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Fall 2013 Class Descriptions

As of 6/21/2018 5:52:55 AM

Management & Orgs for Lawyers


Leading, managing, and surviving in today's organizations are tougher than ever. Success depends on how well you can understand and diagnose organizational problems, develop organizing processes and solutions that appreciate the complexity of your organizational context, and lead your group or organization in the implementation of more effective strategy and action. This course is intended to improve your effectiveness as a leader by giving you frameworks for understanding organizations and tools for leading them. Organizations have been studied from the perspective of several disciplines (i.e., psychology, sociology, political science and economics). The field of management and organizations is at the intersection of these disciplines and applies their insights to solving organizational problems and building organizational competencies.

Organizations are more complicated than most appliances, and understanding how they work takes more than memorizing simple platitudes. Moreover, just because one is a member of an organization, doesn't mean that one understands how they work or how to lead and manage them. Practices that worked well in the past will not necessarily continue to work well in the future, and changes that lead to success in one group or organization may not have the same effect in another. Thus, our goal is to help you understand important nuances so that you can make good inferences about what will work and what will not work in particular situations, and how to learn from your own experiences and those of others. The best way to do this is through exposure to both rigorous research and real-world cases. That is how this course is structured.

This course is intended to complement your work experience, not to supplant it. Book learning is not a substitute for hands-on experience. By the same token, hands-on experience is not a substitute for graduate education and exposure to cutting-edge scholarship, class discussions with smart colleagues from different professional and industry backgrounds, and a chance to develop your thinking beyond what is usually possible given quotidian pressures on the job. Much of the course is organized though around cases, case discussions, simulations, and group exercises. In these you will be able to benefit from the experiences of a diverse group of peers with different approaches to thinking about and solving business problems.


The course will span a broad range of topics reflecting the need for leaders both to have general skills (e.g., in sizing up situations and understanding the basics of human behavior) and to be attentive to social and business trends that will affect the organizations with which they interact (e.g., increasing workforce diversity and project teams, and needs for learning, innovation and change). Management has been defined as "getting work done through other people," and much of the course will be devoted to helping you get the tools you need to get things done through other people, through influence, power tactics, networking, managing conflict and teamwork, for example. We also will dive into why organizations are structured as they are and the mechanics of managing organizational change. You may not be able to re-structure the organization you have to work with, but understanding its formal and informal structures will help you determine where you can get the most leverage.

To solve organizational problems or take advantage of opportunities requires that you have a rich understanding of the organization and the issues. But our ability to create a nuanced perspective is confounded by the way each of us has for looking at the world. Thus we will start with an overview and introduce two frameworks for analyzing organizations. Then we move to a broad overview of what it takes to manage people right. We will discuss the role of a leader (whether leading a team, unit, task force, or firm) and mechanisms for how to motivate and maintain performance. We then will move to a discussion of influence and persuasion and how one builds well-structured and effective social networks. We then discuss organizational culture and conflict and how to leverage both. Then we turn to the issue of teams and through an experiential simulation, how to enable team effectiveness.

We next turn to the "systems" aspects of organizations and how to design them to execute their strategy most effectively. What is the best way to design an organization to execute its strategy, given its environment? How do you sustain organizations through innovation? Finally, we will engage in an organizational change simulation and learn the best approach to bringing about changes (bottom up and top down) and then close with a discussion of organizing for the unexpected.

1.50 hours