Networks and behavior in organizations
Working in organizations implies first and foremost daily interaction among organizational members across all levels. This is especially the case for contemporary organizations that are required to deal with an increasingly complex business environment. The most recent technological advancements, economic trends and epidemiological events have brought to the fore the need for organizations to rethink their internal structures and systems, and move towards design approaches encouraging collaboration and interaction, innovation and creativity, autonomy and accountability. Understanding the practical implications of work-related interactions and social relationships among organizational members is the focus of this course.
Networks and Behavior in Organizations introduces the concepts and analytical tools needed for mapping, describing, and understanding social networks and individual behaviors in organizations. The course introduces participants to a relational view of organizations that complements a more traditional formal view articulated in other courses offered in the Master programme (e.g., Organizational Design and Change).
By the end of the course participants will be able to:
- Understand the importance of envisioning personal networks in organizations;
- Identify and interpret their main structural and compositional features;
- Understand how such features relate to a variety of core organizational processes (such as knowledge transfer and information diffusion), as well as individual outcomes and behaviors (such as job satisfaction and career progression).
Participants are expected to participate actively in the discussion and the activities proposed in each session (e.g., question sessions, exercises, case discussion).
Learning in Networks and Behavior in Organizations relies heavily on practical examples and hands-on computer sessions based on the analysis of real-life personal network data that illustrate the theoretical and analytical concepts introduced in the lectures. Participants will also be invited to reconstruct and analyse their own personal networks.
Evaluation Procedures and Grading Criteria
Course work is assessed on the basis of one midterm test (30%), a final exam (60%), and class engagement (10%).
The midterm test lasts 45 minutes and involves a 15 multiple choice questions based on the lectures and material covered in class up to the test date.
The final exam lasts 90 minutes and involves a mixture of multiple choice questions and the analysis of the students’ own personal network. The final exam will be based on the readings and material covered over the whole course.
Class engagement is demonstrated by autonomy in installing, using and maintaining the free software resources needed for the exercises and by coming to class ready to discuss the assigned exercises and/or readings. Resit exams, or exams that are - for any reason - sustained outside the Fall 21-22 exam session (January-February, 2022), will account for 100% of the course grade.
Required reading 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.
To get a general sense of the topics discussed in the course, perspective participants are invited to read the following article:
Leonardi, P. and Contractor, N., 2018. Better people analytics. Harvard Business Review, 96(6), pp.70-81.