Managerial thinking and organization studies

Time and place

The course is a distance learning course offered by the Jyväskylä University School of Business and Economics (JSBE)
The department in charge is Management and Leadership. The study module is offered in the Spring of 2023 lasting from January to May. The course will include one optional (not compulsory)  contact  teaching day in the beginning of January 2023.                                 

Learning goal and objectives

The aim of the course is to deepen the student’s understanding of organizational structures and processes. Managerial thinking is linked to the modern and post-modern genres of organization studies. The student understands and recognizes the central methodological, epistemological and ontological trends and the central trends in the philosophy of science, and can analyze business economy research based on them. 

Motto: “It is better to know one book thoroughly than ten books adequately”. 

The course framework is based on the four paradigm organization analysis model outlined by Gibson Burrell and Gareth Morgan in their book “Sociological Paradigms and Organizational Analysis, 1979, [(several newer, but identical editions exist), Gower Publishing, Aldershot, UK]. These paradigms are:

  • Functional paradigm
  • Interpretative paradigm
  • Radical humanistic paradigm
  • Radical structuralist paradigm 

The aim of the course is to deepen the student’s understanding of organizational structures and processes, and present information about the recent trends in organization studies. This is accomplished by studying the four field paradigm model of organization studies as presented by Burrell and Morgan. Additionally, newer papers concerning the field are studied. 

Two personal feedback-writings are given to each student. (via email).
1)   first, after parts I and II
2)   second, after the whole course. 

The course is offered as a distance learning course. This is a good way to continue a postgraduate degree. It makes it possible to work in a flexible manner and to continue one’s studies from another locality. 

Credits: 7 ECTS 

Prerequisites: Business economics students. Due to its wide range, the course is perfectly suitable for all students of business economics and similar sciences. 

The student is responsible for acquiring the necessary book from a library or e.g. from It is advisable to purchase the book, as it is a key work and will be useful in the course of a research career. 

The framework is studied through the previously mentioned book. The course also includes analysis of newer scientific papers in relation to different paradigms. The papers are chosen on the criteria of their actuality and relevance to different areas of business economics. Copies of the papers are included in the study package sent to students. 

Instruction and examination: Essays, texts. For each part of the course, the student writes c. 5 pages (line spacing 1.5) or longer essay on the section of Burrell and Morgan under consideration. The text can take the form of a summary or a more contemplative presentation, an essay. If the student chooses to write a summary, it must include a half a page long contemplative section titled “conclusions” at the end of the text.
Creative approach is possible, and recommended, in the essays. The student can contemplate the content of each paradigm in relation to e.g. their own research, societal phenomena, work life or other experience. 

Additionally, each part (except the INTRO) includes an analysis of article according to the student’s own choosing. The minimum is one paper in each part, referencing and analyzing the paper with the discussed framework (BM), length c. 1.5–2 pages.
This is the applied part.

Analysis: What is the paper’s message?

How do the suppositions, features, characteristics, etc. of the given paradigm appear in the paper?

  • concept of man
  • philosophy of science
  • methodology
  • understanding of the fundamental nature of reality
  • Other reflection, and the final essay 


Following info is needed: 

Name of the doctoral student,  University and department in which you are doing your dissertation, the topic of your dissertation 

I will need to gather, acc. to KATAJA orders, some additional information from each accepted student: 1) Name, 2) Gender, 3) Finnish social security number (birth date if the person does not have a Finnish social security number) 4) Nationality, 5) Email, and 6) Phone number. This is required by the university to register the student’s course credits in a university data base, which the student can access at any time, and the data will not be used for any other purpose. So, please write this information in your application, and send the application to me by email. 

Grading:The course was graded on the scale:Failed/Sufficient/Satisfactory/Good/Very good/Excellent  OR failed, 1-5 (where 1 is sufficient and 5 excellent). 

Admittance: The application period for the course ends 20.12.2022 

Email the application to: 

Instructors: Prof. Tuomo Takala 

Course coordinator and contact information: Prof. Tuomo Takala 

The application period for the course ends 20.12. 2022