OBE 150 | Syllabus

Fall 2006                                                                                           Professor Jerry D. Estenson


College of Business Administration


OBE 150 - The Management of Contemporary Organizations

Section 13: 3:00 - 4:15, Sections 14 & 15: 6:00 - 7:15

Tuesday and Thursday (Televised)


OFFICE:                           Tahoe 2048
OFFICE HOURS:             T/TH 2:15 - 2:45 p.m.& 4:30 - 5:30 p.m
OFFICE PHONE               CSUS Office 278-6781 (Phone)
                                         Voice Mail: 557-5738

                                         Personal Fax: 967-6410

EMAIL:                              University Email estenson@csus.edu

                                         Private Email jestenso@ns.net

WEBSITE:                         www.csus.edu/indiv/e/estenson

TEXT (required)

Daft, William, Nelson, Quick and Durbrin. (2005). The Management of Contemporary Organizations: Custom Edition prepared exclusively for California State University. Mason, Ohio: Thomson South-Western.




In their critique of management theory, management consultants and academicians specializing in management theory, Micklethwait and Wooldridge claim that these self-appointed groups of Gurus are “the unacknowledged legislators of mankind (They borrowed and modified Shelly). They support their theory by asking us to look around and note how theorist and consultants are laying down the law, reshaping institutions, refashioning language, and reorganizing people’s lives. As a side note they propose that neither the President of the United States nor the Governor of California may directly impact your daily organizational life but a consultant could seriously change your work life. (The Witch Doctors: Making Sense of the Management Gurus).


Some thinkers about the future of management like Charles Handy and Peter Senge tell us the future will not be a continuation of the past but will be a series of discontinuities. If what they say is true, the future is up for grabs. Organizations and individuals that economically survive and thrive will be those that challenge old models, old ways of thinking, old rules, old strategies, old assumptions, and old recipes for success. (Rethinking the Future). This view of the world resulted in Handy and Senge challenging the complacency of a group of future Chief Executive Officers by asking them to think about the proposition: “What would you do if the behaviors and skills that made you a success to this point in your career will cause you to fail in the future?”


Before one can challenge the way people’s organizational life is ordered, it is important to understand the basics (the old way). It is through understanding the roots of past thinking that we can move forward to new and creative ways to solve organizational problems. My job is to assist you on a journey to understanding will start with the world in which managers live and operate. Once there is understanding of that terrain, we will explore the specific tools managers use to focus human behavior. These tools include planning, organizing, leading and controlling the activities of those who have chosen to work in an organization.


As we explore past techniques we will integrate current thinking on various topics. In these explorations we will discuss difficult issues such as downsizing, re-engineering, workplace diversity, quality of work life, role of unions, globalization, market expectations, and the recruitment and retention of skilled workers.


Together we will build a base of knowledge, which will serve you well in future business courses, and help you start to shape the future..




• You will be provided the opportunity to understand the nature of organizations, internal and external forces that influence organizational behavior, and the factors contributing to organizational effectiveness.

• You will be given the opportunity to analyze and solve complex organizational problems using the frameworks, perspectives and models provided during the course.

• You will gain an appreciation for the role of human behavior in determining organizational effectiveness.

• You will have the opportunity to improve your team management skills by studying the theory and process of team activity.

• You will be exposed to the complexity of global operations and understand the impact the global economy has on organizations.

• You will study the relationship between organizations and society and appreciate the nature of ethical dilemmas created by this relationship.

• You will have a solid informational foundation to further your study of business administration.

These goals will be accomplished by narrowing the focus to certain aspects of behavior in organizations. While narrowing limits the subjects covered, you will have the opportunity to probe human interaction at the following levels:

• Organizations in a global setting

• Organizations in a society

• Activities between organizations

• Behavior of individuals in an organization

• Behaviors of individuals in groups

• Behavior of individuals





Several methods of instruction will be used. Because of class size and the limits of distance education, each subject will be covered by a lecture. The lectures will take on the flavor of an open discussion not stand and deliver. Lectures will be supplemented by videos and when possible guest speakers. Like the subject matter, method of instruction will be fluid and respond to resources available each week.



There will be three full period examinations during the semester. The exams will be divided into two parts: Multiple choice and short essay. Each exam will cover material in a specific number of chapters, lectures and information provided by guest speakers. The exams are NOT CUMMULATIVE.


Case Project

Each student or team (approximately five students) will preferably work on a live case study. The goal is to study a situation occurring in the organization employing the individual or a team member. If there is no opportunity for a live study, the instructor will place book of strategic cases in the library's reserve bookroom. To assist you with this project, material related to preparation of a case study are provided through the course web site.


Using the methodology presented in the hand outs each student or team will clearly state the context in which a management problem is occurring, Next a critical problem will be selected. With the problem defined the student or team will develop a set of alternative solutions. These solutions will be constructed using theories and models presented in the text. The last part of the study will be a recommended course of action to fix the problem. This recommendation will be supported by theories and models used by the authors or shared with the class by our executive guests.

Your case will be graded using the following criteria:

Description Maximum Percentage
Clarity of problem statement 15%

Exploration of options


Persuasiveness of material and arguments used to support recommended solution

Use of theories, models, and processes provided in the text 25%
Presentation (Writing mechanics, appropriate writing style, use of graphics, and general appearance of document) 30%
TOTAL 100%



The feedback provided by grades indicates how well you are performing against a standard set at the beginning of the semester. There is no curve provided and the points you accumulate on each activity will determine your final grade.

Three Exams (250 points per exam) 750
Case Project (As an incentive, extra credit or bribery) for turning the project in early the point value for the case is as follows:

• Before midnight March 9 = 400 possible points

• After midnight March 9 and before midnight March 30 = 350 possible points

• After midnight March 30 before midnight April 18 = 300 possible points

• After midnight April 18 before midnight April 25 = 275 possible points

• After midnight April 25 before midnight May 2 = 250 possible points

• Each class day after midnight May 2 the total possible points are reduced 10% of base value per class meeting. This makes the case worth 175 points if turned in with the final. No cases will be accepted after the final is given.

Total Possible Points 1,000




Grade Break Down

            A       =       1,000-940           C+     =         799-780
            A-      =         939-900            C       =         779-740
            B+     =         899-880            C-      =         739-700
            B       =         879-840            D+     =         699-680
            B-      =         839-800            D       =         679-640




(The dates set forth below are target dates and subject to change. This course is taught in a dynamic manner which means we will flow with learning opportunities presented to us.)




Week One

January 24


Introduction to Management

Each week read the assigned chapter and listen carefully to instructions.
January 26

Evolution of Management Thinking

Week Two

January 31


Finish discussion of early management thinking. To be on track for early extra credit a case should be selected this week. If you are having a problem, contact Instructor.
February 2
3 Competition and Strategy Case value = 400

Week Three

February 7

3 Competition and Strategy Case value = 400
February 9
13 International Business Case value = 400

Week Four

February 14

13 & 12

International Business and strat Ethics and Social Responsibility

Case value = 400
February 16
12 Ethics and Social Responsibility Case value = 400

Week Five

February 21

12 Finish discussion on Social Responsibility and Review for Exam Case value = 400
February 23

1, 2, 3, 12 & 13


Week Six

February 28

4 Planning and Decision Making

Discuss Exam Results

Case value = 400

March 2
4 Planning and Decision Making Systems Case value = 400

Week Seven

March 7

5 Organizational Design Case value = 400
March 9

Organizational Design

Case value = 400

Week Eight

March 14


March 16


Week Nine

March 21

6 Teams Case value = 350
March 23
6 Teams Case value = 350

Week Ten

March 28

7 HRM Systems Case value = 350
March 30
7 HRM Systems Case value = 350

Week Eleven

April 4

7 Finish HRM Systems
Review for Exam
Case value = 300
April 6
4, 5, 6, &7

Week Twelve

April 11

8 Motivation

Discuss Exam

Case Value = 300

April 13
8 Motivation Case Value = 300

Week Thirteen

April 18

8 Motivation Case Value = 300
April 20
9 Power and Political Behavior Case Value = 275

Week Fourteen

April 25

9 Power and Political Behavior Case Value = 275

April 27

10 Leadership Case Value = 250

Week Fifteen

May 2

10 Leadership

Last day to turn in Case Study for full credit

Case Value = 250

May 4

11 Innovation and Change Case Value = 225

Week Sixteen

May 9

11 Innovation and Change Case Value = 200

May 11

  Review for Final Exam Case Value = 175

Finals Week
Date of final to be determined. Exact date and place will be announced in class.

8, 9, 10, & 11

Case Value = 175


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