Member Query: Organizational Sociology Courses in Business Majors

John Grady <jgrady@wheatonma.edu> writes:

Wheaton College is developing a new major in business. It includes as a requirement a course to be taught in organizational behavior in the psychology department. We will be offering a course on How Organizations Work, and have requested that it be considered as an alternative to the Organizational Behavior course. The administration feels that the psychology course is a standard offering in business majors, but that organizational sociology is not. Can a case be made — with examples to boot — of the equivalence of the sociological studies of organizations in such offerings?

2 comments
  1. I suggest that you propose including a sociology course in addition to a psychology course, not as an alternative. Social psychology/organizational behavior courses address micro-level, individual attitudes and behavior in organizations. Organizational sociology/”organizational theory” courses address “meso”- and macro-level questions about organizational structure, organizational culture, relationships and networks among organizations, organizational populations, organizational/institutional fields, etc. They are not equivalent, but both are important. To bolster your case with the administration, you could point to graduate business schools, which usually include both “OB” and “OT” courses in the curriculum.

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