This course explores organizational theory and organizational change within the context of nonprofit organizations. Topics include industry structure, competition and differentiation; integration, diversification, and expansion; and strategic management and leadership of organizational culture and change. We will focus on understanding change at multiple levels -- individual; community; institutional; systems -- in order to examine the complexities as well as inter-related aspects of theorizing and engaging in "change." The course will use multiple pedagogical models -- case studies; experiential real-world exercises; group projects -- to support students' engagement with these topics.
All readings, except for Liu's book, are available online through the course website. (See below.)
Changing Communities – Case Study of a Community Site You will choose a community site to do a mini-case study on. This site cannot be your own; you will thus discuss possible options with classmates to determine an appropriate site. The case study will be done through Bolman & Deal’s (2013) four-frame analysis of organizations.
Real-World Exercise in Institutional Change You will – as a group – engage in a real-world, real-time exercise to implement some form of institutional change. This change is to be done within the context of Merrimack College and be achievable by the end of the course. The class will use a “theory of change” model (Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2004) in developing the focus, action steps, and anticipated outcomes.
Real-World Exercise in Systems Change You will – as an individual and in a small group – engage in a real-world, real-time exercise to understand and engage with an ongoing initiative that has systems change as its goal. Namely, the professor has spearheaded an initiative to document, develop, and disseminate research and practices of academic programs – majors, minors, and certificates – in community engagement (e.g., Butin, 2006, 2010, 2012). You will work to update this initiative and examine its spread.
Final Paper You are to choose a topic of your choice for the final paper. The overarching goal is to demonstrate that you can articulate, analyze, reflect upon, and synthesize the issue chosen. The final paper can incorporate any aspect of the course, including the case study, or exercises in institutional or systems change.