Organisational contexts

There are many aspects and features of an organisation that make up the context of the organisation, and the individuals experience of work within it. Some of these features include the size of the organisation, the organisational culture, the processes in place, the control mechanisms, the structure of the organisation, its hierarchy, and authority.

There are some familiar concepts from B628 there, including organisational culture. I can also personally relate to all of these, having worked in many organisations as an interim manager, experiencing the effects of different control systems and processes – and organisational culture – on a day-to-day basis.

After spending some time diagramming the organisational context of the company I currently work for, it’s time to reflect and identify some key characteristics about it:

The organisation is divided up into four distinct contexts – management, the core business departments, departments offering supporting services to the core business, and the banking services offered to customers.

Within each context there are several functions, each with their own sub-cultures distinct from that of the overall organisation: for example within support services there are the IT, marketing, customer service, and finance departments. Although they coexist with each other within the organisation, each has its own subculture driven by its business objectives, processes, control systems, management structure, and head of department.

(Source: The Open University, 2012).

B325 Learning log

Reading through the Getting Started guide for B625 (Managing across organisational and cultural boundaries), I’ve discovered an interesting requirement for the course: the need to maintain a ‘learning log’.

According to the guide, it doesn’t matter what format the log takes, as long as it is accessible throughout the duration of the course.

This sounds like an excellent opportunity to stick with my online learning diary!

Next courses

Well, I must be a glutton for punishment, because I’ve already registered for my next two courses – which I’m planning to study simultaneously from May to October.

The two courses are: ‘B121 Managing in the workplace’ and ‘B325 Managing across organisational and cultural boundaries’.

B325 seems particularly relevant to me because I regularly encounter management problems that involve virtual teams spanning organisation boundaries, cultural boundaries, and sometimes both at the same time!

To quote the OU website:

This course is about collaboration – working, managing and organising across organisational and cultural boundaries. Whether within or across organisations, via partnerships, joint ventures and alliances, collaboration can be both stimulating and rewarding. It entails the combination of resources and expertise  which enables partners to achieve something jointly that they cannot achieve working alone. However, collaboration is also fraught with difficulties and dilemmas. In this course you’ll explore the many issues and challenges associated with working collaboratively across different contexts. You will also learn about concepts and theories that can help you to better manage collaborative situations in the future.

(B325 course description on the OU website)

B121 sounds like an interesting course because of the way it recaps many of the subjects I’ve already covered in the Professional Certificate in Management (B628, B629 and B690) – while also allowing me to draw on my own workplace experiences and compare them to the theories encountered in my studies.

Again, quoting the OU website:

This introductory Level 1 course introduces management ideas and uses activities to build on your existing knowledge and skills. You’ll also use your own workplace experiences to develop an academic understanding of management and valuable study skills, which you’ll demonstrate by writing about management and reflecting on your own skills as a learner. … Using a textbook, you’ll carry out various activities asking you to compare the theories that you are reading about with what you see around you in your workplace.

(B121 course description on the OU website)

I know I haven’t yet finished B629/B690, but roll on May!