Chevron Left
Back to Organizational Analysis

Learner Reviews & Feedback for Organizational Analysis by Stanford University

889 ratings
274 reviews

About the Course

In this introductory, self-paced course, you will learn multiple theories of organizational behavior and apply them to actual cases of organizational change. Organizations are groups whose members coordinate their behaviors in order to accomplish a shared goal. They can be found nearly everywhere in today’s society: universities, start-ups, classrooms, hospitals, non-profits, government bureaus, corporations, restaurants, grocery stores, and professional associations are some of many examples of organizations. Organizations are as varied and complex as they are ubiquitous: they differ in size and internal structure; they can entail a multiplicity of goals and tasks (some of which are planned and others unplanned!); they are made up of individuals whose goals and motivations may differ from those of the group; and they must interact with other organizations and deal with environmental constraints in order to be successful. This complexity frequently results in a myriad of problems for organizational participants and the organization’s survival. In this course, we will use organizational theories to systematically analyze how an organization operates and can best be managed. Organizational theories highlight certain features of an organization’s structure and environment, as well as its processes of negotiation, production, and change. Each provides a lens for interpreting novel organizational situations and developing a sense for how individual and group behaviors are organized. Theories are valuable for the analyst and manager because most organizational problems are unique to the circumstances and cannot be solved by simple rules of thumb. Armed with a toolset of organizational theories, you will be able to systematically identify important features of an organization and the events transforming it; choose a theoretical framework most applicable to the observed mode of organizing; and use that theory to determine which actions will best redirect the organization in desired directions. In sum, the course has three goals: to become familiar with a series of real-world organizational phenomena; to learn different theoretical perspectives that can elucidate these phenomena; and to apply these different ways of “seeing” and managing organizations to cases. In such a fashion, the course is designed to actively bridge theory and practice, exposing students to a variety of conceptual tools and ways to negotiate novel situations....

Top reviews


Apr 30, 2020

This course provides in-depth analyses of a host of organizational theories and their application in real life. The dissection of each case and the applicability of the theories are really insightful.


Sep 03, 2019

Very challenging yet worth it. If you are in an administrative position in an organization (especially education) you will get some great perspectives/understandings from this course. Take good notes!

Filter by:

26 - 50 of 270 Reviews for Organizational Analysis

By Fabian F

Dec 29, 2017

Very abstract at times, but overall a great course. Thank you.

By Vitaly V

Jun 19, 2017

Very boring

By Heather B

Jul 17, 2020

This is highly theoretical and entirely dull. I am a professional with 20 years of corporate experience, so I at least have context for what is presented, and it's still boring as heck. I can't imagine being a student with no experience. Not to mention, most of the case studies are from educational settings, so if this isn't where you work or what interests you, then you will be further lulled into a stupor.

I took this to fill some gaps in my knowledge about organizational frameworks and I'm not taking away much. Quit this after the 6th lesson. Essentially, now I have a couple terms to use for things that I observe, but zero practical application to influence any aspect of how I work.

By Jonas H

Aug 11, 2020

First of all I want to thank Prof. McFarland for the very interesting course. It was a very good experience!

My main negative point is that I would have loved to obtain more current theories and studies. Additionally, there appears sometimes a little flickering on the screen and in one video at some occasions a slight interference noise can be heared (probably of a mobile phone). Lastly, some typos in the slides and questions may appear.

Still, there the wealth of case studies, examples and additional material that renders the course additionally enlightening. Even the other participants create value through discussion in the forum (thanks at this point to the voluntaries that moderate it and answer questions!). Not to forget the exstensive screenside chats in which Prof. McFarland answers questions and elaborates on the course material even more!

Further, the quality of the audio/video is good and Prof. McFarland as the presenter comes across as very motivated, engaged and likable, so watching sequences of the course over and over again is not uncomfortable. Put together and considering the affordable price, the pros fully outweigh the cons and 5 stars are fully earned.

By Najib H

Jan 05, 2017

Professor Daniel McFarland of Stanford University, deliver here an inspiring and attention-grabbing course about how to find structured keys and solutions for an environment where most organizational problems are distinctive to the circumstances and cannot be elucidated by simple click.

The eleven weeks of materials was indeed long and personally very difficult to absorb, but the final reward is 100% worth it!!

I am highly thankful to Professor Daniel McFarland, for allowing me to be part of his class and sharing us (students) generously his extensive knowledge, theories and thoughts about new ways to enlighten work environment, and understand in a systematic, practical manner & the behind-the-curtain; the industrialized world we are living.

For geographical reasons, it will be technically impossible for me to attend Professor Daniel McFarland classes at Stanford University and thanks to his generous patience, engagement and priceless time to prepare this exceptional course,

I am really honored and proud to have joined this outstanding and must learn course here on coursera!!!

Definitively a stellar 5 Star rating!!!

By Robert

Jul 04, 2018

Found this to be an exceptional course which introduced me to theories for analyzing organizations. The material was challenging, thought-provoking, and highly practical. As an educator in the public school system, I could see how decisions were influenced by many factors. I would like to meet with Professor McFarland one day. I have a few other personal experienced based theories relatinging to analysis of organization , nuances of some presented, that I would like to share with him. I am especially interested in the impact of the consumer on shaping organizations. But I sense the consumer is just lumped in as a member of the environment. The information age empowers the consumer providing greater choice and opportunities for disruptive innovations. I would like to see students wield this influence to bring education into the 21st Century.Professor McFarland, Thank you for your fine work and willingness to share.Robert Schenker:

By Dimitris K

Nov 09, 2016

An excellent introduction and analysis on the the very essence of organizations. The course is well structured and presented. One may argue that there is lots of theory and material, especially if references and external information are followed and researched. This, in my point of view, is not a minus (however, I'm am used to such an approach given a PhD background). One point of improvement: all theory is accompanied by case-studies and practical examples. Most of them, however, are drawn from the US experience and reality - none really from an international perspective (with the exceptions of the Cuba missile crisis and of Google - an international "icon" anyhow). More intenationally-drawn examples would have been a plus, given the very cultural and nationality-wise mix of students who sign up for MOOCs. Thank you. Dimitris, Athens, Greece.

By Mark F

Jan 01, 2018

Well-paced and genuinely personable delivery of course content. Highly relevant theories and models; indeed, I most appreciated the inter- and cross-disciplinary approach used to better understand human and organizational relationships (in organizations and within and between markets and sub-sectors of the economy). This course met its goal of provided learners with a very wide range of theories and models to understand what can sometimes be a complex web of interactions between supporters and detractors, competitors and collaborators. Truly well worth the investment and as long as one takes good notes throughout each lecture and invaluable resource to draw on for understanding and managing the various relationships that exist within and between organizations.

By Rahat S

Sep 01, 2020

Amazing!! I enjoyed this course a lot specially the flexibility with time stipulation. Being the MOOC this course was well interactive and informative to fit the practitioners choice as well the beginners. Technical aspects of this course was fantastic and nicely equipped with any disruption. I hope this type of course would open doors for the people who have limited access into the professional development process. There could be group assignment for evaluations which could give a go for more interactive and simulative. Cheers to all graduates off course including me. Thanks the Daniel A. McFarland and his great team including Stanford University and Coursera. Best, Dr. Rahat Sikdar, International Consultant and Development Specialist

By Basel A A

May 13, 2020

Excellent course for understanding how organizations work, function, react to problems, change. Very important for managers or business leaders. A large portion of the cases used were from the education field like schools, and universities but the examples can applied to all organizations whether profit or non profit. The lectures were very informative and entertaining. The quizzes were challenging and the final was even more challenging. Thank you Coursera, Stanford, Dr. Dan McFarland for this very beneficial course.

By Oleksandr M

May 08, 2019

I have many years of experience working at various organizations, however, it was very useful and exciting to learn about different and such complicated paths in the process of decision making. This course has allowed me to gain different perspective and start analyzing in absolute new way organizations/decision making groups with which I am working at this moment.

It also helps to make practical steps in order to succeed in the process of decision making.

Thank you

By Caio A V

Nov 30, 2016

For a long time, a dreamt with this kind of course and this level of teaching. I believe that this course represents the magna opus of what Coursera's mission fosters to be. It is enlightening, complete and passionate in so many ways that make this intangible asset almost physical. My only advice is, just take this course and embrace what you will learn because it can actually change you and luckily your environment as well.

By Claudio B

Feb 28, 2017

The course is excellent, it covers several theories about organizational analysis with various case studies. The most interesting thing for me is the constant concern to make practical knowledge, identifying when a theory is more applicable and what course of action a manager should take in each case. In the end, we have a series of tools that can be used in whole or in part, depending on the case in question.

By Yana S

Dec 24, 2016

The content was very insightful, it provided me with some lenses (as promised) to analyse different organizational issues and have deeper understanding of possible strategies for me as a change agent. The two things I've missed were 1) some peer-graded assignment in addition to quizzes and 2) some list for future investigation/reading. Maybe you would consider adding those to future courses. Thank you!

By Cassandra W

Oct 01, 2020

Very impressed with the content and structure of the course. A fair bit of information well layered that articulated a host of experiences we have at the workplace very well with explanations about them and how to manage to them. Also listed a host of theories supported with management strategies to use that I was not familiar with. So overall extremely pleased with the course.

By Vianny M

Sep 01, 2019

I am deeply satisfied with the course! The materials/lectures helped me to understand the basics thoroughly. Particularly the case studies are my real interest. I wish if there was a one big case study as an example where all the theories in this course are covered. I am applying these theories in my current organization and I got a positive feedback..! Thanks Coursera!

By Richard H

Jun 11, 2018

Interesting course. Provides good insights to the way different organizations work. As a result, when I recently was looking at a start-up, it was easy to identify the different players and understand the nature of the organization. Hopefully, I will be able to use some of the skills learned in the course to help move the organization in a successful direction.

By Alejandro D G

Sep 02, 2019

It is an excellent course, with a lot of information that can help you, on your management skills and better comprehension of how organizations can be, apart of what might guide the organization into a new way.

I recommend this course to anyone who wants to improve their management abilities and/or those who are willing to comprehend how organizations behave.

By shubham A

Jul 16, 2017

This Course is really a good one. A large number of concepts are discussed in this course and moreover the case studies provided are really the USP of this course. This course not only provides with the theoretical knowledge, but also helps to understand the practical applications of the theories. I would love to recommend this course to everyone.

By Anatol K

Aug 28, 2020

One of the best courses I've taken on Coursera! Thanks to the Professor McFarland for preparing great lectures reach of material, real world examples. This gave me a lot insights on organizations and projects I've worked for. Special thanks for extras - the informal screen side chats that kind of helped to grasp the information easier. Thank you!

By Aiganysh I

Aug 09, 2020

It is a great course for anyone who wishes to comprehend a variety of organizational development theories (and their application) and thus hone one's sociological imagination. Huge thank you to our professor - Daniel McFarland and TAs for your dedication! I especially enjoyed screen-side chats and overview lectures - these very extremely helpful.

By Carl A

Jan 18, 2018

In my profession as a general manager of a company I can identify a lot of the theories in this course when dealing with both internals of my organization, and even more our customer organizations, which are both privately owned companies and public organizations. I can definitely recommend this course to any managers out there.

By Thomas L

May 29, 2020

Incredible useful course. A detailed breakdown of all the major Organisational Analysis models, how they relate to one another, and which one is the most relevant in any given business sector. Would thoroughly recommend this course to anyone looking to understand why the organisation they work for makes the decisions they do.

By Ramadoss B

Mar 27, 2017

Great course ! Great teacher !

Good combination of theory as wel as practice through case studies. Students are also exposed to variety of case studies of US Corporates / Universities / Government which provides an opportunity to learn about US Management Systems.

I am lucky to have come across this course.

By Alvaro E V R

Nov 13, 2017

Excellent course. It has provided me very strong understanding through various models and ways of thinking about organizational dynamics and decision making. I wish I had had this course decades ago. It is really excellent. Prof. Macfarland is very clear, honest and insightful. I am very satisfied.