MSc Business Analysis and Strategic Management

Year of entry: 2022

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Course unit details:
Org Design & Value Creation

Unit code BMAN73932
Credit rating 15
Unit level FHEQ level 7 – master's degree or fourth year of an integrated master's degree
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No


This course will provide an overview of organization design theory. Our aim is to illuminate how traditional and emergent forms of organizing work co-exist, and how value is defined, created and captured across different forms of organizing. The first part of the course will focus on traditional forms of organizing including hierarchies, markets, managed supply chains, and self-governing collective action structures (aka commons organizations). We will also discuss how traditional forms of organizing differ in their approach to value creation and appropriation according to whether they are public, private, or result from a public-private partnership. The second part of the course will discuss how technological advances are enabling new inter-organizational forms of organizing with extreme levels of decomposability. We will thus discuss the  limited coordination costs and reduced needs for inter-organizational cooperation that are central to new forms of organizing such as business ecosystems/platforms, self-organizing communities of production, and flash organizations. Further, we will discuss the impact of non-market strategies on organizational design, and thus the emergence of polycentric governance structures as those observed in megaprojects, standard-setting organizations, and self-regulation consortia. In addition, we will discuss how progress in robotics and AI, the last phase of the so-called second machine age, is allowing for new organizational designs to emerge and how these new forms of organizing are seeking to create and distribute value. We will also discuss how organizational design choice is context sensitive, and thus how choice needs to adapt to variation in the robustness of the institutions in the surrounding environment.



BMAN73932 Programme Req: BMAN73932 is only available as an elective to students on MSc Business Analysis & Strategic Management and MSc Management and Implementation of Development Projects


The course will introduce key concepts and central ideas in organization design by looking at the processes of value creation and capture across alternative  governance/organizational structures:  hierarchy; markets, relational and formal contracts/ simulated authorities;  commons organizations; hybrid forms of organizing, and emergent forms of organizing enabled by technological progress (eg business ecosystems/platforms; communities of production/merit-based authorities). We will elucidate how each structure deals with fundamental problems of division of labour and integration of effort, and pursues value creation and capture. We will also seek to understand how organizations are embracing more inclusive processes of value creation, where the definition of value goes beyond economic value in terms of user-willingness-to-pay in order to include as well as broad social gains, even if these social gains may be difficult to measure, quantify, and monetize. The central aim of the course is to equip students with essential knowledge to design organizations in the XXI century and to sharpen their intuition to make informed judgments between alternative organizational designs and corresponding processes of value creation and appropriation.


Learning outcomes

The course will focus on organizational design choices as essential for the creation and appropriation of value in the private, public, and third sectors. The primary outcome will be a familiarity with organization design choice and its practical application as an instrument to create and appropriate value in the modern age. Accordingly, students will learn , first, how alternative organizational designs resolve the fundamental problems of integration of effort (coordination, cooperation) and division of labour; second, students will learn to differentiate between traditional forms of organizing (markets, hierarchies, relational & formal contracts), traditional meta-organizational systems (e.g., managed supply chains, megaprojects, professional associations); and emergent inter-organizational forms of organizing enabled by progress in digital technologies, AI, and robotics (e.g., virtual communities of production, business ecosystems, flash organizations). Third, students will learn how some organizational designs are evolving towards polycentric architectures in order to respond to increasing demand in the environment for organizations to act more collaborative; and fourth, students will learn how organization design needs to adapt to navigate fundamentally different institutional environments and the corresponding role of institutional intermediaries . On completing the course, students will have sharpened their intuition for organization design choice as an instrument to enable processes of value creation and appropriation in the modern age, and how value definitions vary from strict user-willingness-to-pay to inclusive conceptualizations to account for social value.



Assessment methods

Group Project (50%)
Individual Essay (50%)

Based on a selected case study, the group project (up to 5 students) can allow for a number of formats including a podcast (3 min max), written report (suggested maximum around 4,000 words), or an extended slide pack

The individual essay will assess each individual separately.  Each essay will be focused on a focal problem as presented in one of the case studies in order to enable the student to apply analytical skills to a real-world problem and formulate a recommendation as to how to move forward (suggested max around 2,000 words)


Feedback methods

Informal advice and discussion during a lecture, seminar, workshop or lab.
Responses to student emails and questions by the unit coordinator and face-to-face feedback in office hours.
Specific coursework related feedback sessions.
Written and/or verbal comments on assessed or non-assessed coursework.
Written and/or verbal comments after students have given a group or individual presentation.


Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Lectures 33
Independent study hours
Independent study 120

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Nuno Gil Unit coordinator

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