Denmark, Aarhus

Organizational Behavior, Collective Mind and Leadership

when 25 July 2016 - 5 August 2016
duration 2 weeks
credits 5 ECTS
fee EUR 340

One possible understanding of organizational behavior is that it captures the ability of an organization to make decisions as a unified body that does not coincide with any of its members, not even the CEO. Of course, disagreements, feuds and compromises occur all the time, yet the overall outcome is never precisely a composition of individual wills and strategies. Rather, decisions are made by a complex organism whose components are human beings linked to one another by behavioral routines, i.e., little myopic actions that individuals undertake towards one another which to some extent repeat themselves over time. Sequences of such actions may span lines of individuals that close themselves in a loop, making routines repeat themselves indefinitely as it may happen, e.g., within long-standing relations between customers and suppliers.

In the seemingly different field of cognitive sciences one observes relatively simple cells, the neurons, giving rise to such a complex object as the human brain by virtue of billions of connections that enable information to circulate along loops. Neuroscientists have discovered that brains do not store information at any particular place, as computers or libraries do, but rather make it circulate along closed loops. Thus, stored information can only be accessed by other information items which happen to circulate in neighboring loops. This is what we do whenever we associate ideas, employ mnemonic rules or suddenly discover novel possibilities by intuition. The conclusion to be drawn is that human brains work by drawing analogies and associating insights, not by means of algorithms.

This course explores organizational behavior in light of the insights provided by cognitive sciences. Organizational decision-making is viewed as drawing analogies between organizational routines and the external environment. Leadership is understood as the ability to draw analogies that allow individuals and organizations to construct coherent narratives that explain the past and provide a direction for the future. This understanding of organizational decision-making is particularly relevant for innovative firms that have to create new markets for new products.

Psychodynamics frameworks and agent-based computer models are employed in order to provide students with tools to analyze practical contexts. Applications to routines in jazz music groups and narratives construction in firms creating new markets are suggested.

Course leader

Guido Fioretti

Target group

Business Students

Course aim

Master's level

Fee info

EUR 340: Danish and EU/EØS (tomplads): 340 EUR
EUR 852: NON-EU-EØS students (free-mover): 852 EUR