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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Business School : Common Courses (Management School)

Postgraduate Course: Programme Design, Governance and Managing for Complexity (CMSE11507)

Course Outline
SchoolBusiness School CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits10 ECTS Credits5
SummaryThe course aims to equip participants with the adequate tools and principles to design effective governance systems and procedures (both formal and informal) in the context of major programmes, which are characterised by a high degree of complexity and uncertainty. Participants will develop a critical attitude towards common and conventional forms of governance based on the ideals such as alignment, agreement and shared objectives, overcome an unjustified faith in the power of incentives to orient people's behaviour and acquire skills on how to engage project and programme team members, make them explore, debate and deliberate on complex matters which are difficult to be quantified. They will also gain a critical understanding of risk management and develop alternative forms of delivering programmes in risky environments.
Course description Academic Description
The course will provide a critical understanding of current governance systems and practices to (including board composition) to equip managers with practical tools to govern ambiguity, complexity and the management of unknown-unknowns in decision-making processes. It draws on theories developed in organisation theory, science and technology studies, and rhetoric blending them in ways that equip students to manage governance challenges in formal and informal settings.

At the end of the course, participants are expected to:

-Understand the limitations of rational-choice approaches in designing governance systems and be able to implement alternative forms which prove effective in managing risk in major programmes;
-Critically assess the use in practice and limitations of corporate governance models and whether they are adequate or not to manage risk and uncertainty in major programmes;
-To design formal and informal incentive systems that drive behaviours that are coherent with the degree of uncertainty of major programmes;
-Explore the informal aspects of governance systems and practices, including the design of space facilities and meeting rooms;
-Be aware of the organisational, political and social role that performance measurement and risk management systems play when governing major programmes.

Outline Content
The first sessions are dedicated to introduce the overall themes of the course, its structure, the role of the participants in class and, above all, the approach followed in treating issues of governance under situations of risk and uncertainty, especially in relation to large organisations and megaprojects. It will help participants to deconstruct their common understanding of project and programme management in order to elaborate alternative forms of governance systems and practices.

These sessions are then followed by the discussion and operationalisation of principles which will help design governance systems that will serve as instrument of mediation of tensions, exploration of uncertainties, and engagement. Specifically, we will look at how governance systems and practices can act as effective communication and integration tools, leading to a more effective management of risk and uncertainty.

The remaining sessions of the course will explore how to build effective governance systems (including board composition and working) in situations of ambiguity and uncertainty and help participants to develop a critical attitude towards corporate governance approaches that underestimate the role of organisational politics and contextual variables in decision-making in organisations.

Student Learning Experience
The course combines traditional lecturing, with case study discussion and workshops with group work and peer learning.
The course requires students to prepare the cases to be discussed before class. It is envisaged that each case requires two hours of preparation.
The course is run more along the lines of an executive education course than a conventional MSc class. This is in line with recent innovations in the delivery of business education at the post-graduate level which sees the increasing importance of group activities within settings that are more similar to a workshop than a traditional front lecture. The combination of lecturing with supervised workshop and outside class work also enables an effective combination of abstract academic knowledge with the enhancement of practical skills. More generally, a good combination of lecturing and active student participation avoids loss of attention and helps focusing.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Critically assess the use in practice and limitations of corporate governance models and whether they are adequate or not to manage risk and uncertainty in major programmes.
  2. Design management and project boards.
  3. Organise team work and information flows among different project units.
  4. Manage stakeholders and communication.
  5. Engage team members, clients and various other stakeholders in the design of programme structures and processes and in the delivery phase.
Reading List
Indicative Reading List:

- Williams, T., Samset, K., 2010, "Issues in Front-End Decision Making on Projects," Project Management Journal, vol. 41, no. 2, April, pp. 38-49.
- Tryggestad, K., Justesen, L., Mouritsen, J. (2013) Project temporalities: how frogs can become stakeholders, International Journal of Managing Projects in Business, Vol. 6 Iss: 1 pp. 69 ¿ 87
- Clegg, S. R., Pitsis, T. S., Rura-Polley, T., & Marosszeky, M. (2002). Governmentality matters: Designing an alliance culture of inter- organizational collaboration for managing projects. Organization Studies, 23(3), 317¿337
- Van Marrewijk, A., Ybema, S., Smits, K., Clegg, S., & Pitsis, T. (2016). Clash of the Titans: Temporal Organizing and Collaborative Dynamics in the Panama Canal Megaproject. Organization Studies, 37(12), 1745¿1769.
- Quattrone, P. (2015). Governing social orders, unfolding rationality, and Jesuit accounting practices: A procedural approach to institutional logics. Administrative Science Quarterly, 60: 411-45
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Solve complex problems and make decisions
Use of information and knowledge effectively
Knowledge integration and application
Analytical, critical and creative thinking
Soft skills and mediation skills
Written, oral and visual communication
Recognise and use individuals' contributions in group processes and to negotiate and persuade or influence others;
Team selection, delegation, development and management and effective Team working
KeywordsNot entered
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