Syllabus for Institutional Analysis of Organisations

Institutionell analys av organisationer

A revised version of the syllabus is available.


  • 7.5 credits
  • Course code: 2FE869
  • Education cycle: Second cycle
  • Main field(s) of study and in-depth level: Business Studies A1N
  • Grading system: Fail (U), Pass (G), Pass with distinction (VG)
  • Established: 2017-02-01
  • Established by: The Department Board
  • Applies from: Spring 2018
  • Entry requirements:

    A Bachelor's degree, equivalent to a Swedish Kandidatexamen, from an internationally recognised university. Also required is 90 credits in business studies. Proficiency in English.

    For incoming exchange students only 60 credits or equivalent in business studies are required, though 90 credits is strongly recommended. Proficiency in English.

  • Responsible department: Department of Business Studies

Decisions and guidelines

Master's Programme in Business and Management - specialisation Organisation.

Learning outcomes

This course offers an institutional perspective on how organisations are influenced by and cope with their environment. The aim of the course is to educate students to analyse and critically reflect on the demands and trends that organisations face in their environment and how organisations handle them.

After the course the student should be able to:

  • Identify and understand basic concepts of the organisation and the challenges organisations meet in relation to their environment.
  • Define and explain basic concepts in institutional organisation theory.
  • Apply theoretical concepts and explanatory models for the purpose of analysing the situation and organisation of contemporary organisations.
  • Critically evaluate and analyse contemporary social trends affecting organisations.
  • Make a situational analysis of an organisation and identify the surrounding demands that the organisation has to relate to and how they are handled by the organisation, and present this in a reflective and persuasive way, both orally and in writing.
  • The overall aim is for students to acquire an active and reflective approach and to gain a deeper understanding of the broader context in which an organisation operates.


This course introduces a societal view on organisation and organising. Instead of considering organisations as rational tools to achieve desired goals in accordance with classical economic theory, the course provides a sociological institutional perspective that focuses on organisations’ quest for legitimacy and how organisations’ actions are largely conditioned by the expectations and demands they face in their environment.

Organisations operate in a complex environment consisting of other organisations but also of rules, norms and values that ​​in different ways and to different degrees control their decisions and actions. They have to respond to demands and change initiatives in order to be perceived as effective, but also legitimate and modern.

The course views organisations as socially constructed, which means they are created rather than given and influenced by their context in terms of time and space. Organisations are challenged by various trends and demands in society in a way that frames how organisations can and should act. At the same time, organisations are not passive recipients, but co-creators of change. During the course, we will study a number of social trends such as demands for transparency, auditability, quality assurance and social responsibility that have been powerful and influenced the organisations' structure and practice. We problematise how organisations respond to these trends and demands and what happens in the intersection between the organisation and the environment.


The course is based on lectures and seminars in which the students discuss and analyse organisational theory, focusing on both the institutional approach and practice. Initially the course introduces basic theoretical concepts which serve as tools for analysis and deeper understanding of the challenges, demands and trends faced by organisations in contemporary society. Through case studies and situational analysis, different trends and ideas influencing the organisation and organising is problematised. The course is taught in English.


The student will get one single grade, equivalent to 7.5 credits.

The course is examined through seminars and written assignments, individually and in teams. The grade for the entire course is based on an assessment of all parts of the examination.

Grading criteria are presented in the study guide provided at the beginning of the course. The following grades will be used: pass with distinction (VG), pass (G), and fail (U). Examinations handed in late will not be assessed except under special circumstances. Any remaining supplemental work must be completed and handed in by the deadline specified in the study guide. Otherwise the entire course (all examinations included) must be retaken during subsequent course sections, pending availability of a place in the course.

Uppsala University does not accept cheating or plagiarism. Suspected incidents of cheating or plagiarism are reported to the Disciplinary Committee of the University, which may issue a formal warning to the student or suspend the student from studies for a designated period.

NOTE: Only completed courses can count toward a degree.

Reading list

Reading list

Applies from: Spring 2018

Some titles may be available electronically through the University library.

  • Berger, Peter L.; Luckmann, Thomas The social construction of reality : a treatise in the sociology of knowledge

    Repr.: London: Penguin, 1991

    Find in the library


  • Scott, W. Richard Institutions and organizations : ideas, interests and identities

    4. ed.: Thousand Oaks, Calif.: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2014

    Find in the library


  • Från tid till annan anvisas material som studenten antingen köper från Företagsekonomiska institutionen eller har tillgång till via kursens webbplats eller Uppsala universitetsbiblioteks databaser.

    Företagsekonomiska institutionen,


Last modified: 2022-04-26