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Organizational Design and Change


Pallotti F.

Course director


Course objectives
At the end of this course, the student will be able to demonstrate understanding of the following organizational design and change principles:

  • Relationships in Organizational Theory: how an organization’s structure interrelate with an organization’s environment (including its stakeholders);
  • Levers for Organizational Design: types of organizational structure and culture;
  • Strategies for Organizational Design: ways to use organizational design levers to promote an effective fit between an organization and its environment (thereby achieving its goals);
  • Strategies for Organizational Change: key roles and levers for change, overcoming resistance and setbacks to accomplishing change.

Course description
In today’s highly changing business environment, organizational design is a crucial activity for executive managing a global enterprise as well as a small work team, in both private and public sectors. Globalization, digital transformation, worldwide competition, and ever-new technologies drive the ongoing reassessment and change of the organization. New forms of organizational design have been developed in recent years: matrix, virtual, modular, cellular, network, alliance, “spaghetti” or “holacracy” – to name a few. New organizational forms challenge old ways of organizing for efficiency and effectiveness. This course focuses on developing an understanding of the basics of organizational design, how to adopt appropriate organizational design principles to manage innovation and change, and how to keep organizational structures aligned to increasingly complex and competitive environments. Despite its emphasis on theory, the course is accessible to students with no previous background in economics and management. The course builds on examples and case studies about real-world companies in a variety of industries, businesses, and countries. The course engages students in a creative effort to apply empirically supported theoretical principles to actual business examples.

Students are expected to participate actively in the discussion and the activities proposed in each session (e.g., question sessions, exercises, case discussion).

Examination information
Course work is assessed on the basis of one midterm test (30%), and a final exam (70%).

  • The midterm test involves a 20 multiple choice questions, and accounts for 30% of the final mark. The midterm test will be based on the lectures and material covered in class up to the test date.
  • The final exam accounts for 70% of the final mark. The final exam will be a comprehensive closed book exam and will involve a mixture of multiple choice questions, short essays and the analysis of mini-cases (or “incidents”).

The final exam will be based on the readings and the material discussed in class.

Required material
The main reference textbooks for this course are:

  • Jones, G.R. 2014. Organizational Theory, Design and Change. Pearson Education, Inc.
  • Daft R.L., Murphy, J., and Willmott, H. 2017. Organization Theory and Design. An International Perspective. Third Edition. Cengage Learning EMEA.

Occasional readings and additional material will be indicated during the course. Students are expected to visit regularly the relevant page on the iCorsi platform where course materials and slides are posted.