Saturday, December 8, 2012


Woot!  I passed with an A-.  Now to get ready for my residency in Nashville, TN... meh!

Start Date: 10/09/2012

Upon completion of this course, learners will be prepared to analyze and select appropriate paradigms to guide organizational research. Additionally, learners will have the ability to systematically apply organizational theories to enrich existing models or develop new models to increase performance and effectiveness.

Course Competencies

  • Analyze organizational strategies and needs to determine optimal methods for organizational design.
  • Evaluate various guiding principles of organizations by exploring historical and current trends in organizational theory.
  • Analyze current organization development practices to guide organizational research.
  • Apply paradigms of thinking to organizational challenges and research.
  • Consider the role of ethics in organizational theory, design, and development.

Weeks 1 and 2 Reflections

In this reflection, I have learned many perspectives about what happened to many of these organizations and how they attempt to improve over the years as well as the reasons behind them.  I have also learned that these experiences led to the different theoretical structures, models, and systems to enhance or improve organizational standards and development.  The following is a list of what I have generally learned from these books.

Organization Development

This book discusses the following:
  • Organizational development (OD) from different perspectives and through the years
  • Understanding where OD comes from and the efforts that OD attempts to improve
  • The goal is to understand and help both the organization gain a useful structure as well as helping the people involved with the organization gain a structure through the different experiences organizations perceive

Organizational theory, design, and change

This book discusses the following:
  • Organizational designs: different types and structures, including life cycles, the development of an organizational model, and theory
  • The types of changes that can occur in business and technology, and learning how to deal with them
  • Different types of ethical perspectives the understanding of perspectives from the organization, stakeholders, and employees
  • The consequences of organizational change from different perspectives and how to improve the decisions in an organization

Organizational theory: Challenges and perspectives
This book discusses the following:
  • Introducing the different types of organizational theory with an in-depth analyses of each type
  • An understanding of the uses and perspectives of each type of organizational theory
  • A comparison of the theories

Images of organization

This book discusses the following:
  • Exploring the past of different organizations and how the issues were handled
  • Understanding organizational structure and the politics associated with it
  • The evolution of organizations in modern day terms
  • How technology affects organizations
  • Sociological trends of organizations and the models that are developed

Organizations and organizing

This book discusses the following:
  • Understanding what an organization is
  • Organizations as a system and analyzing the different types of organizational systems: natural, rational, and open
  • The different theories associated with these systems
  • A sociological perspective on organizational systems theory

Gallos, J.V. (2006). Organization development. San Francisco, CA; Jossey-Bass.
Jones, G.R. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
McAuley, J., Duberley, J. & Johnson, P. (2007).Organization theory: Challenges and perspectives. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Morgan, G. (2007). Images of organization. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publiscations
Scott, W.R., Davis, G.F. (2007). Organizations and organizing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 3, DQ 1

Which organizational theory or theories can best be used to improve conditions regarding the issue of employee alienation?According to McAuley, Duberley, and Johnson (2007), the theory that can be used to improve the issues with employee alienation can begin with "McGregor’s theory Y" (McAuley,Duberley, & Johnson, 2007, p. 418).  This theory outlines how the organization should take responsibility over the strategies associated in the workplace and work on changing them to fix the possible issues with the hierarchy, processes, or employee involvement.

What are some examples of how employee alienation is being handled within your own experiences or in your organization? 
In my last organization, the organization would do very little to actually fix any of the processes, hierarchy issues, or employee involvement.  They felt that they could raise morale by occasionally hosting potlucks and parties.  However, this did not fix the issues.

How might you handle employee alienation?
There are a couple of ways I would pursue changing the workplace strategies.  The first way would be to retrieve feedback from the employees on a basis that the company and employees are comfortable with, for example on a quarterly basis.  This aspect toward fixing an issue is used to investigate and analyze the issue from another perspective from one's own.  Then the organization can consider making the adjustments where necessary instead of changing things around and possibly making the employees further angry or dissatisfied.  The second way would be to have regular employee reviews where they can discuss their issues and their work can be analyzed.  This period should be consistent with normal business perspectives on when a review should be held and it will allow the business to hear the thoughts from the employees and also see the employees quality of work.  This would then lead to the same adjustments as the first way and would also accommodate any necessary salary changes that the employees should be receiving.

McAuley, J., Duberley, J. & Johnson, P. (2007).Organization theory: Challenges and perspectives. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 3, DQ 2

Using an example analysis of poor organizational design from your own experience, what are the most significant effects on the organization? What might be the best way to make an improvement to the organizational design? What positive result would you anticipate from such an improvement?

The structure of an organization is one the fundamentals of an organizational design (McAuley, Duberley, & Johnson, 2007). The structure of an organization can lead to either a very good organizational design or a very poor one.  From my own experience in the web technology realm, I have learned that the leaders in an organization should take a more proactive role in some of the dealings with how the employees interface with the clients and other employees.  Employee to leader involvement can lead to encouragement and better learning experiences.  This may not only improve the employee’s interactions but also help them to learn and understand different perspectives.

McAuley, J., Duberley, J. & Johnson, P. (2007).Organization theory: Challenges and perspectives. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 3, Reflections

In this week, I have learned about several different theories and perspectives from my classmates.  There are several beneficial modes of organization but the difficult objective is what is needed and how to figure out which methods to choose.  Some of the methods mentioned can be beneficial toward some organizations rather than others.  In all cases, I have learned several different things this week.

Week 4, DQ 1

What is organizational design, where did it come from, and why does it exist? What positive and negative influences has organizational design had on organizations with which you are familiar? Provide examples from your own or your organization’s experience to support your explanation

“Organizational design is the process by which managers select and manage aspects of structure and culture so an organization can control the activities necessary to achieve its goals” (Jones, 2010, p. 23)
Organizational design is an attempt to create structure that an organization can use with its employees to understand and regulate their processes, and organizes the jobs the employees are responsible for to improve the practices of the organization (Jones, 2010).  Managers and organizations that wish to improve on the system structure create an organizational design to improve their organization and employee workplace environment. 
Some of the positive influences that organizational design has had on the organizations I have been involved with are utilizing an open office environment.  This type of environment is meant to keep all forms of communication open.  The cubicles in the office were either glass or very low so everyone can see each other, instant messengers (IM) were allowed to be used, and offices could not be locked.  Some of the negative influences were that the design was changed too often.  For example, some of the employees became frustrated with having to adapt to newer systems without any training.  These new systems would be introduced too often and disrupted some of the current processes in place.

Jones, G.R. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 4, DQ 2

What systems thinking—rational, natural, or open—paradigm is your dominant way of thinking? How is that style of thinking an advantage in your life? How is that style a disadvantage in your life?

I believe that my dominant way of thinking is using the open system as it involves information theory and explores the possibilities of other existing theories (Scott & Davis, 2007).  Many of the organizations I have dealt with have complex systems in technology and so the open system provides an advantage in my life to explore new technologies and information related to it.  One of the disadvantages, though, indicates that there will be more criticism in the field because much of the investments will be in the technology area and the risk of adapting to a new technology without a lot of information is many times frowned upon.

Scott, W.R., Davis, G.F. (2007). Organizations and organizing. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 4: Reflections

In this week I have learned even more about the different types of systems and theories.  I have also learned that there are many different perspectives depending on the organization.  In learning about open system, I feel that I get a basic understanding of the types of theories that are available and what the objectives of each are.  I hope to learn and understand more about the different systems as it relates toward real world scenarios.

Week 5, DQ 1

Why do so many managers seem ineffective?
An ineffective manager may have too much freedom in some organizations.  They may believe that they can do whatever they like in an organization.  According to Jones (2010), in a case study with the Texana Petroleum Corporation, the organization gave too much power to some of their managers.  The organization expected a higher level of successful turnarounds even though the outcome from the managers was favorable for their market (Jones, 2010).  It’s possible that if the stakeholders of the organization spent more time monitoring the managers, their expected outcome may have become a reality.

Why might ineffective leaders get promoted?
There are several reasons that an ineffective leader may get promoted.  Typically the ethics of the organization or promoting manager is questioned.  Favoritism can play a role in the promotion.  In the case with Microsoft (Jones, 2010), the evaluation process tainted the results of the evaluations because of the favoritism in the organization.

What organizational design characteristics are at work in these situations, and how might they be improved?
The organizational design characteristics that are at work are related to the structure and culture of the organization (Jones, 2010).  Often times, upper management does not pay attention to the problems that occur until it’s too late or an issue occurs (Jones, 2010).  If they paid more attention, or became sincerely involved with their employees, they may be able to improve these scenarios.

Provide examples from your own or your organization’s experience to support your explanationIn my new organization, the heads of the organization often come to the employees to say hello and see how they are doing.  This gives both the employee and chief officers the opportunity to communicate and openly get feedback from each other. In my last organization, the communication between the CTO and the employees was the worst experience I have ever encountered. The CTO openly insults people as well as not acknowledge some of the employees. The CEO and founder of the company allows the CTO to do whatever he wanted to do. The organization consistently looses employees and the relationships of the clients because of this poor behavior.

Jones, G.R. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 5, DQ 2

What role does corporate culture have in improving organizations?  Provide examples from your own or your organization’s experience to support your explanation.

In a corporate environment, one of the ideas toward improving the culture in an organization is to pay attention to the organizational design (Jones, 2010).  Good ethical behaviors also play a role in improving the culture and design as well so that the organization can provide structure to both the employees and the organizational goals.  In my last organization, the culture could have been better.  The employees are talented and the work was straightforward.  I firmly believe that the organization can do much better than it currently is if they considered the organization’s culture and fixed their design.  As I mentioned in DQ 1 of this week, the CTO of my last organization was a really awful person.  For example, I remember when I was sitting in my cube, doing my work, and he walked by to tell me, “Hey Alex, you’re still working here?”  It was not the first time I have heard him say that to someone either.  He allowed and distributed an abundant amount of favoritism in the office as well as insults.  If he was an ethical person and didn’t allow certain employees to get away with some of the things they should not have, many good people would still be working in that company.  Using myself as a prime example of how this company is falling apart, when they lost me, they also lost their top clients because of his behavior that I was managing.  I also managed a team of developers, data processors, and system operations to maintain their client’s websites, and when I left, everything began to fall apart.


Jones, G.R. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 5: Reflections

In this week, I have learned there are several complexities involved with management and the ideas behind it.  Many of the decisions made in an organization are based on the organization's culture and design.  Ethics and culture play a valuable role in the decisions that are made in an organization as well.  Much of the comments in the forums gave me a lot to think about as well.  Taking the steps to recognize the issues and move forward appropriately to an efficient organizational design are some of the lessons I will take with me in this week.

Week 6, DQ 1

What are the basic challenges of organization design you experience as most troubling within your organization?
One of the challenges of organization design is that of organizational design change.  My prior organization, a web technology company, seemed to take every initiative to make sure they remain obsolete.  I believe that they did not want to move their technology forward to the next level.  In some technology organizations, keeping the same technology is a benefit but in the web technology industry, it continuously evolves.  The managers and employees who work in the company should be well informed of the latest technology so that they can meet the standards or beat the competition (Jones, 2010).

What would you do differently if you were in charge?

I think I would promote business and technology newsletters, research time slots to see what works in technology and businesses, new technology training sessions to those who are applicable, and a suggestion box or similar to be continuously informed and competitive in the industry.


Jones, G.R. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Weeks 6, DQ 2

What is the value (or lack of value) in job descriptions? 
A job description provides a employee a brief idea of what the employers may expect from the job requirements.  It generalizes much of the tasks and may not even have all of the requirements in the details.  So there is very little value in what is in a job description.  In a case study with United Products, Inc., job descriptions provide little to no value as people may take on additional responsibilities in a job (Jones, 2010). 
Other than job descriptions, how might work tasks and expectations be communicated, learned, and shared? 
Work tasks may be communicated via email, phone, or in-person.  These tasks may be given to an employee by another employee or a manager.  A manager or employee may be able to train someone or research might be required.  Many tasks may be skills that the employee already knows about as well and so the task is designated to them.

Provide examples from your own experiences to explain your answer

One time I was asked to create an email from a graphic into a web-based format.  The task was outside of my requirements but it was something I was familiar with creating.


Jones, G.R. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 6: Reflections

In this week, I have learned several different perspectives from my classmates on their experiences and ideas of what can and may happen in an organization.  Many of these opinions reflect my own concerns and perspectives as well.  Perceptions on ethics, ideals, and job descriptions are all very much related to each other in some way.  I particularly enjoyed my team's collaboration, topic, and effort that was put into our presentation.  

Week 7, DQ 1

What are examples of mechanistic and organic corporations? 
A mechanistic organization may involve a group of employees that specialize in an area to complete specific tasks but work individually (Jones, 2010).  This type of organization may have clear views and have formal policies (Jones, 2010).  An organization like McDonalds is a mechanistic organization.  The McDonalds' chain restaurants require the individuals to make the same burgers on the menu that the customers order.

An organic organization may involve a group of individuals that may need to collaborate to complete the goals and tasks of the corporation (Jones, 2010).  An example of a organic organization may be similar to a company that produces websites.  This type of organizations expect specific outcomes but creativity is needed.  The employees of this type of organization may also have specific tasks but need a team to collaborate to create and complete the website.  Database processors, project managers, developers, designers, and system operations are just a few teams that may be needed to create a single high-level website.

What are the differences between these two images of organizations? 
One of the differences between these organizations are that while mechanistic corporations may require formality in their policies and processes, an organic organization may need creativity and flexibility.

How do these differences relate to the organizations you listed?
Each organization has its own set of ideas and policies on how they believe their corporation should be run to meet the needs of their audiences/customers.

Jones, G.R. (2010). Organizational theory, design, and change (6th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Week 7: Reflections

In week 7, I realized that we are almost done with this course! Time flew by so quickly.  I learned a few things about mechanistic and organic corporations, images and metaphors associated with them, learning systems, and the systems thinking paradigm.  I have also learned several different perspectives from my classmates on the types of corporations and how they apply to mechanic and organic organizations.

Week 8, DQ 1

What new insights has this class given you about organizations and their structure? What new insights do you have about your own organization, or an organization you are familiar with, and its structure? Have you identified areas within your organization’s design that you might improve if you were chief executive officer? What are these areas?

This course has provided me with many different types of insight and information.  I learned that there are different types of systems, that they can be applied in different ways to an organization depending on the needs of that organization.  The organization I used to work with could truly benefit from utilizing the approaches of an open system as this system attempts to learn about the organizational environment and increase the competency of their employees (Gallos, 2006).  For example, some of the developers I worked with are very talented in their areas of expertise, however when it came time to learn about new technology systems, the organization prevented it because there was not really enough time to dedicate to learning new systems.  I believe that there needs to be a segment of time set aside for anyone who wants to learn about something that can benefit the company and the employee’s knowledge base.
Gallos, J.V. (2006). Organization development.San Francisco, CA; Jossey-Bass.

Week 8, DQ 2

Considering the 21st century emphasis on teams, where might there be continued use of teams of value? What might be arguments against the use of teams? Provide examples from your own experiences.

Teams help to provide different perceptions, aspects, and levels of creativity.  Teams are valuable in that they provide a wealth of informational resources from different people and from other outside resources.  They help with problem solving as well as completing team-oriented tasks for the organization (Morgan, 2007).  One of the downsides from using teams though is that there may be points where the team needs to make a final decision and they may not all agree to it.  In one my previous organizations, a team of developers came together to try and discuss the best ways to go about completing a project.  The project was very complex and had many different routes that could be taken.  Any choice that the developers agreed to would have been fine to the organization but the developers all had their own personal views on the best possible solution.  Eventually the director had to step into the meeting to make the final decision.

Morgan, G. (2007). Images of organization. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Week 8: Reflections

Wow, its the last day of this course!  I feel that I learned several new things that I hope to use in my future courses.  I have learned about different systems thinking approaches, organizational theory and design, and different perspectives on organizational change.  I definitely appreciate all of the varieties of ideas and insight toward many of the experiences I have had.  Writing the creation of a paradigm was difficult for me, yet fun at the same time because I was able to explore and have some insight into how complex creating the paradigm really can be. 

Grade Report: ORG/716

Grade Summary (Week 1-Week 8)

Grade: A-
Total Percentage: 89.5%
Your Total Score: 89.5
Total Possible Score: 100

Week 8

Possible Score Your Score
Individual Paper 20.0 20.0
A fine conclusion to the course. Very good use of course concepts to develop a
creative approach. Well done!! Rich
Participation 4.0 4.0
Thanks for your efforts and contribution to the course!
Week 8 Subtotal : 24 24
Cumulative Week 8 Subtotal : 100 89.5
Week 8 Feedback:

Week 7

Possible Score Your Score
Individual Paper 15.0 12.0
Alexandria, the paper is very well-written and presents course concepts well.
Good work in that respect. However, one central requirement of the assignment
is bypassed in that neither a specific systems paradigm is presented, nor a
specific organizational metaphor, and in turn the alignment between them is not
discussed. Nonetheless, the paper represents a very good effort. Rich
Participation 4.0 4.0
A thorough effort...particularly considering the holiday weekend. Good work!
Week 7 Subtotal : 19 16
Cumulative Week 7 Subtotal : 76 65.5
Week 7 Feedback:

Week 6

Possible Score Your Score
Participation 4.0 4.0
Another week of very good contibutions to class discussions. Excellent
interaction, proper integration of theory and practice. Good work! Rich
Team Paper 5.0 5.0
An excelent presentation. Fine content, excellent use of concepts, professional
PPT. Applications are realistic and well-grounded. Great work! Rich
Week 6 Subtotal : 9 9
Cumulative Week 6 Subtotal : 57 49.5
Week 6 Feedback:

Week 5

Possible Score Your Score
Individual Paper 10.0 10.0
Alexandria, excellent. A fine analysis and very well-written. Good work! Rich
Participation 4.0 4.0
Very good classroom work this week. Quite engaged and interactive. Well done.
Week 5 Subtotal : 14 14
Cumulative Week 5 Subtotal : 48 40.5
Week 5 Feedback:

Week 4

Possible Score Your Score
Individual Paper 15.0 12.0
Alexandria, content is satisfactory and concepts reasonably applied but the
table is not in APA format as required and very difficult to follow. Also, a
title page is required on all assignments. Rich
Participation 4.0 3.0
Good work in the classroom, contributing well to course discussions. However,
minimum participation requirements were not met.... Rich
Week 4 Subtotal : 19 15
Cumulative Week 4 Subtotal : 34 26.5
Week 4 Feedback:

Week 3

Possible Score Your Score
Individual Paper 10.0 6.5
Alexandria, the matrix presents the rudimentary information but beyond that the
paper lacks detail and elaboration. Matrix entries would benefit from
expansion; question responses present little meaningful information. Also, no
reference list is presented. Perhaps this was just a bad week for you. As we
move forward, please focus on depth of analysis. Rich
Participation 4.0 4.0
Looks good. Participation is excellent with fine contribution to class.
Week 3 Subtotal : 14 10.5
Cumulative Week 3 Subtotal : 15 11.5
Week 3 Feedback:

Week 2

Possible Score Your Score
Week 1 & 2 Reflections 1.0 1.0
Week 2 Subtotal : 1 1
Cumulative Week 2 Subtotal : 1 1
Week 2 Feedback:

Week 1

Possible Score Your Score
Week 1 & 2 Reflections 1.0 1.0