural negotiations. 

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