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A presentation-based course in seven parts. 
£40 plus VAT each, or get 7 parts for the price of 6 (£240 + VAT) with CODE: SEVEN


Introduction to the course

This course provides those with an interest in how organisations work with the fundamentals. The seven parts cover:

- Vision, mission, purpose, values and strategy
- Work and process
- Systems and operations
- Form and function
- Governance and accountability
- People, culture and leadership
- Marketing, brand and stakeholder management

Each part comes as a set of slides with a prerecorded voice commentary by Robert Rowland Smith. There are approximately fifteen slides per module, and modules run from twenty to thirty minutes in length.
This is a digital downloadable file. 


What each module covers

  1. Vision, mission, purpose, values and strategy

Confusion reigns in the definition of ‘vision’, ‘mission’, ‘purpose’ and ‘strategy’. This model provides clarity about the difference between each, giving examples. It also shows how these terms can be critiqued when used by organisations to present a flattering version of themselves. The relationship between values and behaviours is explained.

​   2. Work and process

What do we mean by ‘work’? How does it fit into processes? How can work and process be understood in terms of time and value? This module addresses such questions as well as describing the difference between ‘capacity’ and ‘capability’.


   3. Systems and operations

This module looks at the building blocks of an organisation’s activity: systems and operations. Using a wide range of examples, it sets out the elements of planning, supply chain, production, sales and delivery. It also covers the ‘back office’ systems of legal, finance, HR and IT.


    4. Form and function

‘Form follows function’ is the oft-repeated mantra, but there are exceptions to this rule. This module introduces different forms, plus the idea of ‘matrix management’. It shows how to think about spans and layers in an organisation, and covers organisational choices such as insourcing versus outsourcing, and centralisation versus decentralisation.


   5. Governance and accountability

How organisations are governed and held to account is fundamental not only to their own good functioning but to that of society. When governance goes wrong and corporations fail, it can have serious knock-on effects. This module sets out governance structures, types of risk, the difference between assurance and reassurance, as well as the cultural context necessary for governance to be effective.


   6. People, culture and leadership

In this module, various definitions of ‘people’, ‘culture’ and ‘leadership’ are presented and discussed. Each is often intangible, so the module sets out ‘below the line’ or unofficial aspects of each - in terms, for example, of power dynamics, or the importance of belonging over performance. It also covers concepts of diversity and exclusion.



   7. Marketing, brand and stakeholder management

How to move potential customers from being unaware of your product/ service to becoming advocates for it? This module sets out the basics of marketing, including aligning people with product. It introduces the different aspects of brand as ‘symbol’, ‘story’ and ‘promise’. It also covers the pressures of capturing attention on social media.


Who this course is for

The course has been designed for those with an interest in how organisations work. It will be of especial relevance to:

- HR professionals
- Organisation Development professionals
- Those with an interest in Organisation Design
- Consultants offering organisational services to their clients
- MBA students who wish to supplement their learning
- Undergraduates in business studies and related disciplines
- Those taking up non-executive board positions who wish to have an overview of organisation theory


How to use this course

The course is arranged as seven modules, but these are not fixed in a sequence. It is possible to consume the modules in any order.

The student is encouraged to make links to organisations of which they have personal experience. Where appropriate, they are also encouraged to apply lessons to their own workplace based on the models and theories offered.


The benefits of this course

The student will finish this course in the knowledge that they have a firm grounding in how organisations work and how to think about them.

In particular, they will have gained clarity about concepts that are sometimes confusing or technical, such as ‘governance’ and ‘business process reengineering’. They will also appreciate why organisations take the form they take, and the considerations that have gone into those forms - such as insourcing versus outsourcing, or why hierarchies exist.

Because the course applies equally to commercial companies as well as public and voluntary organisations, the student will have language and concepts at their disposal that are universally applicable.

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