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International Business Administration

Organizing in Times of Crisis: The Case of Covid19

Exam number: 6841

Semester: from 1st Semester

Duration of the module: One Semester

Form of the module (i.e. obligatory, elective etc.): Elective

Frequency of module offer: irregularly

Prerequisites: Spots are limited. If you would like to participate in our landscape seminar you have to register after the introductory session.

Applicability of module for other study programmes:
Obligatory or elective in other study programmes. For further information check regulations of the study programme.

Person responsible for module: Prof. Dr. Jochen Koch

Name of the professor: Prof. Dr. Jochen Koch, et al

Language of teaching: English

ECTS-Credits (based on the workload): 6

Workload and its composition (self-study, contact time):
Work load: 24 h (in class), 156 h (individual study)

Contact hours (per week in semester): 2

Methods and duration of examination:

Emphasis of the grade for the final grade: For further information, check the regulations of your study program.

Aim of the module (expected learning outcomes and competencies to be acquired):
This course aims to familiarize students with the implications of the Covid19 crisis on organizational, managerial, and societal processes. The seminar will be grounded in contemporary theories of organization and management science, and enables students to critically engage with theoretical concepts along practical contemporary phenomena. Specifically, students of this course should learn to:
- Analyze the current Covid19 crisis through the lens of organization theory
- Understand the role of different organizational forms such as bureaucracies, high-reliability organizations or inter-organizational networks in coordinating responses to crisis
- Understand alternative and open forms of organizing and their advantages and difficulties
- Understand the role of leadership in crisis situations and reflect on different types of sensemaking with regard to open communication and transparency on the one side and uncertainty and an unknown future on the other side
- Understand the challenges of organizations to communicate in times of crisis, and the role of social media for and in crisis communication.
- Reflect on how organizations can be designed to respond to unexpected events and be responsive and resilient
- Understand how crisis can be a trigger for entrepreneurship, innovation and change
- Understand the ways in which grand challenges relate to inequalities, including gender inequality
- Critically engage with both theoretical concepts and practical contemporary phenomena.
- Reflect on what organization theory and practising managers can contribute to addressing grand societal challenges.

Contents of the module:
The worldwide spread of the Covid19 virus poses a grand social challenge. Seriously threatening the health of the world’s population and accompanied by huge social and economic disruption, it is one of the largest immediate crises for Western societies since World War II and a humanitarian disaster for humankind around the world. Drawing on classic and contemporary organization theory, this course aims to illuminate many pressing questions surrounding the pandemic, such as how supply chains can be organized to ensure adequate supplies of health material, the strengths and difficulties of open science approaches to the development of a vaccine or capabilities of different forms of organization and coordination to quickly and adequately respond in times of crisis.
The course comprises 12 classes, each dealing with a particular aspect of the Covid19 crisis in relation to different theories of organization and organizing. It is a collaborative effort of organizational scholars from different Austrian and German universities that have expertise in researching grand challenges, different forms of organizing and crisis management. Given the current need for distance learning, the whole course can be completed online and asynchronously. Each class comprises a short recorded lecture and a set of core and background readings in addition to links to contemporary newspaper articles.
The course is made available open access, which means that all learning materials are openly available for everyone. Lecture slides and the syllabus are shared in editable formats so that instructors from around the world can use the materials and adjust the course as needed. All course materials can be found here. You can sign up to our Youtube channel here.

Teaching and learning methods:
Please note that this is not a Mooc in which you can register online, participate, and then get credits from us. Rather, it is an open course concept with accompanying course materials that can be used – either in full, or in part – by university instructors interested in teaching organization theory more generally, and organizing in times of crisis/crisis management specifically. While you can of course just listen to the lectures and access the readings by yourself, you can only obtain grading and credits if you are registered at a university where this course is taught.

Literature (compulsory reading, recommended literature):

Further information:
If you would like to participate in our landscape seminar you have to register after the introductory session.
Further information: