Master of International Affairs   Master of Public Policy  

Inclusive organisations in the digital age

Classic organisational studies depict organisations as deeply conservative human constructs. Unless subject to strong environmental pressures, organisations tend to resist major changes in their routines, power structures and administrative cultures. This resistance manifests in the managerial configurations that organisations choose to reproduce. The influential political economy work by North, Wallis and Weingast (2009), "Violence and Social Orders", suggests that the passage from personalistic managerial practices in organisations towards more impersonal and professional management is critical in the building of democratic open societies. What are the factors that determine this passage? Which tensions are created along the way and how should these be managed?

This course seeks to explore how organisations deal with contemporary pressures to embrace greater openness on several fronts. In particular, the course focuses on the management of workforce heterogeneity, and how this affects organisational outcomes in a globalised and digital era. It draws insights from political science, sociology, and organisational studies in order to unravel the challenges and opportunities that the management of societal diversity poses. The course covers four relevant themes. First, it provides a succinct overview of how democratic theories on equity, representation and inclusiveness are reflected at the organisational level. Second, it discusses how demographic changes and other environmental factors (legislation, cultural shifts, competitive pressures, etc.) operate as determinants of workforce diversification processes, and how context shapes the resulting configurations. A third pillar explores different models for the management of workforce diversity in the context of fast-changing environments that involve the role of leadership, the organisational culture, and the structuring of recruitment and appraisal processes. Finally, the course will discuss the evidence on the impacts of workforce diversity on organisations’ innovation capacities and the delivery of services in the context of the data economy. For each thematic pillar, the course will engage in deep analysis, comprehensively tackling key debates and questions surrounding this timely topic.

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.