SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Organisational Behaviour

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 1
Taught in:
Term 1

The course investigates the effect of individuals groups and structures on behaviour within organisations and how this effects the interaction of the organisation with the external business environment.

Organisational behaviour is a discipline that seeks to better understand the effects of individual groups and structures on behaviour within organisations. This course is specially designed module to introduce management students to the principles and theories underpinning the discipline of organisational behaviour. In doing so it examines how organisations are created, designed and how they fulfil their objectives.  It is particularly concerned with achieving a better understanding of how groups of humans interact in organisations and how these interactions shape the organization itself. The course  is multi disciplinary and covers a range of topics from a number of disciplines including management theory, the economics of organisation, the principles of psychology that underpin how decisions are made, the theory of the firm and the sociology of work.   

Module sign-up information for non-departmental open option students
  • Required approval: Approval is required from the Law and Social Sciences Faculty Office
  • Required pre-requisite module(s): None
  • Year of study: 2
  • Maximum number of non-departmental students permitted per year: 10
  • Weekly timetable: One lecture (2 hours) and one tutorial (1 hour)

Further information on open option modules can be found here

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

At the end of this course, a student should be able to demonstrate:

  • A thorough knowledge of the basic theories and principles that underpin organisation behaviour
  • An ability to apply these principles to understand the sociological, managerial  and psychological factors that underpin organisational behaviour
  • A critical understanding of the factors that shape and change organisational structures
  • An understanding of inter-organisational relationships and networks.
  • A critical understanding of how such factors as identity, leadership, motivation, decision-making, and creativity affect organisations
  • The ability to critically apply standard theories of organisational behaviour to non-standard or cross cultural environments
  • An ability to apply the above to practical case studies of management and assess their effect on organisational performance.

Method of assessment

This course is assessed by 15% written coursework and 85% by one 2-hour examination

Suggested reading

Preliminary Reading List:

  • Barling J & Cooper C. 2008. The Handbook of Organizational Behaviour, Sage.
  • Robbins, S., Judge, T., & Campbell, T. 2010. Organizational Behaviour.
    Harlow, UK: Pearson Prentice Hall
  • Mintzberg, H. (1975) The Manager’s Job: Folklore and Fact. Harvard Business Review (July–August), 61
  • Senior, B and Fleming, J. 2006. Organisational Change (3rd edition) Prentice Hall
  • Keller, R. 1989. “A test of the path goal theory of leadership with need for clarity as a moderator in research and development organisations” Journal of Applied Psychology. April 1989.
  • Kirton, M. 1976 Adaptors and Innovators: a description and a measure. Journal of Applied Psychology Vol. 61
  • Kotter, J.P. 1990. “Leading Change: why transformation efforts fail” Harvard Business Review, Vol. 73(2).
  • Mintzberg, H (1979) The Structure of organisations, Prentice Hall
  • Porter, L., Steers, R., Mowday, R. and Boulian, R.(1974) Organizational Commitment, Job Satisfaction and Turnover among Psychiatric Technicians.
    Journal of Applied Psychology, 59, 603–609.
  • Rousseau, D. M., & Fried, Y. (2001). Location, location, location: Contextualizing organizational research.
    Journal of Organizational Behavior, 22(1),
  • Sheridan, J. (1985) A Catastrophe Model of Employee Withdrawal Leading to Low Job Performance, High Absenteeism, and Job Turn-over During the First Year of Employment. Academy of Management Journal, 28, 88–109


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules