PhD in Information Technologies and their Aplication in Management, Architecture and Geophisics La Salle Campus Barcelona URL

PHD Program in Information Technologies and their Application in Management, Architecture and Geophysics

Corporate Governance

The field of Organization Theory in the last 50 years has contributed to the enrichment of our understanding of economic and management action, providing novel approaches, theories and methodological tools to management inquiry. The purpose of this course is to take a rigorous in-depth look at selected theoretical approaches to explain organizational phenomena. We concentrate primarily on a selection of what are called macro- theories of organizations.
Type Subject
Previous Knowledge



The primary purpose of the course is to equip students with an understanding of organizational concepts and the ability to apply their managerial knowledge appropriately and effectively in specific organizational contexts in today's challenging business environments.
More specifically, the course aims to:
1. develop a critical appreciation of the central theoretical questions, themes, and debates in
the literature;
2. develop theorizing skills of abstraction, analysis and reasoning;
3. analyze organizational situations which are often complex and complicated, and acquire
the ability to dealing with them.


1)1st week: Introduction to Organization Theory:
Required readings:
Astley, G & Van deVen, A. (1983). Central perspectives and debates in organization theory. Administrative Science Quarterly, 28:245-273.
Augier M. and March J.G., (2005), `Notes on the Evolution of a Research Community: Organization Studies in Anglophone North America: 1945-2000´, Organization Science, Vol. 16, No. 1, pp. 85-95.
Fligstein, Neil. 2001. `Organizations: Theoretical Debates and the Scope of Organizational Theory´ in Calhoun Craig, Chris Rojek, and Bryan Turner (eds.) International Handbook of Sociology. Sage Press. 42 pages.

2) 2nd week
Contingency Theory
Required readings:
C. B. Schoonhoven, 1981. `Problems with contingency theory: Testing assumptions hidden with the language of contingency theory,´ ASQ 26: 349-77
Drazin, Robert and Andrew H. van de Ven 1985. `Alternative forms of fit in contingency theory´ Administrative Science Quarterly, 30: 514-539.
Padgett, John. 1992. `The Alchemist of Contingency Theory: Review Essay on Stinchcombe.´ AJS 97(5):1462-70.

3) 3rd week (1st memo due)
Power and Resource Dependence
Required readings:
Amy J. Hillman, Michael C. Withers and Brian J. Collins. Resource Dependence Theory: A Review. Journal of Management December 2009 vol. 35 no. 6 1404-1427.
Thornton, Patricia, and William Ocasio. 1999. Institutional logics and the historical contingency of power in organizations: Executive succession in the higher education publishing industry, 1958 to 1990. American Journal of Sociology, 105: 801-843.
Mizruchi, Mark. 1996. `What do interlocks do? An analysis, critique, and assessment of research on interlocking directorates.´ Annual Review of Sociology 22: 271-98.

4) 4th week
The New Institutionalism (I)
Required readings:
Meyer, John W., and Brian Rowan 1977. `Institutional organizations: Structure as myth and ceremony, AJS 83: 340-63.
DiMaggio, Paul J. and Walter W. Powell 1983. "The iron cage revisited: Institutional isomorphism and collective rationality in organizational fields," ASR 48: 147-60.
Fligstein, Neil 1985. `The Spread of the Multidivisional Form Among Large Firms, 1919-1979,´ ASR, June 1985:377-391.

5) 5th week (2nd memo due)
The New institutionalism (II)
Required readings:
Agency and Institutions: A Review of Institutional Entrepreneurship
Bernard Leca Julie Battilana Eva Boxenbaum (52 pages)
Davis, Gerald F., Kristina A. Diekmann, and Catherine H. Tinsley. 1994. The decline and fall of the conglomerate firm in the 1980s: The deinstitutionalization of an organizational form. American Sociological Review, 59: 547-570.

6) 6th week
Organizational Ecology
Required readings:
Hannan, Michael T. and John Freeman 1977. "The population ecology of organizations," AJS 82: 929-64.
Aldrich, Howard E., and Marlene Fiol, 1994. `Fools rush in? The institutional context of industry construction,´ Academy of Management Review, 19: 645-70. CP.
Carroll, Glenn and Anand Sevaminathan. 2000. `Why the Microbrewery Movement?
Organizational Dynamics of Resource Partitioning in the U.S. Brewing Industry.´ AJS 106(3): 715-762.

7) 7th week (3rd memo due)
Networks, Embeddedness and Organizations
Required readings:
Granovetter, Mark 1985. "Economic action and social structure: The problem of embeddedness," AJS 91:481-510.
Uzzi, Brian. 1997. `Social Structure and Competition in Interfirm Networks: The Paradox of Embeddedness.´ ASQ 42: 35-67.
Ahuja, Gautam. 2000. Collaboration networks, structural holes, and innovation: A longitudinal study. ASQ 45: 425-455.

8) 8th week
Transaction Cost Economics and boundaries of the firm
Williamson, Oliver E. 1991. Comparative economic organization: The analysis of discrete structural alternatives. Administrative Science Quarterly, 36: 269-296.
Strategic Alliance Outcomes: a Transaction-Cost Economics Perspective
William Q. Judge and Robert Dooley. British Journal of Management, Vol. 17, 23-37 (2006)
Pisano, Gary P. 1990. The R&D boundaries of the firm: An empirical analysis. Administrative Science Quarterly, 35: 153-176.

9) 9th week (4th memo due)
Agency Theory and incentives
Fama, Eugene, and Michael C. Jensen. 1983. Separation of ownership and control. Journal of Law and Economics, 26: 301-326.
Eisenhardt, Kathleen M. Agency Theory: An Assessment and Review. The Academy of Management Review, Jan 1989, 14 (1): 57-74.
Board Games: How CEOs Adapt to Increases in Structural Board Independence from Management Author(s): James D. Westphal Administrative Science Quarterly, Vol. 43, No. 3 (Sep., 1998), pp. 511-537

10) 10th week
New Directions: Mechanisms, Paradigms and Economic Sociology
Required readings:
Davis, Gerald F. and Christopher Marquis. 2005. `Prospects for Organizational Theory in the Early 21st Century: Institutional Fields and Mechanisms.´ Organization Science, 16: 332- 343.
Granovetter, M. S. 2002. A theoretical agenda for economic sociology. The New Economic Sociology: Developments in an Emerging Field. M. F. Guillen, R. Collins, P. England and M. Meyer. New York, Russel Sage Foundation.
Fourcade, M. 2007. "Theories of Markets and Theories of Society." American Behavioral Scientist 50:1015-1034.

11) 11th week: State of the art of research in marketing: Professor David Riu

12) 12th week: State of the art of research in finance: To be determined

13) 13th week: State of the art of research in strategy: Bilgehan Uzunca(IESE)

14) 14th week: State of the art of research in organizational behavior: To be determined

15) 15th week: Industry specific research (Sports Industry): Professor Chris Kennett


1. Readings and class discussion

Students are expected to read all the required readings and be prepared to discuss and present the material in class on the schedule indicated in the syllabus. All students should come to class with questions, topics, and issues to be raised for discussion. My role is to facilitate and direct the discussion. Your role is to engage each other in developing the best critical understanding of each paper. Our focus will be more on the theory and empirical context since this course is not a methodology course. We will have at least one theory and one empirical paper for the sessions.
In the first part of the course, in addition to reading the papers for discussion, each student will present papers during the course. We will assign the papers on the first day of class.
As you do the readings, think about the following questions:
1) What is the basic argument made by the author(s)? What are its strengths?
2) What are the weaknesses of the argument?
3) If you disagree with an argument, what would it take to convince you?
4) Are there critical differences between these authors' arguments and those of others we have read?

2. Memos
In the first part of the course, for certain weeks, each student is asked to prepare a brief memo (MAX 2 pages, double-spaced) relating to the readings of the corresponding class. The memo could focus on specific ideas and concepts you found interesting; concerns you might have with some of the ideas/arguments, and connections between different approaches and/or papers, basically your reflections before the week where the theory is covered. Memos are due the first class of the week and have to be submitted via email before class starts. I will correct, grade and return them the week after. There will be in total 4 memos for the course.

3. Final paper
By the end of the course students need to submit a theory paper. This assignment will help you master some of the theories studied, and will help you practice the most critical skill you need to develop to become an academic: writing publishable articles.
The paper should be about 15 pages double-spaced. The heart of your paper should be to compare, contrast and/or integrate two or three of the theories we have discussed in the course, maybe in relation with an empirical phenomenon. Browsing the most recent issues of the Academy of Management Review journal would help you get acquainted with the genre of the papers published there. In addition, at the end of this syllabus, you will find some bibliography on topics and perspectives which we did not develop thoroughly in the course and could provide inspiration for your paper.
In your paper you should:
1. Provide a rationale for your study: explain why the connections between the theories you are discussing need further clarification. If you are starting from an empirical problem, show why what you know about the specific problem provides a challenge for theory, and more work is required to address this.
2. Summarize the theories you are addressing (need not to be a full review, but I do expect more than what you read for the class).
3. Summarize some basic facts (and reference at least some empirical literature) about the phenomenon you are analyzing.
4. Develop an argument: this is the core of the paper and you need to be able to (1) take a position, that is not just describe the theories, but try to go beyond them, and (2) craft logical arguments to convince the reader of your position.
5. Outline a research strategy: Describe how you think you could test your theoretical arguments in the empirical context you have selected. What kind of data would you need? How would you operationalize the key constructs? How would you specify and then test your hypotheses?
To ensure that you will finish the paper on time, I have set the following milestones, with deliverables due at the start of class:
5th week: 3-page proposal outlining the topic and a preliminary bibliography.
Last day of class (15th week): Final Paper submitted (hardcopy in class and email the PDF)
This schedule will give me time to check your progress and to make suggestions regarding scope, approach, or relevant materials. On the website of the Academy of Management Review you will find more information on the journal, and the style guide you should follow in formatting the paper and the references:


Class participation and presentations: 30%
4 memos: 40% (10% each)
Final Paper: 30%

Evaluation Criteria

Approved / Notable: Having done the weekly effort and a good understanding of the theories presented
Excellent: Being able to synthesize the theories and going beyond the papers in terms of critical thinking

Basic Bibliography

Please check the contents part for weekly papers to read

Additional Material

Optional reading can be provided if there is interest