To this point, I've presented a working definition of organizations, and explained just how common they are. Now, I want to sell you on the course, learning about organizations, reflecting on how they operate, and considering a variety means by which they can be managed, as an important skill that most everyone in today's society should develop. We live in an organizational society and many of the problems we confront are organizational in nature. Everybody needs to understand and manage organizations, if we're to evolve to society. This course attempts to provide you with such training. It's an introductory course on organizations that helps you grapple with all the complexity of institutional life. The course focuses on actual cases of non-profits, educational institutions, government agencies, private firms, and the policies aimed to changing them. The course material is design for advanced undergraduates, master's students, and doctoral students interested in organizations. So let's cut for the chase, what's the utility of this course to managers, policymakers and analysts. Why should you care? Well, the obvious reason is that Organizations are everywhere. To be literate, to be educated in this society, you need to understand them. You can't change society or understand much of it without knowing something about organizations and how they work, the social reality of organizational life is pretty messy and complex and we need conceptual frameworks to help us make sense of it. For example, what should you pay attention to about an organization? What matters? What does not? Where you begin if you want to study and change organizations? This course offers you conceptual frameworks and tools by which to do this. Through this course, you'll better understand the problems that organizations like schools, universities, non-profits, and even private firms confront. There's so many problems that arise in an organization, it's hard to rattle them all off but here we can name a few. The first is that organizations confront problems of defining objectives, or goals, it's not always clear what they're about or what they're trying to accomplish. Organizations also struggle to get people to show up and perform services or tasks. They worry about coordination of these people, trying to accomplish these tasks, and even how to coordinate different tasks with one another. So the problem of implementation and coordination of multiple kinds of activities. There's also always a concern of trying necessary resources from the environment. Organizations require input, like money or revenue. They need materials and even knowledge. Then they have to worry about outputs, like dispensing ideas, products and funds to the environment. There's also a concern with selecting, training, and replacing members as participants move through these organizations. People get old, they die, they decide their interest in other things and constantly selecting and re-training and replacing members is a key part of an organization. Organizations even worry about relations outside the firm. Ties to your neighbors, ties to competitors, and fits with the surrounding environment. For example, Walmart can't just up and move into any neighborhood, he has to consider the environment and the kinds of dependencies within that context that it confronts before moving in. This course exposes you to a variety of actual CASES of organizations and THEORIES, theories that help make sense of what you've observed. Through this course, you'll learn there's nothing more practical than a good theory. Many of you have organizational experiences that will be of great value to this course. I want you to think of them as experiences from which you've developed different accounts or interpretations. In most cases, your accounts focus on certain features of the organizational context. You attribute causal force to certain elements and certain actors over others. And, you come to certain conclusions as to why things happened the way they did. Those accounts in many ways are a folk theory or a proto theory, a precursor to a developed theory. But as we all know, people have different accounts the same phenomena, and the same explanation or way of seeing organized life cannot be universally applied, in many regards, it's not enough to adopt one theory or one perspective on everything. In whatever career you pick, you'll confront new problems and new situations where you're previously generated explanation doesn't apply, or where another perspective is altogether needed. This course exposes you to multiple theories of explaining and managing organizations. Now, why would you want that? You want that because it helps you develop different accounts that you already have. It helps you get outside your own vote conceptions or perspective. It helps you think in new ways about organizations so when you go out and study one or manage one. You don't just draw in rules of thumb that will likely never work in a particular case but you can adopt different ways of seeing and thinking about the particular phenomena. So this course provides you with different perspectives you may not have considered before. When you look at an organization now, it may seem unbearably complex and composed of an endless array of features. But through theories, you'll learn to listen for different kinds of music in all the loud noise. Each theory picks up on different features of organized life, and renders them into explanatory narratives you can use. And by implication, my hope is that you'll learn different and perhaps better ways of managing. This course is designed to enrich your understanding of organizational phenomena and your experiences in them. You won't be given a laundry list of advice or rules of thumb that soon go out of style or fail to apply to the novel situation you're going to confront. There's no silver bullet solutions here. You'll be given a set of tools, ways of seeing, ways of understanding and ways of managing the complex reality of organizations. I'll leave it up to you and the actual organizational cases and interests you to discern which tool or combination of them best applies.