Organizations and (formal) institutions represent the basic structures of modern society. Organizations are crucial collective actors whose decisions and behavior result from complex interactions ... read more
Organizations and (formal) institutions represent the basic structures of modern society. Organizations are crucial collective actors whose decisions and behavior result from complex interactions between individuals in changing institutional environments. The purpose of the course is to provide students with a thorough grounding in the social science literature on organizations, organizational and institutional change. Starting with organizations, we will deal with theories on decision making in a variety of organizations and we will discuss their
implications on companies, trade unions and the European Union. We will explore the problem of power and the influence of environment (micro-politics, resource dependency, institutional theory of organizations). This helps us to understand the limits of organizational
learning and the impressive isomorphic pressure driving organizational fields such as European Union social policies (e.g. employment, poverty, social exclusion). We will also scrutinize institutional theory which has been developed and used across the different disciplines of social science. Going a step further, we will contrast the sociological neo-institutionalism with theories of institutions in political economy that explore phenomena such as path dependency, recombination and other forms of institutional change. We will explore their contribution to questions looking at why political reforms are usually incremental and why institutional legacies remain significant in social policy making across the EU member states.