organization people technology

business and organizational studies

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welcome lecturers foundation module on this page links
Veryard Projects and Antelope Projects provide independent courses on a range of business, organizational and technological subjects.

Our courses on Business Studies and Organizational Behaviour are included in the Business Computing degree at City University in London.

Aidan Ward

Richard Veryard
richard veryard

IN1001 Business and Organizations

Foundations of Business

Why study business and organization?

How to study business and organization?

Required skills

Subscribe to the Business and Organizations blog.

Student enquiries about the content of the course should be directed to the following email address:

Administrative enquiries should be directed to the Department, or to your personal tutor.

organization people technology

Foundations of business and organizations

veryard projects > organization and management > student page > foundations


Let’s start by observing that “The Foundations of” doesn’t mean “An Introduction to”. It means going back to first principles, aiming to understand something more deeply. Many university courses require the student to discover the foundations of a subject familiar from school, or from real-life.

Whether you have taken previous courses in Business Studies, or read books by management gurus; worked in a family business or simply followed business stories in the media, you will already have some knowledge and awareness of business. Studying the foundations of business at university level should take your knowledge and awareness forwards in two ways:

Business can be regarded as a social system that creates value. This indicates four founding disciples for business studies. At a higher level, the study of organizations also draws upon Psychology and Anthropology

Finally, note that business is essential a practical activity, and cannot be reduced to abstract theory. Even when studying the foundations of business, we need to remain connected to the practical implications. The course therefore includes practical examples and case studies.

organization people technology

Why study business and organizations?

veryard projects > organization and management > student page > why study?


Why should IT students learn about business and organizations? How is it relevant for a career in IT?
Practical Side Theoretical Side
For planning, designing and implementing IT solutions for people in organizations ...
... you need to know how people work in organizations
For planning, designing and implementing IT solutions as management support tool ...
... you need to know how management works in organizations.
For running IT projects with people in organizations ...
... you need to know how people work effectively in teams.
Appreciating the business value and human cost of IT systems.

Understanding IT systems as an expression of a particular theory of management.

    IT systems inherit management agenda

    Value of IT systems is only meaningful within a given management agenda.

    IT systems may inherit any political, social or ethical critique of the management agenda.

Your Experience with Organizations

It will help you understand the course material if you can connect it with your own experience. Older students may have many years of work experience - but even school-leavers may have some relevant experience.
Types of Organization Typical Role
Schools & Colleges
Religious Organizations & Charities
Clubs & Unions
Political Parties & Governments
Work: Offices, Shops & Factories
Consumer: Banks, Shops, Internet
Participant / Observer
Volunteer / Conscript
Insider / Outsider
Manager / Managed
Team Member / Individual

Your Future with Organizations

Your motivation for studying business and organizations may be connected to your future aspirations. During your career, you may wish to take a variety of roles in organizations.
Types of Organization Possible Role
Business: Commercial & Industrial
Public Administration, Police, Armed Forces
Not-For-Profit, Campaigning, Missionary
Arts & Sports
Task Force, Team, Project, Programme
Joint Venture, Partnership 
no ranking implied
Founder / Director / Entrepreneur
Manager / Employee
Elected / Appointed Official
Team Leader
System Engineer
Researcher / Reporter
organization people technology

How to study business and organizations

veryard projects > organization and management > student page > how study

Course Injunction

You may have studied any of these topics previously (e.g. at A-level). You may recognize some of the buzz-words.
Now you are at university, your understanding and use of these concepts should be

Course Requirements

Further Sources of Information (UK)

In addition to the required reading, you should spend some time following business stories and analysis in the media.  This includes newspapers (especially the Financial Times and other broadsheets), magazines (Economist), television and radio programmes (Channel Four News, Newsnight and the Radio 4 Today Programme, as well as occasional documentaries) and the Internet. Some newspapers and magazines offer cheap subscriptions for students. Most newspapers and magazines maintain a website where you can read business articles online.

There are thousands of business books published every year – many of them offering simple formulas for business success. There are also many articles published on the Internet. While these books and articles often contain interesting and entertaining examples, they are usually uncritical and lack depth.

When studying a particular company, you may find useful information on the company’s own website. You may also find relevant information by conducting an Internet search for the company name. (However, this technique doesn’t work for computer companies such as Microsoft – any information about Microsoft as a company will be swamped by vast amounts of technical information about Microsoft products, which is probably not relevant to this course.)

Some sources – including Private Eye as well as some web sources – contain detailed allegations against business organizations and other institutions, often suggesting serious malpractice or incompetence. While these sources can provide a useful contrast to the bland and often misleading material provided by the companies themselves, it is usually safer to regard them as unfounded allegations rather than proven fact.

If you have family or friends in business or management positions, they may be willing to discuss some practical issues with you. You should always regard such discussion as private and confidential – if you use privately-sourced information about an organization in class or with your fellow students, you should not name the organization. Of course, information that is already in the public domain may be freely repeated.

Where such material is used in an assignment, you should state where you got it from. Where such material is used in an exam, this requirement is waived.

Course Etiquette

Relevant to this course Not relevant to this course
The structure and performance of a given organization
The style and effectiveness of its leadership
Changes to organizations over time 
General criticism of the mission or morality of a given organization
Insulting the intelligence or character of any public figure
Cultural criticism

While we welcome critical reflection on the management of well-known organizations, we must all be sensitive to the fact that some students have personal attachments to particular organizations – sometimes including family members employed by that organization. It goes without saying that discussion should always respect the opinions and sensitivities of other students.

Students who wish to develop political or moral arguments in relation to their studies are encouraged to do this, and to engage in vigorous intellectual debate with fellow students, since properly conducted debate of this kind will give further opportunity to develop the requisite intellectual skills.  However, this should take place outside the formal boundaries of the course..

organization people technology

Required Skills

veryard projects > organization and management > student page > required skills 

Your success on this course depends on acquiring both knowledge and skills.  The knowledge is contained in the course material and reading, supplemented by other course activities. The skills outlined in this section are not only necessary for top performance on this course, but may also enhance your future job prospects, since they are often relevant to success at job interview and subsequent promotion. While you will have opportunities to develop and practise these skills within the course, you are encouraged to find additional opportunities for yourself – including participation in other university activities outside the formal curriculum.

Broad Awareness / Business Intelligence

As this is a business-oriented course within a business-oriented degree, you are expected to take a keen interest in business, and be willing to engage with the details of business organizations.

Interest in business doesn’t necessarily mean you always have to be pro-business. You may take either side of the debate, but you need to have the data and arguments to support your position.

Connect Theory with Practice

“There is nothing so practical as a good theory.” Use theory to explain and interpret practical issues, to make predictions, and to justify practical recommendations. Use practical examples to illustrate and test theory.

To the extent that you have direct experience of organizations, you should be able to use the theory to reflect on your own experience. In any case, you should be able to use theory to reflect on case studies and other material.

If possible, you should also try to do the converse – to use the practical material to identify the limitations of a particular theory. Regard a theory as a tool, which may be useful in many situations but may not be applicable to all situations. “To the man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

Critical Distance

You should always try to take a critical distance from your sources. Recognize that people within organizations have a unique insight into these organizations, but also that they may have strong attachment to certain positions and perspectives, so they often don’t or can’t reveal the “whole truth” about what’s going on. Official statements and press releases, or one-sided statements about internal political disputes should never be taken at face value. Try to read between the lines, to make an intelligent guess at what’s “really” going on. If you’re doing an in-depth study, don’t rely on a single source of data.

Presentation Skills

During the course, you will be required to present your analysis and conclusions in clear written and spoken form. You should pay attention to the structure of your presentations and essays, and to the logical flow. Your reasoning should be visible and coherent.

Independent Judgement

You should be able to arrive at your own judgements about business in general, and about particular organizations and management styles. The course does not require you to take any particular stance towards business. However, it does require you to be able to take a clear position, and support it coherently and robustly.

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This page last updated on June 28th, 2004
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